I think it was Mark Shea who coined the phrase “Sin Makes You Stupid”. I’d push it further and say “Sin Make You Insane” In fact I’d say “Sin Makes You an Insane Zombie”
At the very heart of all sin is pride and selfishness. This is the assumption that you are the king of the hill, the god or goddess in your universe and if something is wrong it is always somebody else’s fault.
We see this blame of others at every level of life–within marriages, within families, in every kind of community where people are gathered together. It is there from the tiniest bit of gossip in the schoolyard through to international relations which end in war. Somebody else is always to blame.
Now the problem with this is that the person doing the blaming really honestly believes it it the other person’s fault, and if it is at least a little the other person’s fault (which is usually is) then they are even more convinced in their blaming of the other person.
This develops into a huge blind spot. We don’t see the blame that we’re doing. We really believe the other person is the whole problem. If we mix religion into it the syndrome becomes even more intense because God is on our side. We’re right. The other side is wrong, and we must fight the other side because eternal salvation is up for grabs.
A downward spiral develops. Believing the other person really is to blame increases our own self righteousness and pride. This leads to more blaming which leads to an even greater sense of our self righteousness and before long we are not only blaming the other person but we are entertaining rage against them and planning an attack of some kind.
This leads to the kind of insanity which increasingly marks our social discourse, our conversations about our religion, our interactions in our communities and in our families.
If insanity is a false perception of reality, then this is a kind of insanity. Furthermore, when we gang up with other people suffering from the same insanity we form an insanity tribe in which we support and reinforce each other’s insanity and the sickness becomes even more incurable. Then our insanity tribe begins to blame and war against some other insanity tribe like maddened zombies.
Should anyone stop and say, “Hey. This behavior is insane. We should stop.” The whole insanity tribe will turn on that person with infernal rage. At last they have found the true enemy!
I have a theory that the current crop of zombie movies and TV shows are a reflection of this kind of insane behavior. The zombies klodge around brain dead and soul less–eaten up by a diabolical disease that they can do nothing about and yet they are driven by rage–like some internal infernal dynamo they continue in their mindless rampage.
How to avoid it? Taking a long, hard, serious look at ourselves. Can you laugh at yourself and your cherished opinions? If not watch out.
How else to maintain spiritual sanity? Check every impulse to blame others and at the heart, take responsibility for ourself through the grace and beauty of repentance.
It’s a good thing Lent is coming up.
We need it.
Check out my two Screwtape Letters-type Lent books. The Gargoyle Code and Slubgrip Instructs. Go here.