With the decline of belief in a personal God and an afterlife of bliss or punishment, many modern folk overlook the fact that, aside from their varied dogmas, the world’s religions are troves of insight into human psychology, housing hard earned wisdom bred of centuries of experience.
Take, for example, the striking conviction of the Jewish and Christian biblical writers that people perversely seem to want to be deceived. The third century Christian Tertullian said that “the truth appears to be instinctively hated.” The prophet Hosea lamented “there is no truth … in the land!” (4:1) Jeremiah offered a dare: “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem and see for yourselves; search her wide squares; can you find anyone who seeks the truth?” (5:1) Our leaders speak “lies,” said Jeremiah and the “people love to have it so.” (5:31) Isaiah moaned that people “prefer smooth words and seductive visions.” (30:10) As a result: “Truth stumbles in the market-place and honesty is kept out of court, so truth is lost to sight.” (30:10;59:14)
They dunned us repeatedly with the question: “Have you eyes and you cannot see, ears and you cannot hear?” Not surprisingly, they added another observation — you keep falling into pits that you yourselves have dug.
An ancient Latin adage put it this way: mundus vult decipi, people want to be deceived.
The Contemporaneity of It All
These biblical and classical authors who said all this wrote before sub-prime mortgages and derivatives were ever devised, and none of them had lived through an American political campaign. What they did discern was that people don’t mind deception and folks in power are more than happy to accommodate them.
One has to wonder how the biblical prophets would deal with things like our military budget and our American health care “system” — and our refusal to face the truth about either one of them.
Read HERE the entire article.
This is a superbly prophetic text.
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Daniel C. Maguire is Professor of Moral Theological Ethics at Marquette University and past-President of the Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health, and Ethics. Holder of a degree in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, one of the world’s major Catholic universities, Dr. Maguire is author of more than 150 articles in publications such as the New York Times, Atlantic, USA Today, The Crisis: Journal of the NAACP, the Christian Century, the Humanist, the Journal of Religious Ethics, the National Catholic Reporter, Ms. Magazine, etc. He is also the author of 11 books, including “Sacred Energies: When the World’s Religions Sit Down to Talk about the Future of Human Life and the Plight of This Planet”; “Sacred Rights: The Case for Contraception and Abortion in World Religions” and “Sacred Choices: The Right to Contraception and Abortion in Ten World Religions.” His articles include “Different but Equal: A Moral Assessment of the Woman’s Liberation,” “The Psychotherapist as Moralist,” “The Freedom to Die,” “Sex and Ethical Methodology,” “The New Look of Death” and “Affirmative Action at Bay.” (Source, HERE)