Two Lies and the Truth

Jul 2, 2023    Scott Sottosanti


“Americans are turning to wellness trends, podcasts, and life coaches to piece together a spiritual tool kit tailored specifically to them. The aim isn’t salvation so much as optimization: better sleep, inner peace, and profitable entrepreneurship.”

“Our epidemic of isolation — the feeling that life is a restless, stumbling circle rather than a path with a clear goal — is the legacy of that same noble intellectual tradition to which we owe so much. American culture fetishizes the individual through a very narrow idea of freedom as the absence of restraint…Operating as if our primary task were to achieve happiness — and defining happiness as freedom from duties and obligations, seeing them as burdens rather than as opportunities — lands us in a place that’s out of touch with human nature, a place of anxiety and loneliness and the constant pressure to find fulfillment. This leads to the dopamine hits of social media and the incredibly fragile egos that depend on them to develop a sense of self.”

~Molly Worthen (1981-present), journalist and professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill

“People who end up not just the happiest but the healthiest are the people who have more social connections and warmer social connections. Connections of all kinds—not just intimate partners, but friends and work colleagues and casual relationships. All of that adds up to a happier and healthier life as you get older.”

~Robert Waldinger (1951-present), Harvard professor of psychiatry

“If you are selfish, and make yourself and your own private interests your idol, God will leave you to yourself, and let you promote your own interests as well as you can. But if you do not selfishly seek your own, but do seek the things that are Jesus Christ’s, and the things of your fellow-beings, then God will make your interest and happiness his own charge, and he is infinitely more able to provide for and promote it than you are. The resources of the universe move at his bidding, and he can easily command them all to subserve your welfare. So that, not to seek your own, in the selfish sense, is the best way of seeking your own in a better sense. It is the directest course you can take to secure your highest happiness.”

~Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), Puritan theologian and pastor

 “Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth.”

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), German theologian, pastor, and Nazi dissident


Genesis 3:1-15 (ESV)

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.


He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.


8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”


14 The Lord God said to the serpent,


   “Because you have done this,

    cursed are you above all livestock

    and above all beasts of the field;

    on your belly you shall go,

    and dust you shall eat

    all the days of your life.

15         I will put enmity between you and the woman,

    and between your offspring and her offspring;

    he shall bruise your head,

    and you shall bruise his heel.”