When history looks back at our time, I suspect they’ll see it as a Golden Age of Corruption, Greed, Racism and Hypocrisy. The four horsemen of our modern apocalypse (to be sure, there are a few more horsemen riding with them – Misogyny, Bigotry and Ignorance). As bad as the other three are, Hypocrisy, though less flashy than the others, is sorta-kinda the worst. It’s the Hypocrisy horseman that makes all the other horsemen possible. Hypocrites believe rules apply to everyone else; hypocrisy (the rules don’t apply to them) “justifies” their corruption, greed, racism, misogyny, bigotry and ignorance. In their defense, they do come by their hypocrisy “honestly”. It was imprinted upon them by their religious faith.
There’s a reason religions try to get you when you’re young, unformed, uninformed and impressionable.
As I’ve written here, monotheism puts the voice of God inside the heads of its believers. It teaches its followers that God doesn’t speak to everyone – only to those he loves because they follow him and do what he says to do. Makes em special, don’tcha know! As a monotheist with a personal relationship with God looks out at the world, they can’t help feeling superior. The creator of all things communicates with THEM. Talks TO them and THROUGH them.
When they speak for God, in other words, in their mind, they’re speaking for God. You gonna say they’re not speaking for God? Why’s that? Cause YOU speak for him?
Suddenly we have ten different monotheists with ten different versions of God telling them ten different things to do. Polytheism demanded everyone agree on what the gods were. The luxury of monotheism is that everyone gets to have their own version of God. Better still, with monotheism, everyone gets to BE their own version of God. That is the dirty secret most monotheists harbor. Down deep, they don’t believe IN God, they believe they ARE God.
That is the foundation for their religious hypocrisy.
Most of America’s founders were Protestant Christians of one stripe or another. Only three (Charles Carroll and Daniel Carroll of Maryland and Thomas Fitzsimmons of Pennsylvania) were Catholic because Protestant Christians despised Catholic Christians. Hypocrisy much, people? Geez, there are three distinct branches of Judaism (Conservative, Orthodox and Reform) but we’ve NEVER even thought of murdering each other over our differences – especially over a religion that taught its followers to love one another.
One of the first things the Apostle Paul did as he invented Christianity on the fly (Paul invented the faith; Jesus did not) was tell his new Christian followers that they didn’t have to follow any of the old Jewish rules that they didn’t like – like the dietary laws or having to get circumcised. Picking and choosing the rules you like versus the rules you don’t – that’s what hypocrites do (while insisting they’re being “faithful”). Then there’s the whole dogmatic rigmarole of following the rules you do accept.
Polytheistic faiths weren’t terribly dogmatic because the gods weren’t doing much if anything for humans. There were interactions but mostly the gods lived their lives and humans lived theirs. Monotheism’s radical idea wasn’t just “one god” versus many, it was a god (Yahweh is his actual name, “god” is his job description) with whom humans could have a two-way relationship. Even better? The Christian version of monotheism offered its followers a way to beat death entirely – just by believing in Jesus in the exact way the church told them to. If Jesus could do it, the logic went, so could they!
Jesus didn’t invent that concept by the way, Paul did. Paul invented every last bit of Christianity. He wrote it down even which is more than Jesus did. The reason Paul took his version of Jesus to the Gentiles (along with his version of all the Jewish messiah mythology) is because everyone in Jerusalem who actually knew Jesus or who’d heard him preach rejected Paul’s version; it wasn’t Jesus.
I’m not calling Paul a hypocrite here, but he wasn’t being entirely honest. He wasn’t interested in being honest or in selling honesty. He was selling a “Get Outta Dying” scheme – and it was brilliant!
The Christian church is not doing well these days. This contradiction at its core is a big part of why. It can’t help but produce hypocrisy. It preaches one thing while thinking and intending something else entirely.
It looks as if the cynical religionistas of America will get their moment of glory – they’ll toss Roe v Wade and with it all the privacy protections that went with it. But their love of the unborn was and is pure cynicism. Back in the 1970’s, evangelicals and Christian fundamentalists found themselves at a crossroads. They’d used their religious faith (and the Bible) to justify slavery, racism and segregation. When their fight against school bussing failed for good in the 1970’s, fundamentalist leaders reversed themselves – they’d always supported abortion! Needing a cause to rally their troops around, fundamentalists CHOSE abortions as a cause.
If pro-life people really believed in life, they would care about everything surrounding that life and not just the short patch of time that “life” spends inside its mother. Even the Catholic Church used to insist that life began at birth. The proof? They would not give the sacraments to stillborn babies as they’d never drawn a breath – and never actually been “alive”.
When everything about your belief system is steeped in bullshit, hypocrisy is your hymnal.