Invasion of Sophism in the United States

My response to the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her criminal activity during her time as Secretary of State is twofold:

  1. The effect of postmodern theory in the American culture.
  2. Study and understand the effect of stealthy deception and sophism in the American culture.

We will now see if postmodern theorists are dominant in the American culture.  For nearly 20 years I’ve argued that postmodern theory was gradually taking over nearly every discipline in our culture. Postmodern theory rejects absolute truth and reality. If you are not familiar with the influence of postmodern theory please find time to read Constitutional Authority in a Postmodern Culture.

The word gullible defined by Webster is “easily deceived or cheated.”  A dumbed-down American culture is the breeding ground for ignorance of important cultural principles. The effect of sin on the human mind creates havoc when truth is critical to the well-being of a society of people. I cannot explain this any better than I already explained in, The Dominant Culture: Living in the Promised Land. A brief quote from chapter 9, “Stealthy Deception.” (Context is Judges chapter 9.)

Abimelech was the kind of man that knew the art of stealthiness.   His cunning insinuations, his deceitful promise, and his flattering speech would hoodwink a whole city into believing that he was a savior.   Abimelech’s campaign speech to the people of Shechem reveals the art of a sophist.  Abimelech said, “Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal reign over you, or that one reign over you?  Remember I am your own flesh and bone” (Judges 9:2). Abimelech’s stealth was rooted in a worldview known as sophism.  The dictionary describes stealth as, “Not disclosing one’s true ideology, affiliations, or positions.”  For example, a liberal theologian may say, “I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”  It is a statement that sounds strictly orthodox. However, if the liberal theologian were pressed with the question, “Do you believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ?” the answer would be, “No!”  Another good example: A person may easily say I’m not a Muslim, but privately they subscribe to the  basic tenets of Islam. A person may say anything, but may not believe it or perform it. Like the Devil, devils charm their prey with stealthy sophism.

In early Greek philosophy, sophism was a worldview that employed specious arguments to deceive someone.  Sophism was the basis for deception; stealth was the practice of sophism.   Paul the apostle was trained to defend the truth against stealthy deception.   The pursuit of truth was considered a virtue in Paul’s day.  However, at the beginning of the 21st century, poll after poll indicates that if there is any truth, it does not matter.  Perhaps the stealthy deception of sophism is the reason why so many Christian leaders convincingly get away with not telling the truth.  Parents admonish their children to tell the truth, but adults laugh at little white lies.  The enemy of truth in any generation is the evil art of sophistry.  The first Christian scholar was probably Clement of Alexandria.  Although little is known of his life, he was one of the early defenders of the Christian religion.  In one his writings he explained the principle of sophism.

The art of sophistry, which the Greeks cultivated, is a fantastic power, which makes false opinions like true by means of words. For it produces rhetoric in order to persuasion, and disputation for wrangling. These arts, therefore, if not conjoined with philosophy, will be injurious to everyone. For Plato openly called sophistry “an evil art.” And Aristotle, following him, demonstrates it to be a dishonest art, which abstracts in a specious manner the whole business of wisdom, and professes a wisdom which it has not studied.  (Stromata, Clement of Alexandria, book 1, chapter 8)

Sophistry is a subtle false argument.  To sophisticate means to mislead by deception and false arguments.  To be sophisticated is actually bad, although a revised contemporary meaning is that a sophisticated person is worldly wise, mature, classy, in the know, and on top of all situations.  If the root word “sophism” is an enemy to truth, how can its derivative word “sophisticated” be good for truth?  For instance, worldly wise does not necessarily express truth.

The history of Christianity reveals the presence of sophism in every generation.  In the 16th century, John Calvin said:

The argument against Christianity unfolds itself and discloses the tangled web of their sophistries, men of discernment see at once that what they have apprehended is nothing at all.  I see that the world everywhere trifles with God, and that the ungodly delude themselves with Sophistries (Calvin’s Commentary on Nahum).  The 19th century Presbyterian theologian, James H. Thornwell said, “The sophist of speculation is the hypocrite.”

Sophism and stealthy deception always has and always will be an enemy to the church for every generation.  Sophism is a principle that is timeless and is certain to raise its ugly head in every culture. It has infected every aspect of private and public life in the United States.

Please share this so that our friends and neighbors will understand the principles Hillary Clinton uses as well as millions like her. The devil is charming!

One thought on “Invasion of Sophism in the United States

  1. Two comments:
    1. Minor one– What is the connection with the FBI decision on Hillary? Criminal intent (mens rea) has always been a key ingredient in criminal prosecutions.
    2. Major one– Since sophisms have been around for thousands of years, why do you call it ‘an invasion’ as if it just happened recently? Were there not sophisms here before ‘postmodern culture’?[And why do you and I who believe in some ethical absolutes as revealed by God, not been able to stop the spread of sophisms?]

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