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Deception

Deception dilemmas or, Just who’s fooling who?

So often, when hearing theologians, church leaders, media people – or, of course, politicians – I’m faced with what I’ve grown to call a Deception Dilemma.

The dilemma, or decision I have to make, comes down to deciding just where the deception lies, or just who is being fooled, or already has been.

To take a recent example – from the world of politics, as it happens: British politician (now Deputy Prime Minister) Nick Clegg recently said that homosexuality was “harmless and natural”.

Now (leaving aside the slippery term “natural”) it is quite clear (unless one is exposed only to ideologically-determined/politically-directed “science”) that this is the very opposite of the case, that the physical activities involved in homosexuality will in most cases cause severe physiological disorders, probable disease, and thus physical suffering and death.

So Clegg’s ideas, and their propagation, were not only false, but dangerously false.

When we hear such things we have to ask: Is it that the speaker has been so deceived (in this case, by the homosexuality-promoting lobby) that they truly believe this and are simply saying what, in their state of extreme deception, they really believe to be true, or are such people fully aware of the reality, but trying to deceive the hearer, for one reason or another (in this case, because it is politically useful to deceive ordinary people, since increased/prolonged power will be guaranteed to the deceiver)?

The same is true of church leaders in the so-called “Liberal” sectors of the church. Do they really believe, well, that theirs is a counsel of actual liberation, which might really free people – or do they know that theirs is just “liberation” in purely-this-worldly, or materialist, terms, and not in any real Christian (i.e. eternal) sense?

With some, the heavy “pre-deception” is obvious to all, such as with those who claim, shrilly, that “religion” is the source of all the evil in the world, and that – hard though it is to believe they believe it – if things were directed simply by humans, for human ends, then all would become utopia.

I never doubt that Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens do believe what they say; yes, really … But when (as is alleged) prominent leaders of the Episcopal Church (USA) claim that abortion is a “blessing”, I find it very hard to accept that anyone can really believe that … but maybe I’m not so sure; certainly, a lot of deception has, is, or will be, going on here; but how exactly is it operating?

Without doubt the Father of Lies has been working overtime, and his lieutenants never sleep … but I am still left with the dilemma.

September 2010