The Hypocrite Cometh
Suzy, a sweet but wacko Jesus-loving friend, hosted a huge Thanksgiving dinner and extend an invitation to a friend of mine and her mother, both of which are vegan and vegetarian, respectively. Suzy wasn’t sure how to accommodate their dietary restrictions, so she asked me and my sister via email.
My brother replied:
“A vegan is like a vegetarian, except that she, for example, won’t use something like honey, because it comes from animal labor. But don’t worry, Valerie has a sliding scale. She had a part of [mutual friend] Lonnie’s ice cream birthday cake, and the milk is from a cow.”
Looking to push Suzy’s Jesus button as I always do, I added:
“You accommodate vegans like Valerie the same way you accommodate Christians: sliding scale = hypocrite. Loopholes and exceptions abound for the personal pleasure you’re not supposed to have…while telling others they’re not supposed to have it either. For Christians it’s premarital sex. For vegans it’s a yummy frozen dairy confection.
For as mind-numbingly stupid as it is, for those who don’t know the rules for Christians regarding premarital sex, read this. Sex of any kind before you’re married is not permitted. Period.”
As expected, disingenuous rationalizations started rolling in. Suzy vomited forth the following textbook avoidance fodder:
“Bad bad [Godless Bastard]…nobody’s a saint!!! Only God is perfect…”
Then I let her have it:
“Spoken like a true Christian. But first, I never said was that anyone WAS a saint, that anyone SHOULD be a saint, or even that anyone COULD be a saint. In fact, I’m positive that NO ONE can. I just call ‘em the way I see ‘em. If you talk the talk but don’t walk the walk you get called out for it. This is how it works in my world. (Yes, my world.)
And the fact that you don’t stand on a street corner preaching the word or laying down the rules for others to follow is not particularly relevant. You are a (self-described) Christian. It’s is the very core of your existence. As such, the doctrine and rules of your religion are now yours to follow whether you tell others to do likewise or not. Just like any other contract, when you sign on the dotted line you AGREE to abide by the rules and regulations set forth within it.
Christians who have pre-marital sex are hypocrites. This is no different than vegans who break their own rules regarding the products of FORCED ANIMAL LABOR AND CRUELTY TO ANIMALS in favor of some delectable ice cream cake. Similar is the dichotomy by Jews (like Tara) who won’t eat pork but happily chow down on shrimp and lobster, and happily take two days off from work for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur yet never set foot in synagogue on Shabbat. (By the way, Jewish law gives Shabbat the status of being the most important holy day in the Jewish calendar .)”
Note: Tara is a mutual friend of ours. She’s Jewish by birth and occasionally observant on her own terms. But this isn’t about her. I intentionally threw Tara into the mix just to watch Suzy make up more of her own rules for friendly non-believers who don’t openly mock her religion, like me. Like every cherry-picking Christian on the planet, Suzy has to create intellectual loopholes for non-Christian friends and loved ones who would otherwise BURN IN HELL when they die.
“Your ‘nobody’s a saint’ tripe is nothing but a weak rationalization for the intentional personal gain of physical pleasure because you don’t like the rules. If you declare yourself a follower of any precept (religious, political, economic, or social) governing moral or ethical thought or behavior, then you (per your own declaration) agree to accept its rules and follow them. And if you don’t then you’re a hypocrite – even if its rules are archaic, inane, or pointless. End of discussion. I’m very sorry that you can’t understand (or won’t accept) the meaning of the word hypocrite, but that doesn’t change anything. All you’re doing now is doling out excuses to justify your (mis)behavior. And guess what? I’ll accept each and every one of them. But you’re still a hypocrite.
And for the record, I’m with you on the pre-marital sex thing. Waiting until your wedding night to discover that you’re sexually incompatible with your mate is quite possibly the dumbest thing a Christian hypocrite can do. And note that I never said that there’s anything wrong with being hypocritical about it. I’m just pointing it out.”
