Cynicism and God Talk

Other than in God’s Word, I haven’t recently come across something that exposes me for who I am as much as this quote:

“Cynics imagine they are disinterested observers on a quest for authenticity. They assume they are humble because they offer nothing. In fact, they feel deeply superior because they think they see through everything.”  – Paul Miller, A Praying Life, 91 (NavPress, 2009)

One of the many places where this humble superiority comes through is when I hear most forms of God talk. When I hear the flowery language that attributes glory to God, a “praise God” after every sentence or two, I do an imaginary eye roll. When I ask people how they are and they respond “better than I deserve”, I say under my breath, “O, please.” When a suffering soul responds with “the Lord will provide”, I think that the person must be reading too much of Joel Osteen.


Because I’m superior. I see through it all. I know that they really don’t mean what they say. I know that they conditioned themselves to say such things. I know that these people are hopelessly inconsistent with the words they say and the lives they live.

Even more, I know that if I were to adopt some forms of God talk, it would just be met with deaf ears. I know that those who know my life and listen to my words will just write me off as a hypocrite. I know that even if some will be encouraged by my pointing to the Lord with my mouth they will, no doubt, misunderstand me and become Arminian, Amyraldian or Pelagian.

Worst of all, I know that if I stop being cynical then I’ll become a “cock-eyed optimist” (to quote Kramer from Seinfeld) just like the rest of America. With that, I’ll lose my “honorary Aussie” title.

One other area where cynicism reigns is in sin projection. Because I struggle with this sin it must mean that everyone does. But, I am willing to keep a bit of cynicism here and suggest, especially to those of my ilk, that many could use a dose of humility in this area. I am rather sure most to whom this hits will not allow the pendulum to swing too far the other direction.

One thought on “Cynicism and God Talk

  1. I am an attempting to recover cynic, who read that chapter last week. Thanks for sharing.

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