Sunday, October 07, 2007

Cynicism - An Intellectual and Spiritual Dead-end.

There was a time that I liked to hang around cynics. Scorning the simplistic answers that so many evangelicals seemed to spout off to complicated problems, it seemed that expressing doubt or inserting a measure of "realism" into the discussion was the intelligent thing to do. Cynics seemed to reflect a more balanced, intellectual approach to Christianity than the pietistic, naïve approach that I had grown up with.

A recent meeting with a friend, however, made me realize that I no longer find cynics such enjoyable company any longer. In fact, I find them down right unsettling and depressing for the very reason that I once took pleasure in them; they have no answers for anything, just doubts and questions. In fact, it now seems to me that cynicism is the lazy man's attempt to appear intellectual. Providing no real answers, they simply cast doubt when serious thought is required. Expert at picking holes in the opinions or lives of others, they can't be bothered to provide any possible solutions of their own.

I know that there is a cynical streak in my own heart that gravitates towards such individuals. But the sterility of cynicism has made me realize that it is an intellectual and spiritual dead-end.


Arnau van Wyngaard said...

Recently someone advised me to subscribe to and read a certain blog, because the writer "really gives us something to think about." After reading through a number of his posts I cancelled my subscription, exactly for the reason you mentioned - I'm sick and tired of people being cynical about everything in the church.

I keep on being surprised that, the moment when someone becomes cynical and then starts speaking in riddles without having any personal opinion, (other than "I don't know") that others revere that person as the greatest intellectual born. Surely we can question things. Surely we can question the way in which things had been done in the church in the past and which clearly does not have the required results today, but I thoroughly agree that cynicism becomes a dead-end after a while.

Nick, Melbourne Australia said...

I once heard it said that the cynicism of man is opposite and counter to the Grace of God.

A light-bulb suddenly switched on for me.

I thank God for the gentle rebuke of that person (now otherwise forgotten) that led this died-in-the-wool cynic into repentance.

Melbourne Australia

Angela, Canada said...

Wow - I've had the same thoughts without even know it - I used to crave sitting by the cynics and proving myself somehow - thinking that their doubts were evidence of a well-thought out sense of identity. That if I just believed the simple truths that somehow I was to be even more guilty of boat-jumping. I'm beginning to take hold again of those simple truths- and it is a beautiful thing.