If Thine Definition Offends Thee
“Hypocrisy is when you don’t know the truth and have some false impression that you’re better than you really are…better than someone else. Just because you understand that there are rules and a correct way to do things, it doesn’t mean you always do the right thing. That’s why we have to be forgiven…repeatedly. It doesn’t excuse our stupidity. You will never have to worry about me telling you about how I do everything right…I don’t, but I can accept what I should be…as a goal.
By-the-way, you’ve proven my point…No one can follow the law perfectly that’s why there is Grace. And that’s why it’s a gift because we all suck…to put it plainly.
If Tara is a good Jew just 2 days a year…that’s better than none. God notices…”
Taking Out the Trash
After my nausea passed, I replied:
“Wait. Back up. ‘Hypocrisy is when you don’t know the truth and have some false impression that you’re better than you really are?’ What? See, this is what Christians do. When they don’t like what a word means (and what it implies about their faith or behavior) they change its meaning. You need a better dictionary. That is NOT what hypocrisy means, not even close. Here, I’ll help you out: Hypocrisy.
What I find most disturbing about your response (aside from your convenient redefinition of the word) is that you’re pleading ignorance (i.e. ‘when you don’t know the truth and have some false impression…’) as an excuse. If I were your god I’d shame you for that. Typical, typical, typical. ‘Honestly officer, I didn’t know I was speeding.’
First, there is NOTHING about the meaning of the word that even touches upon ignorance. In fact, the opposite is true. Hypocrisy, by its very definition, REQUIRES conscious knowledge of what you are doing or have done.
Secondly, doing the wrong thing is NOT the same thing as being a hypocrite. We all do wrong things, but that doesn’t make one a hypocrite – so stop using the ‘what I should be…as a goal’ excuse. Have all the ‘goals’ you desire. If you subscribe to an ideology with a set of rules that you consciously acknowledge but don’t follow then you’re a hypocrite. End of discussion. It doesn’t make you a bad person, but BY DEFINITION (get a dictionary, please) it makes you a hypocrite. What part of the word do you not understand?
I’m sure that I’m hypocritical on certain issues too (and feel free to label me as such where and when applicable), but I don’t subscribe to any ideology that makes those acts and thoughts damnable sins. However, YOU do.
And as for your last statement, you couldn’t be any more wrong. ‘God notices?’ You’re making your own rules now? Don’t speak for god. (Wait. What am I saying? That’s the bane of Christian existence.)
According to Christianity, man is judged based on his beliefs, not his actions. Tara is not saved and therefore she will burn on the eternal lake of fire. But yes, god does notice. He notices that whether she’s ‘a good Jew’ two days a year or 365, she’s still not saved. You’re just cherry-picking again so that you can feel better about the patently unfair consequences of sinning, per your religion: infinite punishment for finite sins. But Tara will burn as will I and [several other friend's names enumerated] as well as your own husband unless we are saved. Period. Not eating pork and attending synagogue two days a year isn’t going to change that for Tara or anyone else who hasn’t accepted Christ.
You said, ‘No one can follow the law perfectly that’s why there is Grace. And that’s why it’s a gift because we all suck…to put it plainly.’ No, you proved my point. This is exactly what I’ve been saying. You just don’t like the label hypocrite. Cackle on all you want about grace. Mazel tov and I wish you much of it, but your words don’t change anything. Again, if you subscribe to an ideology with a set of rules that you consciously acknowledge but don’t follow then you’re a hypocrite. Maybe you’ll be saved by grace, maybe you won’t. Whatever. But you’re still a hypocrite if you consciously, knowingly, break the rules of your doctrine.”
By the way, Suzy’s husband is Jewish, and he has no intention of converting to Christianity. When he asked her if she’d ever convert to Judaism she replied, “It will be a cold day in hell…”
For your added pleasure (and disgust), read Suzy’s very own inspired Godspeak entry.