A Noble Lie

Ravi Zacharias quoted an article by George Cornell who wrote for the Houston Post July 27, 1991 an article called “Philosopher Says the World Desperately Needs a Nobel Lie.” In this article Cornell cites Loyal D. Rue a professor from Luther College. Ravi reads the following Cornell citing of Rue speaking to The American Association of the Advancement of Science:

“It remains for the artists, the poets, the novelists, the musicians, the filmmakers, the trickster, the masters of illusion to winch us toward our salvation by seducing us to embrace a noble lie,” he told the scientific meeting. “Perhaps” he said in an interview, “it is possible to rework, transpose the Judeo Christian tradition to make it plausible again. In any case the illusion must be so compelling and so imaginative that it can’t be resisted, so beautiful and satisfying that all will feel they have to accept it” he told the meeting. “What I mean by the noble lie is one that deceives us, tricks us, compels us beyond self interest, beyond ego, beyond family, nation, or race, that will deceive us into the view that our moral discourse must serve the interest not only of ourselves and each other but of those of the earth as well.”

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What could possibly be more beautiful and compelling than the truth? That’s the incredible irony of it all. The gospel is such that the problems of meaning and evil are ultimately answered with sheer finality in God himself. Christ’s death and resurrection are the apex of all humanity and the inexpressible hope of all who believe. Unlike other world religions which preserve the sovereignty of man in that men must do something to be acceptable to God, Christianity alone gives all the glory to a being outside of ourselves. Furthermore, we find infinite satisfaction in giving him our praise and devotion.

2 Corinthians 5:21 – He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.


3 thoughts on “A Noble Lie”

  1. Wow, what a concept. I don’t know if this thought is exactly new though. I think this has been the mindset that has been common in the Catholic and liberal protestant take on Christianity as being beneficial only as it effects the sitz im leben. Whether or not it is true is unimportant.

  2. Yeah, I agree. This is liberal Christianity… But talk about a weird idea from a philosopher, one who’s seeking after truth and holds truth as his basis for rejecting Christianity. On one hand they are running away from Christianity because its incredulity. So it’s a better option to make up a lie that will help to shape our morals? Who’s to believe it? What solves the originator’s epistemological problem? This sure does speak powerfully about the bankruptcy of the atheistic option. They run from truth in search of truth and when they find it (apart from God, χωρις χριστου), they build a god who is a lie. I wonder how that would help?

  3. Upon reading this I immediately thought of 2 Thessalonians 2. There is yet to be a masterful lie–“For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” It will bring unity…against Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

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