Unmasking our own self-deceptions

3. Subtle Exclusion Disguised by Self-Deceptive Rhetoric: ‘Climbers’

Third, worse than stigmatising by naming would be discriminating structures of judgement and exclusion cloaked or disguised by a politically correct rhetoric about inclusion or about ‘attempts’ to be inclusive.

This is where somebody is sinned against, but the rhetoric denies it. In other words, ‘politeness’ replaces relationship and love. The ugly thing about this is that, even though no sinful language is used, there is still favouritism, rejection, structures of exclusion, and hence implicit stigmatisation by naming going on at the level of practice. Thus, potentially, a leader could say to himself, ‘I have not actually said to so and so that they are such and such – I have been very careful in my speech’. But both John and James point out the hypocrisy of being polite in our speech but failing to love with our actions.

What is happening here is that the leader’s ‘politeness’ is functioning as a self-deceptive device that hides from himself his lack of love for, or stigmatisation of, somebody. The leader is effectively ‘climbing into’ his own rhetorical world of self-affirmation and believing the rhetoric to be true of himself in place of confessional honesty. But, as Gerhard Ebeling writes,

“According to Luther, the Word of God always comes as adversarius noster, our adversary. It does not simply confirm and strengthen us in what we think we are, and in what we wish to be taken for… This is the way, the only way, in which the Word draws us into concord and peace with God”.

Continue reading “Unmasking our own self-deceptions”

Bertrand Russell and the Image of God


I have been an admirer of humanist/agnostic philosopher Bertrand Russell for some years.  Well, I say admirer, more of a distant observer wishing he could get a bit more of the action, but nevertheless, Bertrand has always peaked my interest, and he lived a most interesting life.

This is a short post today, as I want to share something that he said has shaped or “governed” his life.  This is something that any person on the planet could say, it is a humanitarian sentiment to desire such things.  But I have something to add, here is what he said:

“Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life:  the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.”

One thing among many about Bertrand is his utter honesty.  He was a critic of religion in general and Christianity in particular, but to be fair to him, religion in general often needs a slap across the face, and Christianity in particular more often than not needs a kick up the backside!  He was a critic and as a Christian I have to say, we deserved it, and we have to learn to live with it.

Russell never set out to defiantly oppose Christianity as does the rather farcical Dawkins (and his ilk) of today.  No, no, no!  Russell was more honest, for he declared himself agnostic, not a-theist (definitions here could get pedantic, the difference between atheism and agnosticism is potentially a matter of preference and personal interpretation, but that’s another post for another day – but don’t hold your breath)!

Can you even imagine that the super-religious, I mean, super scientific Dawkins would ascribe any of his scientific nous  to something so unscientific as “love”, no doubt wanting to break it all down into its component parts of chemicals exploding here and there!  I love you Dawkins, but don’t panic, it’s only a chemical reaction!

What Bertrand has admitted to, his life’s governing principles is evidence of the image of God stamped in human beings!  “Let us make man in our image…” is precisely what agnostic Russell is aspiring to be governed by!  It’s glorious, so much more glorious than the crass anti-Christian garbage mumbled by Dawkins.

I must apologise!  I never intended to even mention my compatriot Richard Dawkins.  I only wanted to show how the stamp of God, His image in us is so engrained, so rooted, so……… oh what’s the word…….so darned obvious, that only a genetically engineered seedless grape would miss it.  We haven’t even mentioned knowledge and suffering yet, but I will end with this:

God loves Richard Dawkins; God loves Bertrand Russell;  Heavens above he even loves me so I know for a fact He loves you too.  And I think that is pretty cool.  I think I’ll let it govern my life!

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