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Tom Wright on hypocrisy

#1the_hedonistPosted 5/25/2013 9:02:44 AM
Some of the specific issues he mentions may be more understood to UK readers, but I think the principle still applies to US readers.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2013/mar/06/church-hypocritical-sex-guilty

The church has rightly been attacked for hypocrisy. But is nobody else guilty? If the church is hypocritical about sex, the media are hypocritical about hypocrisy.

There are two alternatives to hypocrisy. Either you set high moral standards and keep them absolutely. According to Christian teaching, only one person has ever done that. Or you set standards so low that they aren't really standards at all: you simply "do what comes naturally". Angels aren't hypocrites. Nor (I think) are animals. Granted we are none of us in the first category the only way to avoid hypocrisy is always to follow instinct: do whatever you feel like at the time.

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#2C_MatPosted 5/25/2013 9:31:08 AM
I would agree with that, anybody who holds moral standards is going to engage in some hypocrisy from time to time. That's why when someone says they don't want to be a Christian because they're hypocrites, I say, "Don't let that stop you, we've got room for one more."
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#3myzz7Posted 5/26/2013 7:57:39 AM
From: C_Mat | #002
I say, "Don't let that stop you, we've got room for one more."

i lol'd - but not in the sense you were speaking of
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#4Far421Posted 5/26/2013 10:13:45 AM(edited)
There are several problems with that little analysis. Firstly, I don't care what Christian teachings say - I see no evidence that no one else has lived up to high standards. Secondly, "high" and "low" standards are not the only options. You can set mediocre standards instead, and I believe quite a lot of people do so and live up to them. Further, the labeling of standards as "high" and "low" implies existing standards by which to apply those labels.

In short, Tom Wright's response is pretty flawed.
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#5AynRandySavagePosted 5/26/2013 6:59:22 PM
This is sophistry.
#6Julian_CaesarPosted 5/26/2013 9:43:16 PM
Great article. Thanks for sharing.

I think you may have inadvertently steered people down the wrong path by quoting what you did, though. His larger point was about the hypocrisy of the media in reporting "clerical hypocrisy", as if the media itself was qualified to judge hypocrisy while in the midst of immense journalistic integrity scandals.

From: Far421 | #004
Secondly, "high" and "low" standards are not the only options. You can set mediocre standards instead, and I believe quite a lot of people do so and live up to them.


Individuals may do that, you're right. The difference is that most people aren't pretending that their mediocre standards are sufficient to judge the standards of other groups/people; if they are then their standards are really "high" in their own mind and they deceive themselves. I think that's the point he was getting at, in reference to the UK media.
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#7AynRandySavagePosted 5/28/2013 1:46:42 PM
Julian_Caesar posted...
Great article. Thanks for sharing.

I think you may have inadvertently steered people down the wrong path by quoting what you did, though. His larger point was about the hypocrisy of the media in reporting "clerical hypocrisy", as if the media itself was qualified to judge hypocrisy while in the midst of immense journalistic integrity scandals.

From: Far421 | #004
Secondly, "high" and "low" standards are not the only options. You can set mediocre standards instead, and I believe quite a lot of people do so and live up to them.


Individuals may do that, you're right. The difference is that most people aren't pretending that their mediocre standards are sufficient to judge the standards of other groups/people; if they are then their standards are really "high" in their own mind and they deceive themselves. I think that's the point he was getting at, in reference to the UK media.


My "mediocre" on sexual morality is that consenting adults should be allowed to do whatever they want with each other and shouldn't be prevented from doing so. That seems like a perfectly fine standard to hold the rest of society to.
#8Julian_CaesarPosted 5/29/2013 8:57:06 PM
From: AynRandySavage | #007
My "mediocre" on sexual morality is that consenting adults should be allowed to do whatever they want with each other and shouldn't be prevented from doing so. That seems like a perfectly fine standard to hold the rest of society to.


In the context of this discussion, the analogy would be that the UK media (Mr. John) is accusing the church (Mr. Peter) of "marital infidelity" while at the same time sleeping with another friend's wife. That's the point that the author is trying to make, as far as I can tell...just replace "marital infidelity" with "hypocrisy concerning my organization's highest standards of morality" (i.e. journalistic integrity for media and sexual immorality for church). He's not saying that individuals shouldn't have moral codes, he's saying that it's hypocritical for the UK media to take the implicit moral high ground over the church (since their own journalistic integrity issues are, relatively speaking, just as "morally" egregious as the church sex scandals when comparing the two groups' own moral codes).

Maybe I'm trying too hard to defend this guy :D but even if the rest of his article isn't that great, I think his specific point about the media deserves attention.
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#9AynRandySavagePosted 5/29/2013 9:37:27 PM(edited)
Julian_Caesar posted...
he's saying that it's hypocritical for the UK media to take the implicit moral high ground over the church (since their own journalistic integrity issues are, relatively speaking, just as "morally" egregious as the church sex scandals when comparing the two groups' own moral codes)


The entire point of the church is to take the explicit moral high ground. And besides, not only is appealing to hypocrisy a fallacy, the media is actually doing its job as its supposed to be in criticizing the church here.
#10the_hedonist(Topic Creator)Posted 5/30/2013 4:31:53 AM
AynRandySavage posted...
Julian_Caesar posted...
he's saying that it's hypocritical for the UK media to take the implicit moral high ground over the church (since their own journalistic integrity issues are, relatively speaking, just as "morally" egregious as the church sex scandals when comparing the two groups' own moral codes)


The entire point of the church is to take the explicit moral high ground. And besides, not only is appealing to hypocrisy a fallacy, the media is actually doing its job as its supposed to be in criticizing the church here.


Criticizing the church...while being guilty of the exact same thing.

And no...the church isn't supposed to take the moral high ground. We recognize that we have high moral standards, but we also recognize that we are sinful, in need of grace every day.
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"Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart - His wounds have paid my ransom."