5 years ago: Faith and works

October 30, 2008, here on slacktivist: Faith and works

They’re not lying, exactly. They like the idea that something like this might be true. They want the world to be like this. They want the world to be easily divided between heroes and villains, and they want to be able to count themselves on the heroic side of that divide. And if you really, really want something to be true — if you really, really, deep in your heart, wish you deserved to be able to think of yourself as the heroic rescuer of imperiled babies — then declaring it to be true isn’t really lying, is it?

But however much they want to believe this, they don’t. They can’t.

I realize I’m not painting a very flattering picture of these folks. I’ve described them here as, at best, self-righteousness junkies inebriated by self-congratulatory delusions. Or at worst as the cynical, partisan manipulators of this intoxicating fantasy — duplicitous seekers of power who exploit this moralistic pose for their own ends.

But this is neither a hasty nor an uninformed portrait. I’ve known, and loved, these folks for a long time. I’ve been one of them.

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