Signature of the hypocrite
1. Whenever he speaks, he lies.
2. Whenever he argues, he explodes.
3. When he is entrusted with something, he violates that trust.
4. When he promises something, he goes back on the promise.
5. They don’t spend [time or money] on [charity] except that they regret it. – Hadith
The sense of the balance of nature operates in society through us. We see it in our response when we think that a criminal has got away with his crime. Most of us, when we watch a movie, experience the cathartic result when the “baddie” is finally caught and brought to justice. Our sense of relief, or the good, is exactly that in nature which seeks balance through us. Our social conscience is satisfied.
In society, there is this same sense that we want to see, we want to feel that everyone in society that is designated to serve a function, not only serves that function, but he himself is obedient to the nature of that function. It would not matter whether a street-sweeper practices hygiene and cleanliness in his home. That is not something we would find a paradox in nature, or a paradox staring us in the face in the operation of society.
We feel good when a criminal is arrested, brought to book, and served with the justice he deserves. How would you feel if it had come to public knowledge that a prominent figure was guilty of transgressing against the very values he is supposed to uphold; but nothing was done about it, and he was reinstated to his post? I think most of us would feel quite disturbed by it. We would definitely feel something was out of order; many of us would wish something could be done about it.
This feeling of a sense of relief when something is done about it, is the sign that the conscience of our society is healthy and well, as it ought to be.
Therefore, when such a person gets exposed and faces consequences, our sense that right and justice has been served is the principle of homeostasis functioning as our conscience, and the demonstration of nature operating in society.
Now, how would you feel about a practicing priest that preaches about God, but it comes to your knowledge, from reliable sources, that this preacher, this priest does not believe in God – that he is an atheist! How would you feel?
And what would you feel if when faced with it this priest claims that he was doing his congregation no harm, and that he had been responsible for saving many souls – what would you think? Would you think, “Oh that’s fine. That doesn’t matter. Let him continue to preach! Let him continue to be a priest”?
And how would it affect you if you should be sitting in on his sermons? Would it affect how you listened to him, that fact that he was an atheist, and he was just donning his priestly garb, because that’s the means by which he gains nice social status and recognition and respect, and lives a nice, convenient lifestyle? What would be your stand in such a matter?
So in both cases, you felt things were not in order, and if you consider it, it is because, in the case of a policeman, who is to uphold the law, it would be too much of a contradiction to be at ease with: if the policeman himself commits criminal acts, because of his station and the nature of his job, it is simply intolerable, in a healthy society.
The same goes when we come to consider the case of the priest: though the priest is not committing any crime, and not corporeally or physically or even mentally harming any member of his congregation, why do we also have an uneasy feeling with the priest?
For the same principled reason: that by virtue of what he’s supposed to represent – a God-loving, believing, fearing man, and he earns his authority, therefore, to so preach about his faith to others, from his faith in God. So it’s too much of a contradiction when, by virtue of that, that the absence of that divests him of that authority, in our minds, at least, and therefore we definitely cannot respect him while he peddles that mode of earning his livelihood.
When the congregation becomes aware of the truth: would they say, “No, it’s fine, he’s harming no member of the congregation – let him continue”? I really doubt that, and I would say most certainly, no congregation would want to sit and listen to an atheist professing his faith in God, and also standing there, wanting to convert or convince or motivate them. No, they would want an authentic priest; a priest that has the authority because he imbibed what is in the Bible, believed it, and from that conviction, called others to faith, and inspired faith in others.
Now, what about the educator? Our expectation would again be determined by – what is the educator’s function? What is his function in society, and who bestows on him the authority to educate? Can he ever be guilty of what we have seen, in the priest’s case? What qualifies our educators, and when and how, or, can it happen that they disqualify themselves, like the atheist priest?
Do we have expectations in terms of morals and ethical standards from educators, and are they supposed, as in the case of the priest, to personally believe, live, pursue the values – and obviously one of the most important things that the educator must do is to instil values! In fact, that’s why the priest’s function and the educator’s function are quite complementary, and very parallel – because the educator is not instated to merely pump information and knowledge into the minds of our children.
The moral conscience of our society, the standards of ethics that we expect to mature in our society must happen at home, and must be supported and backed up at school. The educator is supposed to be doing it at school. Can we exact and expect the same from the educator as we do from the priest, and, should there be similar contradictions, how will it affect our sense of balance? Will we get that niggling feeling?