A World Worth Lying About

What the world needs today is a little more hypocrisy. Matthew Arnold pointed out that hypocrisy is “a tribute that vice pays to virtue.” Our age follows the counsel of Voltaire, who said you couldn’t accuse him of hypocrisy because he never presumed to say he was anything.

Remember when virtue meant something?

Maybe not. It’s been a while. There was a time when you couldn’t reach any serious level of leadership if you didn’t convince people you were a man of virtue. This produced hypocrisy.

There are two ways to get rid of hypocrisy: to keep people from being bad or to deny the existence of virtue.

We gave up on the former since it can’t be done. But virtue and hypocrisy go together as thesis and antithesis, as head and tail, as feasting and indigestion.

Not wanting a world of hypocrites we chose something even worse: a world without hypocrites – the world we live in today.

A world without virtue.

2 Responses

  1. That’s really good. Kierkegaard had a way of seeing the direction the irresponsible had to go and here he manifests it quite nicely.

    If only A had come to understand the nature of sin he would have realized that he and God hated the same things!

  2. Let others complain that the times are evil. I complain that they are wretched, for they are without passion. People’s thoughts are as thin and fragile as lace, and they themselves as pitiable as lace-making girls. The thoughts of their hearts are too wretched to be sinful. It is perhaps possible to regard it as sin for a worm to nourish such thoughts, but not for a human being, who is created in the image of God. Their desires are staid and dull, their passions drowsy. They perform their duties, these mercenary souls, but just like the Jews, they indulge in trimming the coins a little; they think that, even though our Lord keeps ever so orderly an account book, they can still manage to trick him a little. Fie on them! This is why my soul always turns back to the Old Testament and to Shakespeare. There one still feels that those who speak are human beings; there they hate, there they love, there they murder the enemy, curse his descendants through all generations–there they sin.

    KIERKEGAARD “EITHER/OR, A’s Diapsalmata”

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