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Can you afford to be cynical?

I grew up cynical. I hung out with cynical friends. I went to a cynical college. And I live in a cynical culture. In America, our politics are cynical and worldly-wise. Our media brims to overflowing with cynicism. It’s an insidious poison that militates against the worship that God wants from us…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I grew up cynical. I hung out with cynical friends. I went to a cynical college. And I live in a cynical culture. In America, our politics are cynical and worldly-wise. Our media brims to overflowing with cynicism. It’s an insidious poison that militates against the worship that God wants from us.
 
Somewhere in my 30’s, God broke me of cynicism. Pain visited my life in such a searing way that I just couldn’t afford it any more – it was too costly. A cynic has the luxury of knowing enough of the answer to be able to discount the possibility being offered to him. And when I lost my job and other things that gave me a sense of security, I was a man floundering in the water. If, as the Bible says, hope is “an anchor to the soul,”* then mine was adrift.
 
The most committed cynic is an atheist. Jen McCreight, for example, is a young lady who has concluded that anybody following Jesus and believing in a God who loves us personally is severely deluded. She writes a blog that promotes the gospel of rationalism. Everything has a scientific explanation. And it’s cool to lambast the foolish, religious tools who trust in an unseen God.
 
I wonder what she would say about the angels that Justine Zins heard? Perhaps someone was playing a prank. Perhaps it was a radio next door that happened to sound like the song they were singing. Or it was the product of an overactive imagination. There may not be an obvious explanation, but at least there’s got to be a non-supernatural one.
 
It’s always perplexed me how someone whose highest principle is skepticism can be so committed to the proposition that something she can’t disprove is in fact false. It’s the intellectually dishonest bias of the religion of political correctness.
 
What’s the cost of being cynical? Well, for one thing, cynical people are a wet blanket on everyone’s day. Being friends with a cynic takes psychic energy.
 
But in my book the biggest price that cynics pay is that of missing out on the truth. Thomas was cynical (John 20:19-31) about the biggest event of his life: Jesus’ resurrection. Bummer of an issue to get wrong. What a way to be remembered for all of history: “doubting Thomas.”
 
But at least he stepped up to the plate to be proven wrong. How much worse is it to shut the door to the God of the universe without ever giving him a fair opportunity to prove his love to you? Or to never understand the possibility of the one thing your heart yearns for, to know your creator, if in fact he exists. Or to understand the power of faith, “without which it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6)
 
If you’re predisposition is to snicker at or belittle those with whom you disagree, if you struggle to believe in the stuff that you can’t prove with an equation, I invite you to consider the notion that the finest things in life, things like love, beauty, and laughter, don’t make sense. To get more of them, you need to abandon the cynical posture that, far from protecting truth, may have kept it at arm’s length.
 
*Hebrews 6:19

Comments (6)

  • Great food for thought and it is amazing how you speak this truth in love. Thank you for being a leader to us all over the World.

  • Yeah, I think I prefer the original definition of the Cynic not the modern version. Check out this Wikipedia entry: many of the early church took a lot of these attitudes on board.

    “Cynicism (Greek: κυνισμός), in its original form, refers to the beliefs of an ancient school of Greek philosophers known as the Cynics (Greek: Κυνικοί, Latin: Cynici). Their philosophy was that the purpose of life was to live a life of Virtue in agreement with Nature. This meant rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, health, and fame, and by living a simple life free from all possessions. As reasoning creatures, people could gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which was natural for humans. They believed that the world belonged equally to everyone, and that suffering was caused by false judgments of what was valuable and by the worthless customs and conventions which surrounded society. Many of these thoughts were later absorbed into Stoicism.”

    I think I like some of that……!! xxx

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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