Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Hypocrites

I don’t remember when I first heard the word “hypocrite”, but it seems as though I have always known what it meant. When I was growing up, hypocrites were the boys who acted holy when they were inside of Church, but couldn’t get out of the parking lot without finding a smaller boy to punch. Hypocrites were girls who were sweet to their teachers and sarcastic to their classmates. Hypocrites were the parents who talked about the importance of honesty, but seemed to tell the same story differently depending on who was listening. Hypocrites were the priests who lived in a better house than most of the members of our parish. When I was growing up, hypocrites were everywhere, in our Church, in our neighborhood, everywhere…or were they?

Hypocrites don’t practice what they preach. Hypocrites apply justice and mercy inconsistently. Hypocrites blame others for their own problems but never take the blame for the problems they cause. Last week when Debra at as I see it now deleted one of my comments, I had just the label for her: HYPOCRITE. I instinctively considered starting a new blogrole category on my site named “Pharisee” or “Church Lady” for her blog. However, I know better than to go with my instincts this time because my instincts are the feelings of a young boy expecting perfect consistency in the behavior of others and perfect understanding of their motives by me. Neither of which has ever nor will ever exist.

Labeling others as hypocrites is the cheap shot of the simpleton. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, is so consistent as to be able to avoid the hypocrisy label. We all change our minds, we all make mistakes, and we all apply different criteria for different decisions in our life. Even if we had the wisdom to know the motivation of those who we think are hypocrites, their motivating factor for one decision may be different than their motivating factor for other decisions; just like the rest of us.

The game of politics in America nowadays is played using accusations of hypocrisy as a strategic ploy. Both sides are always pointing out the hypocrisy of their opponents. Do they do it because they are simpletons, or do they do it because we are simpletons who keep falling for such a ploy?

15 comments:

Jennifer said...

I never thought of it like that before, but you are right. - a fellow hypocrite trying to go cold turkey.

Anonymous said...

Your thoughts are wonderfully useful. The other day, one of my "working girls" was having difficulty reconciling her "knowing" 70 or 80 men per day with her strict church upbringing. I explained this with with your clever Pharisee analogy and she went back to earning happy with what God had chosen for her. Bless you, wise sage!!!

David M. Smith said...

Anonymous,

You made me laugh out loud. Do I know you? Please reveal yourself [Rick]; you are way too funny and clever to remain anonymous.

Notice how I didn’t claim that there are no hypocrites or that we shouldn’t feel like hypocrites when we are the ones applying inconsistent standards. However, I did claim that we rarely have the ability to really know if someone else is being a hypocrite, but it doesn’t stop most of us from throwing the label around.

It is quite possible that your “Working Girl” is rebelling against her strict church upbringing.

Anonymous said...

Check out my thoughts at:
http://adeadanubis.blogspot.com/
Maybe you can use some of the material.

David M. Smith said...

Sad. Now I’m left wondering if I should delete the URL left by anonymous. I’m guessing the blog does not belong to the anonymous commenter. I wouldn’t recommend anyone visit the blog.

I guess this is a case study: Should I delete the previous comment?

Snakedriver said...

Delete it. Can't have any views that are contrary to the religious babble you are pushing. Religion does not allow free thought.

Jennifer said...

Delete it. You always allow reasonable, respectful disagreement. But you don't need to allow that kind of trash.

David M. Smith said...

PDC3,

I tend to agree with you about most religions and religious people. Belonging to a group requires that the member give up some of their individuality. However, I think if you read some of my posts and the comments to the posts, you will find our group to be anything but monolithic in our thoughts. Our thoughts may not conform to the stereotype you have designated for us. I try to present a side door view to issues. Then, I usually get a few comments of agreement and a few challenges; which is how I like it. My guess is that just as many religious as non-religious readers think that what I write is babble.

The reason I would delete your earlier comment has nothing to do with disagreement. I love well reasoned disagreement. The reason I would delete it is because you posted the URL with the sole intent of getting a rise out of me; you weren’t honest about it being your site, and I didn’t read anything on the site that was reasonable. [Granted, I didn’t spend much time there.]

I can tell from your first comment that you are quite clever; which is a sign of intellect. If you would like to engage us in a reasonable conversation, please do. If your only intent is to be a pest, I will delete any of your comments that I feel are only intended to pester and not intended to enlighten or entertain.

I am hoping you will continue to visit and leave challenging and funny comments. Your first comment really was excellent!

Buz said...

David,

The problem with hypocrits is that they make those who are plain evil or rebellious feel justified.

When Bill Clinton was president, I remember a radio comentator saying,
"Do you know what you call someone who tells the truth 95% of the time ... a liar!"

Some where we have bought in to the idea that it is better to be openly evil than to be a hypocrite. I once heard a minister say that hypocricy is evil paying homage to virtue.

If you challenge a hypocrite, at least they can be confronted with their own words, and, hopefully, brought back to a point of contrition, not so a reprobate.

I have no clue as to who "anonymous" or "pimp daddy caesar 3" might be, and in truth, I don't care. I would have no qualms about deleting posts by someone who does not have the courage to sign their own name. I did not read a lot of respect in the notes from whoever that was.

I told you that our sons were allowed to disagree with us as long as they did it respectfully ... the same courtesy was not necessarily extended to neighbor's children. If the kid next door came over and disagreed with our rules, there was no discussion, they were sent home! Your blog, your rules, but I would not do a lot of hand wringing over zapping taunts from a childish coward.

Buz

Buz said...

Since you posted a link to the other blog, I went over and looked at it. I wouldn't lose sleep over being censored from that blog ...

Buz

Jennifer said...

David - I am humbled by your awesome response. I will try to follow your example in the future on my own blog.

Hammertime said...

Hmmm...you know something? The names in the comments look different in the "make a comment" window than they do in the single post window. I could only see PDC3 in the single post window, but here I can see it was "snakedriver". Curious, indeed.

The statement, "Labeling others as hypocrites is the cheap shot of the simpleton" is brilliant. It is often the cry of the morally corrupt again those who espouse morality, but fail (as humans will). It is not hypocritical to say we should strive to be our best and fail ourselves - it is to fail to strive while saying the same.

David M. Smith said...

Apparently, PDC3 has changed his blog name to snakedriver. It is the same guy or gal still trying to be clever.

Come on snakedriver, grow up and join us in some adult conversation. My guess is that you will be quite good at challenging us. Of course, we may challenge back.

Teresa said...

I'd like to get in on this one. I had a comment like that one time with a guy trying to get me to his site--his site scared me and I told him so, but I welcomed his conversation as long as he was respectful; I never heard from him again. And David, great post on hypocrisy; we all are one at sometime or another, especially as they say, us women have the perogetive to change our minds (shape-shift) at any time; makes us look alot like hypocrites!

Mike Allison said...

Nice blog David.

I think that for an individual hypocrisy is a serious sin for he knows what he should do yet fails to do it. However, seeing hypocrisy in others or in society doesn't mean much. It is the acts that matter more, not that they might know better. It is better that a society recognise what the correct action is even if it is not always followed by every member of society than to deny the necessity and reality of morals and values. So I don't think seeing hypocrisy in others or in society in general is a condemnation of them, rather it is the result of being flawed humans. In our own actions, it can be similar but as we strive to follow the perfect example of Jesus we need to eliminate our hypocritical acts. In knowing what to do, we should strive to do it.