The Fake, Hyper-Real Life - A Nation of Liars and Cheaters, and We are All Complicit

Wow. What a week. Lance Armstrong is set to confess to Oprah and the world after 15 years of harsh denials that he used performance enhancing drugs. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o's story of a girlfriend who died of cancer is discovered to be a hoax--whether he was in on it or not is yet to be seen. Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemens all failed to be voted into the baseball hall of fame due to their suspected or professed involvement with steroids.

What does this tell us about our society? It tells us that we live in a "hyper-real" society, where we are happy to substitute fake performance and fake life for reality. And everyone is complicit in this. Everyone cheered Mark McGuire's and Barry Bond's chasing of the home run record. Seventy-three home runs in a season? It was incredible to watch--even if we knew that Bonds' bulging muscles and swollen body screamed "roids." Baseball writers got caught up in the history making event. Baseball owners were just happy to have fans back after the lockout. And we watched.

This desire for the hyper-real inevitably has devastating consequences. During the run-up to the housing market crash, there were signs that the housing run-up was unsustainable. But after the crash of 2000 and 9/11, people were just glad to have some type of financial positive. Home valuations were up. Home ownership was up. Why spoil the party? But as we all know, the crash was devastating. Same goes for the stock market crash of 2008. 

Lying and cheating and unethical behavior has short term gains. But inevitably, people get caught. Reality catches up to the fake. And when the fake is unmasked, it is ugly.

It may be that God made us to be more like turtles than rabbits. Slow and steady wins the race. Drugs, lying, cheating, can give us a temporary high. But the crash is simply not worth it. 

So instead of the hyper-real, dishonest life, we should savor the ordinary, everyday life. The joy of our children. The fresh breeze and fresh air. A good meal. Time with our spouse. And of course, a daily walk with God. 

The writer of Ecclessiastes says, "12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God" (3:12-13).

Why do you think that we are a nation of liars and cheaters? What is the cause and the solution? 

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Comment by James Nored on January 17, 2013 at 1:45pm

Dietrich, I think that we will all be watching. There are still many admirable qualities about Lance Armstrong. He is a mixed bag, as we all are.

Comment by James Nored on January 17, 2013 at 1:44pm

Thanks, Greg! Yes, when identity is not in Christ, we will seek to find it in other things. And no matter how much these things are "souped up," they cannot compare.

Comment by Greg Ziegler on January 17, 2013 at 1:34pm

Don't think "everyone" is complicit, but agree our society is having more and more trouble distinguishing right from wrong...consequence of the removal of faith in God. Answer is to submit to God and to love truth, wherever it leads us.

Comment by Dietrich Gruen on January 17, 2013 at 11:50am

I too am dissapointed with this raqsh of lies and decepit among our sports icons, adn I will be watching Oprah to day to see what Lance finally says about why he cheated and why he covered up and why he kept lying about the cover up. Let's hope truth prevails and that the truth will set him free. As to any explanations I have for his, and other behaviors, I can just fall back on James 3:6-12, which details sins of speech, with the tongue as an index of the heart and an instrument of evil, cross ref with Jeremiah 17:9, where we learn that the heart is so deceitful that no one can understand it, much less cure it.

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