A sarcastically pedagogical Chinese proverb/childhood story, “掩耳盜鈴” (“Plugging One’s Ears While Stealing a Bell”. Reference site; Chinese version)

In ancient times, Fan’s family was destroyed by others. So a man went to Fan’s house and tried to steal something. He saw a big bell in the courtyard. The bell was so beautiful. He liked it very much, and he wanted to get it. Because the bell was too big and heavy, he could not move it. He thought there was only one way to solve the problem. He had to break the bell into pieces.

The thief found a big hammer, and he struck the bell. It produced very loud sound. The sound made the thief feel frightened. The thief thought it was bad: others would know that he was stealing the bell! He tried to stop the sound with his arms, but it was useless. He felt more and more frightened and covered his ears firmly hard with his hands. The sound became much lower. He immediately got some odd bits of cloth, and had his ears plugged with the two cloth rolls. He thought that in this way nobody could hear the sound of the bell. So he struck the bell again. The sound was louder. Many people heard it, and the thief was caught as a result checked.

As a child, I’ve always found this story to be absolutely hilarious. How could a thief possibly think that, just because he can’t hear it, no one else can? How ridiculous.

Hold on a second. Maybe this story isn’t so ridiculous after all. A knower-based, knower-centered reality sounds a lot like postmodernism, doesn’t it? First we depart from God’s truth, saying that no one should say that they have absolute truth, that absolute truth is unknowable. (Such a view is not true. For it to work, the statement of no knowable absolute truth must be stated from someone who does have absolute truth.) Then we say that absolute truth does not exist at all. O depravity of man, you who have exchanged the glory and truth of God for lies.

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