Without a doubt the single biggest turn-off which prevents spiritually sincere people from joining a Christian church is the fact that Christians are infamous for their hypocrisy. Why is that? Amazingly enough there is a scientific reason for this phenomenon.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect
In 1999 two professors at Cornell University, David Dunning and Justin Kruger, performed a series of experiments regarding competence. They uncovered four very interesting principles…
- Tend to overestimate their level of skill
- Fail to recognize genuine skill in others
- Fail to recognize the extremity of their incompetence
- Can recognize their former incompetence if they are trained to substantially improve.
Now when we apply these same principles to Christians we derive the following . . .
- Overestimate their righteousness
- Fail to recognize (let alone appreciate) devout saints
- Fail to recognize how flawed and illogical their thinking is
- Will only realize they were formerly hypocrites if and when they are forced to grow beyond it.
Therefore, based upon what science discloses:
- Christian hypocrites will never reform themselves
- Bible Study is counter-productive for the hypocrite
- Christian hypocrites will evade or rebuke evidence that undermines their delusions
- Reformation of the hypocrite requires external application of factual data which overturns their imaginary worldview.
Is Bible Study Good for Christians?
From a scientific standpoint, one of the most malignant activities in the Christian church is so-called “Bible Study.” BTW, in case you haven’t noticed, hypocrites LOVE bible study and applying the previous logic, it is easy to see why.
When a hypocrite shows up to bible study, they believe that they fervently “love the Lord.” They believe they are righteous. Their goal is not repentance. They are attending bible study to reinforce their delusion that they are already righteous. Their very presence is considered objective proof of their unquestionable devotion.
As hypocrites read the Bible, they imagine they’re reading about themselves. They fail to recognize that their lives are not even remotely congruent with the stories they seem to be studying. Jesus addressed the behavioral disconnect of hypocrites in Matthew 15:7-8:
Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Essentially hypocrites have replaced doing with imagining. In their narcissistic mindset, if they’ve attended bible study for an hour, they have performed a work of the Lord. Once again, this is not a new phenomenon:
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. – James 1:22-24
Evasion is Contrary to Truth
If you carefully observe the scientific principles regarding incompetence, you’ll notice a pattern: “tend to overestimate . . . fail to recognize . . .” These people are woefully out of touch with reality. They are evading the feedback within their environment. Indirect behavior is contrary to a Christ-filled life:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. – Joh 14:6
It is impossible to be seeking the fullness of Jesus, who is truth, while simultaneously attempting to evade the truth. Growth is painful. In fact, you might recall being a teenager and experiencing inescapable “growing pains” as your body changed. No pain, no gain.
Hypocrites are pain avoiders. Although commanded by Jesus to deny themselves (Mt 16:24), hypocrites deliberately avoid painful truths. They disobey Christ and indulge their feelings rather than deny themselves. Yet in their own mind they are sacrificial martyrs.
The Cure for Hypocrisy
Is there a cure for Christian hypocrisy? Actually there is! Based upon the science, Christian churches need to replace bible study with world history and the history of the Christian church.
What’s the logic behind that?
First of all, the present state of America proves that bible study has not contributed to a more enlightened church. We must be willing to admit that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Secondly, hypocrites suffer from a deliberately impoverished worldview. If left to their own devices hypocrites will restrict their informational intake solely to stimuli that reinforces their delusions. The average Christian is unable to comprehend the cultural and historical significance of the stories in the Bible.
For example, ask any American Christian what continent Jesus was raised on and they won’t be able to tell you. One of the major reasons why hypocrisy flourishes in American churches is because modern Christianity does not take place in the real world but solely within the culturally limited imaginations of Christians.
So called “Bible study” occurs in a vacuum, apart from world history. Archeological insights that would help to illuminate the true meaning of the Bible are never discussed. Despite the fact that a great deal of the Bible takes place in Egypt, no objective study of the history of Egypt ever takes place in bible study. That’s just plum crazy.
Furthermore, an overview of how Christ has been depicted and worshiped around the world would truly be beneficial to Christians yet never takes place in bible study.
If the Christian Church fears history and science, then it cannot possibly be founded upon the truth. Which is not to say that all history and science is truthful but rather that, more often than not, truthful history and science support rather than negate the Bible.
If Christianity requires ignorance to sustain itself then it is not eternal truth. Bible study in its present manifestation fortifies hypocrisy and therefore has a deleterious effect on the church both from within and from without.
Currently, Christian churches do nothing but substantiate social ignorance. Yet they wonder why church membership is falling. Moths are not attracted by darkness. When Christians become the brightest, most well-informed and astute members of their society, others will NATURALLY flock to the church.
As the scientific data clearly reveals, Christian hypocrisy will not go away of its own accord. The hypocrite must intentionally be taught truths which they do not wish to know. However, when churches become serious about the training of Christians, envisioning church as God’s University and Christians as an ever-enlightened social group, then hypocrisy and church splits will finally disappear. And American society will flourish once more.