Getting Ready For A Young Adult Gathering

Why I Hate Cynicism
March 3rd, 2006
Cyn.ic: n. (sinic) a cynic as a person “disposed to rail or find fault” and as one who “shows a disposition to disbelieve in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions, and is wont to express this by sneers and sarcasm.” (The Oxford English Dictionary) See also.

Cynicism allows…
the incompetent to seem competent
the shallow to seem deep
the uncaring to seem compassionate
the listless to seem engaged
the ignorant to seem smart
the fool to seem wise
the unforgiving to seem compassionate
and the coward to seem brave

It is an intellectual lie, a fraud perpetrated on the good. The cynic suffocates all that its calloused presumptions touch. What’s worse, through its mockery, good is inhibited before it begins.

the seeds of righteousness are trampled under foot
the pure at heart are falsely accused in the genesis of their good deeds
the spark of creativity is snuffed out before it can flame
the song is silenced before the notes on the page are sung

“Cynicism is a buffer against commitment…and leads to despair” (JIm Wallis)

As people of faith, we must hold out hope. In order to hold it out to others we must possess it as our own. We must own it. Cynicism is an easy sell-out to the obvious difficulties that hope sees through. Cynicism is easy and sure. But faith, trust, forgiveness and hope can be hard and unpredictable. Cynicism offers to “guard” and “protect” us from the potential harm that might befall us, but what it really does is suck out hope from our souls. The very hope we need to be humane… the hope we need to live in community with one another…the hope we need to follow God… and the hope we need to become like Jesus. God calls us to be wise, but not with the wisdom that the “world” offers. The wisdom of the world, you can be sure, is fueled by cynicism.

“A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.” (Sidney J. Harris)

Cynicism is a child of unforgiveness. Certainly there are many things to be cynical toward: politics, medicine, religion, business, humanity, etc. However cynicism forbids the “new beginning” that faith in God gives to all of us. It traps us in our cycle of failure, keeping a record of wrongs, snuffing out the spark that we are called to fan into flame.

“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” (Oscar Wilde)

What do you think?