Man makes the same mistakes over and over, even though history repeatedly warns him about the folly of his sins. Paul pinpointed the problem in Romans 1. He said that although man has a limited knowledge of God in creation, he chooses not to glorify Him, nor is he thankful. As a result, he becomes vain in his imaginations and his foolish heart is “darkened.” He no longer discerns right from wrong, but actually begins to think that right is wrong.
The deceitfulness of sin is vividly seen in the life of the French philosopher Rousseau. He declared, “No man can come to the throne of God and say, Im a better man than Rousseau.“ When he knew death was close at hand, he boasted, “Ah, how happy a thing it is to die, when one has no reason for remorse or self-reproach.” Then he prayed, “Eternal Being, the soul that I am going to give Thee back is as pure at this moment as it was when it proceeded from Thee; render it a partaker of Thy felicity!”
This is an amazing statement when you realize that Rousseau didnt profess to be born again. In his writings he advocated adultery and suicide, and more that 20 years he lived in licentiousness. Most of his children were born out of wedlock and sent to a foundling home. He was mean, treacherous, hypocritical, and blasphemous.
Reordering our Perceptions
Some early studies concerned with prejudice show that were quite capable of reordering our perceptions of the world around us in order to maintain our conviction that were right. A group of white, middle-class New York City residents were presented with a picture of people on a subway. Two men were in the foreground. One was white, one was black. One wore a business suit, one was clothed in workmans overalls. One was giving his money to the other who was threatening him with a knife.
Now as a matter of fact it was the black man who wore the suit, and it was he who was being robbed by the white laborer. But such a picture didnt square with the prejudices of the viewers. To them, white men were executives, black men were blue collar workers. Blacks were the robbers, whites the victims. And so they reported what their mind told them they sawthat a black laborer was assaulting a white businessman.
As human beings who desperately desire our lives to be consistent and untroubled, well go to great lengths to reject a message that implies were wrong.