hypocrisy coinUndoubtedly much horror, neglect and abuse has been wrongly carried out in the name of the Christian faith. Hypocrisy, putting on a pious show when you know things below the surface are so different, is ugly, tragic and so twisted from what God intends for us. And yet it’s something that we’re all tempted to indulge in, given it gives us the attractive option of making ourselves look better than we actually are. Only the gracious gospel of Jesus allows us to face up to what we’re really like and still find forgiveness rather than condemnation.

But that being what it is, I came across the following stirring words in an article by Douglas Jones. It’s an interesting take – what do you think?

Countless non-Christians have claimed to reject the Christian faith by gaping at the scandalous lives of many professing Christians. But isn’t the radical self-deception embraced by non-Christians also a form of hypocrisy?

When professing Christians display their hypocrisy, we bristle that they so widely broadcast their alleged commitment to Christ but act as if He were an empty fiction. Their open adulteries or gossip or lack of reverence show that they don’t really believe that God is their near and present judge. No criminal defendant in a human court would make nasty faces at his judge or dance a rude jig around the courtroom while the judge prepares a sentence. A Christian hypocrite is one who professes that the judge’s bench is filled but acts like it’s really vacant.

But [those who aren’t Christians] can be even more hypocritical. They claim to be very confident that there is no judge, courtroom, or any law, but they spend their whole lives revealing that they know that the judge is really sitting there watching. Even the most blasphemous opponents of the “alleged” judge still demand to have injustices retributed, still demand that we reason according to the set rules of the court, and still demand that they are innocent of any crimes. They verbally deny the existence of the judge but show that they really do know that the bench is filled. They don’t have the courage of their convictions, because, perhaps, they know those convictions are false.

For example, [those] committed to the mythology of evolution, an impersonal cosmos grinding out valueless, buzzing matter, still chirpily insist on human rights, the value of all living things, and universal rules of reason and toleration. Pure hypocrisy! Non-Christians committed to a New Age or Eastern oneness of all things still insist on looking both ways before they cross a street.

More hypocrisy. Their actions belie their professions.

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In Romans 1:18ff., the Apostle Paul famously describes [those who aren’t Christians] as those who know the truth of the Christian Creator and Judge but “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” God has made the knowledge of Himself so clear “that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). They know it, and they show it, among other ways, in their hypocrisy. They act like they live in a Christian universe, even though they deny it…

…When he was in Athens before the esteemed intellectuals of his day, Paul pointed out how desperately religious they were. Their idolatries revealed a deep, culpable knowledge of God, though they tried to deny it by exchanging the truth of God for a lie (Rom. 1:25). Paul criticized their philosophies at every step of the way, showing their inadequacies and folly. We can ask a similar question. If a non-Christian view of things is true, then there is no reason for respecting others, loving our children, opposing injustices, feeling guilty, preferring truth, reasoning, or staying alive…

Their own lives so clearly reveal that they know their views are false and that Christianity is true.

What do you think? You can read more here. Tom Wright’s also written an interesting article over at The Guardian, doing something slightly different, but still turning the hypocrisy charge on its head.