Are You a Cynic or a Skeptic?
I was doing a recent radio interview when a caller accused me of being too cynical. It didn’t take me off guard or upset me. In fact, I’ve been waiting for that. I mean, the title of my book is 10 Things I Hate About Christianity...after all. Actually, I’ve been wondering why I haven’t gotten that more. To some degree, it’s both true and untrue. And I think it’s a lesson for all of us.
It’s true that I am a person that struggles with cynicism. I don’t like that about myself. I often describe myself as optimistically challenged or cynically hopeful. It’s just something I deal with on a heart level quite often. I know it’s wrong so I actively try to take measures to break that shadow that seems to loom over my personality.
It’s untrue in the context of my book. That’s right, my book is not cynical in any way. On top of that, my book is overwhelmingly positive, which is not a characteristic of cynicism. I would describe my book, and my approach to life, more accurately as skepticism. And yes, there is a difference.
Cynicism is closed, negative, and draining. As I said, it casts a shadow and pulls us down.
Skepticism is healthy, productive, and enlightening. It is motivational and positive. It pushes the person who wants to learn and grow forward.
This was the answer I gave to the caller in the interview. And it instantly changed the tone of the dialogue around–for the better.
So I am a proud and outspoken skeptic:
I doubt…but I want to believe.
I struggle…but I want to be stronger.
I question…but I look for an answer.
I am anxious…but I want to be content.
I am frustrated…but I work toward resolution.
I hate…but I know I should love.