From Jim O'Brien
November 22, 2019

The Cult of Niceness

Hi Friend,

It sounds strange to write an essay on virtue that finds fault with niceness. After all, Jesus admonished followers to treat others as we want to be treated. Who doesn't want to be treated nicely?

So I was surprised to read a Christian based article describing a Culture of Niceness that is destroying civilization. The author contends that our nation has reached a stage that we can't tell anyone an evident truth about life for fear of causing offense.

An obvious example is demonstrated by an "interview-college-kids," internet video making the rounds. In it a 5'9" white male interviews college students at the University of Washington and tells them that he identifies as a 6'5" Chinese female. The sample of students interviewed had generally supportive responses, one encouraging him several times saying, "Good for you!"

It isn't that hard to tell that a 5'9" white male isn't 6'5", or Chinese or female. We may typically recognize a person who has blinded himself to obvious truth as mentally ill. Normal people would respond to such claims, "But you are white, you are short, you are male and you are not Chinese."

What are the consequences to a nation that encourages such self-delusional thoughts? When a man denies obvious truth he eventually stops believing there is any truth. When there is no truth there is no reality. When a person loses touch with reality we say that he is insane. He is a danger to himself or others.

When Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you a king then?" Jesus responded, "I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice." Pilate responded with the rhetorical question, "What is truth?" (John 18:37-38). The question reflects the mind of a nihilistic tyrant who is so caught up in the politics of pleasing the deep state leaders that he has lost contact with reality.

Maybe Pilate started out as a sincere dedicated person who wanted to serve his fellow man. Maybe he wanted to make the world better. Maybe he wanted to raise his children in a world of justice and ethics. Somewhere along the way he became disillusioned about life. It all began by denying truth that he could see with his own eyes. He lied to himself about things he knew to be true. In an incredible irony Pilate comes face to face with God in the flesh-the Truth, but at this pivotal time he has lost touch with reality.

Are the students in today's colleges insane? I doubt it. But the intellectual culture of college campuses is mentally unsound. We've become too nice to give students poor grades for poor scholarship, too nice to correct their disrespect for great men of character, too nice to expect students to discipline their moral appetites.

By denying such obvious truths as sexual identity, universities have lost a connection to reality and thus have become a breeding ground for hopelessness and despair.

There is an answer to all this. Jesus gave it to mankind when he said, "I am the way, the truth and the life!"

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien