Is sincerity foolisnhess ? (Personality vs Morality)

According to the bible the ability not to speak your mind is an emphasized moral virtue.

Have you struggled with sincerity ? Does sincerity make you a fool ? How easy is it to get along with people that aren’t sincere ?

I’ve seen three possible factors contributing to such as a natural disposition:

1ºPersonality, in the sense Psychology gives it - should mostly be set for life around 18 yo.
2ºUpbringing, children who’s family cultivated a restraint on the value of sincerity, or who were physically punished.
3ºSocial environment, persons from small villages are generally very aware their words can easily have catastrophic consequences.

Any thoughts appreciated.

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Here in Argentina we have a phrase that would be translated as “sincerity and not sincericide”, one can be sincere and be it in a respectful and tactful manner, and in the right time/mood.

This is something that many millenials striving to pose as “authentic” don’t understand (and I say this being 19 lol).


Is there some disillusion in your question, I wonder. In case, I answer.

I find that most people in my life are sincere, and certainly the many members of my own family with all their differences in personality. I find most people to be sincere and honest in normal dealings with neighbors and friends … or even strangers whom I pass in the street with whom there often is a pleasantly exchanged spontaneous greeting or smile. I do live in a large city, but somewhere in the suburbs.

It isn’t forced by discipline, nor the result of naivety, nor because of fear of catastrophic consequences. It just is
If people are living the best they honestly can in a normal life, with the usual helping of burdens, they will be sincere in their interactions. They will have reasonable trust in others’ goodwill. They will also exercise a degree of wisdom where necessary, but that does not mean they lack sincerity. They have sincere reasons and intentions, neither harmful nor causing any harm.

Sincerity does still exist as a genuine part of speaking ones mind without being brutal, but with kindness. The intentions toward the person remain sincere.

Most people I know are naturally honest and well-intentioned people. It isn’t created or forced by discipline, nor the result of naivety, nor because of fear of catastrophic consequences.

Mostly of my siblings are enthusiastic people, and so are other generations of our family, and it’s pretiy impossible to be anything other than sincere if you are enthusistic and full of goodwill.
Our parents who have getting on for 70 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, were good people, our father more reserved … and the family consensus had us put on his grave, “Loved Father and Mentor”, because as my brothers agreed, “We can never do anything that isn’t moral because Dad was such a good example”, (our mother died young).
One brother walked out of a successful business in which he was a partner, because he was unable to convince his partner not to do business in an immoral way. Some time later he opened a business on his own although he’s lost a lot of money through his conscience. It’s there that sincerity is proven.

God bless you


Without sincerity at some level, communication and later, human interaction becomes distorted, even meaningless.

I do not know which scriptures you speak of, but some of them address retsraint in speech, such as in James 3. Even the Archangel Raphael, in the Book of Tobit (a wonderful read!) withholds his identity and his mission until the proper moment. Sincerity walks hand-in-hand with the virtue of prudence.

As you know, I am often misunderstood. That is not a lack of sincerity as I see it - it is my quirky psychology and right-brain thought being translated into a left-brain world.

Again, sincerity matters both temporally and eternally, as we must be sincerely contrite when we confess our sins. And yet again, we must make a sincere effort to amend our lives.

Yes, sincerity absolutely matters, and is an aspect of truth - which is of God.

This is a very insincere culture and society we live in. The age of plastics does not define only the chemical world.


I was taught that you didn’t need to tell everybody your business. I learned as an adult that that included not telling them your opinion on everything either. I don’t see it as “insincere” to hold stuff back. I see it as frequently prudent and tactful and thus a very mature behavior.

Insincerity to me would be something like pretending you were someone’s friend while secretly backstabbing them. Something way beyond just not giving your opinion on every hot button issue all day long.

I don’t think millennials endlessly giving their opinion is unique to them. It’s likely more visible due to social media giving everybody a microphone, but the old hippie baby-boom generation wasn’t shy about handing out opinions either and they still do so. The generations between them and millennials did the same at least when young.


Quite simply, we cannot learn by talking - only by listening and pondering. I use the Blessed Virgin as my model: she said very little that was recorded - the Magnificat being the sole exception. Everything else, she pondered in her heart. As she ws sinless, there is a major lesson for each of us there, beginning with me.


Hola @AlbMagno ,

This one is really good @AlbMagno. Thank you I appreciate it :slight_smile:

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Hi @Trishie ,

Thank you for taking the time and trouble of giving such an extensive answer.

I have to admit life these last years has given me a very negative outlook on social life. Especially so regarding truthfulness. (The business and rural worlds hold this in different forms, but there are common denominators.)

A family member warned me latter in life: “In 1000 you’ll find 1001 false persons”. (The inverse reason of the number given in Ben Sirá for choosing 1 confident among 1000 friends. )

I spoke at length with a seminarian last week, among the many reflections he put an emphasis on “dissimulation”. How he was surprised by its prevalence, and that it held a high functional value in that high-pressure academic small society he’s integrated in. We didn’t pursue -nor will I- this line of analyses.

(But he was categorical that “dissimulation” and “success” have a positive correlation, not without exceptions. I was led to wonder, could a lifetime of composure be a result of moral principles without strong underlying natural dispositions ? Virtue, in this case, is perhaps, more a furthering of a durable psychological pre-disposition formed during childhood, than the result of habitual cooperation with grace.)

And here we return some humanity, to what theology could have us believe as exclusively mystical. Or scripture presents as exclusively of wisdom.

In social terms, thus sociological, the same “durable disposition” can be acquired by prolonged belonging to a group endowed with its own pressures and sanctions (thus the Ómerta, the “law of silence”, that we rediscover in all sorts of professions, among them: the priesthood).

I was thinking about Blaisé Pascal, and his persona of the “semi-apt” who being endowed of wisdom and knowledge is, nevertheless, perpetually mal-adjusted to the societies he lives in.

Everyone participates in social life - not everyone participates in religious life. We may be taken to overlook by familiarity all the times social agents aren’t sincere by habitus, and so are perfectly adjusted to the specific social world they live in.

Thanks for reminding brother. Especially since I’m not married I can use the reference, and needless to say I appreciate the Book of Tobite to no small extent…

sincerity of the heart.

I believe the catechism says:“without truth human relations are falsified.”

They once asked the Fátima seer servant of God sister Lúcia why Our Lady spoke with her and not Jacinta…Sister Lúcia replied:“Because Jacinta is CALADONA”. Which in Portuguese means a person that never speaks - and so I guess there can be some human value to being talkative.

Good speaking with you @po18guy, God bless.

Yes and St Joseph even less. Like in the episode of the 12-year-old Jesus found at the Temple, I believe he deferred to Blessed Mary to talk for him. Simplicity. Humility.

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Saint Joseph doesn’t say a single word in the Gospels.

These are not the same thing. Simplicity is also present in Scripture as having a potential double value, e.g:

This is one of the critical points I think about. Because I’ve seen entire groups/societies of people geared towards never being truthful under normal circumstances. I mean, when numerically most interactions are reduced to an exercise of cynicism - and such becomes not norm but rule. After a few years, you start to wonder if there’s any sense to it, if patience applies at all or you should apply a mindset of mercilessly cutting your own losses.

And so it is. But the extreme limit is found in the senselessness of relationship condemned to lead nowhere (apart a one-sided exercise of mercy and charity) even after years of cautious composure. Love entails “giving ourselves”, in some way.

I revert this problematic to justice -beyond prudence, tact, or maturity- because at one extreme it becomes the denial of charity itself.

It is fine to be sincere and truthful about necessary things, especially between family members or close friends.
Unfortunately, there are people who think sincerity and truthfulness mean giving their opinions on everything to everybody.
I personally do not care what a relative stranger thinks of Donald Trump, my outfit, or much of anything else.
If one sincerely wants to discuss those things with me, they should spend time building trust and a relationship with me first.
But if our entire interaction consists of sharing a couple of funny videos or saying hi at the office, don’t lay a whole rant on me and expect any reaction beyond block button and avoidance going forward.


Ah, yes. Internet anonymity. Brings out the best, the wittiest, and the absolute worst.

The old saw still applies: It is best to remain silent and be thought a fool…


I’m not sure, but I will say that I certainly don’t come on this forum to be insincere or hold back (I do try to be kind, read other’s post and be Christian though). Sometimes I think…”I could never get away with saying half the stuff I say here in real life”. If I said half of the stuff in real life that I say here, people would be like “who the … is this guy”.

In real life I’ve been told many times that I “hold back” or don’t say what I really feel or think. The problem is that when I really am sincere and say what I think (even nicely) in the wrong setting nothing good seems to come of it.

Honestly, I haven’t figured out how to really be sincere it many settings. In fact I was raised not to be. There is famous quote from a Northern Irish poet called Seamus Heaney…

This can describe me in many situations.

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Well, I think your posting has a “normative” posture in that it’s not eccentric, literary, or anything out of the ordinary really. Now, the fact that we talk about catholic apologetic is uncommon in society in general.

I do adapt to my interlocutor. Them saying “who the … is this guy” doesn’t take anything at all, in fact any pretext is valid to exclude, backbite, and denigrate (I dare say such is the normal, prevalent, tendency in social groups.) Regarding individuals that would show the opposite of “openness” in psychological terms, and close-minded mentality.

This is really interesting because it indicates societies inability to correspond both to the person and to the content. The “wrong setting” would depend on the composition of the setting - but I take, from experience, that would be in most settings.

Part of my current reflection is gathering testimonies of how parents transmitted this to their children. If you could share one key sentence/idea I would appreciate it - I know this is somewhat personal, I don’t want to be invasive.

Well, that’s good. I’m glad you think so. Occasionally I do like to add some literary references in my postings though. :face_with_monocle:

In the US, a discussion about religion or apologetics is appropriate only among (close) family. You start having a discussion about this stuff in public…it will clear an entire bar at a restaurant if two people at bar start talking about religion. It is really frowned upon.

Sure…growing up my parents would say things like “Some things are nobody’s business but ours”, “Don’t every talk about money with others”, “Drive a beat-up old car so people will think your poor”, and “tell people nothing about your career so they don’t put obstacles in your way”.

So, yes, in real life, I’m inclined to hold back what I think sometimes. The thing is too that when I do say what I think, people’s jaw drop because my opinions haven’t been formed in any community. My opinions have only been formed in discussions with close friends and family.

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Self restraint is not the same as insincerity.

I don’t lnow if this is precisely “insincere”, but in the US we have some serious social issues that we CAN’T discuss honestly and openly because folks will start with the labels and name calling.


Yes. We are not allowed to criticize or disagree with people who are presenting themselves as members of an oppressed minority. I am also not allowed to say anything positive about Trump or any of his appointees around my friends or World War III will come down on my head. It doesn’t matter if I personally knew the person as being an all right person, worked with them etc. I’m still not allowed to speak of them positively.

The amusing thing I find about this is how changeable it all is. John McCain was the “bad guy” when he was running with Sarah Palin against Obama. If you said anything in support of the McCain ticket you were an evil racist, etc. Fast forward a few years to when McCain was opposing Trump and then dying, all of a sudden all these people who hadn’t liked him before were going on like he was a hero.

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