The ‘I’ in Tartuffery

I rarely comment upon topical issues, though many thoughts are inspired by them. It is good to recall that Philosophy is not (just) a collection of dusty subject areas left behind after those better served by the various sciences have hived off. It is a constant set of processes, applicable to almost anything.

This is inspired by a statement of what will be hypocrisy on some level. That of a theist, evading questions about whether homosexuality, fairly understood to be widely anathemic to the sensibilities of those channelling their morality from the Bronze Age, is wrong (well, ‘sinful’, though we’ll come to that). Perhaps this should be two posts, as two major thoughts arise. The minor one, perhaps, comes from one typically evasive, yet in its own way quite declarative, reply that ‘we are all sinners’.

Well, I’m not. ‘Sin’ is not just a synonym for ‘wrong’. It has a specific ethical/theistic overtone, of being wrong in a more than worldly, contingent, relative sense. One of the many joys of being free of all religious thought is leaving this poisonous rubbish behind. So it hardly achieves what, presumably, was the intent of the statement, that, well, yes, of course the homosexuals are doing wrong, but we all do wrong, so I’m safe with that belief. Thereby showing one of the pitfalls of having no acquaintance with philosophy, as the rigour behind any study of logic would show insulting everybody necessarily contains insulting the subset you are trying not to insult.

The bigger point, to my mind, is what this personal need to evade such commitments amounts to. It is, of course, very common now, fundamentalists aside, to pick and choose which beliefs and their consequences one wishes to display and act upon. But, as a theist, you don’t get to decide that. It is decided for you, woeful piecemeal preservation and transmission of those ever-so-slightly-tarnished-by-time Bronze Age values aside. Decided for you ostensibly by something that also created those values, and so not something up for discussion like an avowedly human-derived collection.

Does this man know better? Better than his god, that is. Does he lack conviction in what he believes – perhaps laudable in many politicians, if only for the colossal drag effect it might have on their actions. Or is this simply the standard rank tartuffery that dogs almost all religious activity, aside from the type of fundamentalist religious activity even all other religious types despise? To pick and choose. To make relativist, human decisions about how one acts and believes, while claiming allegiance to something supposedly objective, eternal, and fixed.

Give me no sinners. Give me no one in a position of influence with such inability to graft their own thoughts and commitments into something at least honest, if not impressive.