A working definition from the book of Proverbs is this: intelligent perception leading to an accurate interpretation of events, being skillful in living, having “sacred sense.”  Proverbs 9:1-6 portrays “Lady Wisdom” holding a banquet at her palace which is built around seven pillars.  A study of the entirety of Proverbs will reveal that these pillars of wisdom are knowledge, truth, discipline, righteousness, humility, discretion, and understanding.

Our culture has cleverly and subtly crafted a counterfeit to each of these seven pillars, and the results have been tragic, as many have been led astray by this deadly delusion.  A counterfeit is a very close, almost exact imitation of that which is valuable or important, with the intent to deceive or defraud and to provide the perpetrator with unlawful gain.  The imitation of the original is intentional.  Here we begin a brief look at the pillars of wisdom and the corresponding perversions evident in our present culture.

Knowledge, which is intelligence gained through observation and experience, has been consumed by a mostly meaningless morass of available information.  People have come to be mesmerized by the technologies that undo their capacities to think.  Information has become a commodity where the medium itself is more desired than the message.  It has become the trivial pursuit of those with an insatiable appetite for distraction.  Access to information must be a tool for learning and communication, but it cannot become our captor.

Truth is absolute, universally authoritative, and an anchor to reality.  However, this concept of truth has been circumvented by the – initially pleasing, yet – very deceptive and destructive doctrine of tolerance.  Instead of being universal, truth becomes personal.  What remains is each individual’s own “personal truth,” which may be diametrically opposite to what someone else may believe, yet both views are equally tolerated.  The result: everything is relative; everything is right somewhere and sometime, and nothing is right everywhere and all the time.

Discipline is teaching and training that molds and matures.  This takes time, intentionality, and community.  It is not quick and easy, but in this every-moment-must-be-charged-with-excitement culture, discipline has been displaced by indulgence.  We have allowed for a new order of consistent narcissism [focus on self] and hedonism [pursuit of pleasure]. Replacing personal responsibility with instant pleasure, entitlement, and personal rights will only lead to an epidemic of nihilism [“life is meaningless” belief], depression, and even suicide.

In the next post we identify the cultural counterfeits of righteousness, humility, discretion, and understanding.