Bill Cosby the Hero

By David Mills Published on April 27, 2018

He lived in my town for a while, which we thought was kind of cool, since he was so famous and so loved. Bill Cosby worked on a doctorate in education at the University of Massachusetts. Friends would excitedly report the rare Cosby sighting. We had America’s beloved uncle in town.

Who was, it turns out, a sexual predator. A really horrible one. Yesterday a court convicted him of three felonies: “penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant.” That’s just one woman, among the 50-some who say he did the same thing to them. The New York Times noted that “In recent years, Mr. Cosby, 80, had admitted to decades of philandering, and to giving quaaludes to women as part of an effort to have sex.”

And he was America’s beloved uncle. Look at the headline of this story from June, 2014, fewer than four years ago: “Bill Cosby Tops List of Most Admired Fathers in America According to New Poll.”

Cosby’s real history offers a lesson, but it’s not an easy one. Don’t believe the world’s story. Don’t take its heroes as your heroes. Question what the world tells you, and don’t take the public image at face value. Don’t, for example, assume America’s uncle and most admired father lives a virtuous life.

Look at the world’s story a lot more cynically than you’d like to. Because what we see is only a picture, created by people who tell lies for a living.

The World’s Story

The world lies. Consciously, purposely, unabashedly, psychopathically. A massive, sophisticated, utterly unprincipled industry works without stopping to make you believe things that are not true. That wicked people are lovely people, for example. Vast amounts of money are to be made through creating public heroes. Vast amounts of power are to be gained. A lot of people invest themselves in making sure you believe those “heroes” truly live heroically.

Worse, we invest ourselves. We want heroes. We want the same heroes everyone else has. You and I want to think nice thoughts about people. We don’t want to be cynical. People don’t like cynics. Imagine that in 2014 when America made Bill Cosby its favorite dad, you told your co-workers or your Bible study that we don’t know what he’s really like and that for all we know he could be a rapist. They’d call you a jerk or a crank. Bill Cosby? Everyone loves Bill Cosby!

You want to see how this works in Hollywood? Watch the classic Betty Davis movie All About Eve. Read histories of the movie industry like Scandals of Classic Hollywood. Look at how many people, including the industry’s best and brightest, covered up for Harvey Weinstein, and a lot of guys nearly as bad. Note how many of his enablers got away with it — Hi Meryl! — thanks to their expert spin doctors and a media who needs them.

Want to see how it works in politics? Look at my recent congressman Tim Murphy. A pro-life hero‚ right up to the day the local newspaper revealed that he wanted his girlfriend to abort their child. He was, by the way, cheating on his wife. When the girlfriend called him on his hypocrisy in making pro-life statements, he wrote back, “I’ve never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced.” Turned out he was also notoriously abusive to his staff. But who knew? We thought he was one of the good guys. We could only see the image he and his people created.

Scripture Tells Us

Scripture teaches this, but we don’t really listen. As I said, no one wants to be a jerk or a crank. The Psalmist tells us, “Put not your trust in princes,” because they can’t be trusted. “Do not look on appearance or on stature,” or riches and public image, the Lord says in I Samuel. “Man looks on the outward appearance” and gets it wrong.

The famous passage in Isaiah we take as a prophecy of our Lord says He has “no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” We wouldn’t even recognize the Son of God, because He doesn’t look the way we expect a superstar or a superhero to look. He looked even less like that on the Cross.

Jesus saw the same thing. He said to the great and good of His day: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” That’s what He thought of the religious ruling class.

Don’t make heroes of the world’s heroes. Some will actually be heroes and some will be monsters like Bill Cosby. You won’t know which is which. The world is that good at telling lies. God’s people live as strangers in a strange land, resident aliens, people who are just passing through. On the way, like the Israelites, we must keep ourselves free of the local gods, the local heroes.

We have our own. The Lord Himself. And all the great saints who’ve gone before us, and all the saints we know.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Howard Rosenbaum

    Right. Humanity has an inherent need to worship. Lacking an awareness of Who it is that instilled this uniquely human characteristic w/in the “psyche” we wind up w/lots of “cheap substitutes”. Come on, Hollywood has capitalized on this inborn trait for years. So has Washington. The MSM are some of the most vocal proponents of what may be likened to idol worship by the “drooling masses”.
    “American Idol” while somewhat innocuous captured the essence of this truth & became virtually a media institution. Look, God sort of knew what He was doing when he got this Adam & Eve thing started . Do ya think ..? Their fall from grace as such, was largely an act of misplaced worship. They chose a false god . The god of self. They expected from that forbidden bite something only the One true God could demand – worship..!
    Well since that epic act of self indulgence, many “god’s” have come & gone. Yet that one True God remains faithful. Faithful to those who are not deceived into “worshipping false gods” . Hey, He’s faithful even to those who do . Therein lies the tragedy of that ” most admired father in America’ . That is the consequences which God warns those who will honor “false gods” rather than the “only Wise God” ….

    • Lisa

      Which brings to mind how junk food manufacturers capitalize on the inherent need for sweet fruits because they know people become addicted to the false substitutes.
      The challenge for us Christians is how to promote the sweetness of faith in God so more people have a shot at redemption, happiness, and joy.

  • faithful

    Thank you… I so appreciated your article.

  • Fyodor D

    An outstanding essay, Mr. Mills. As our world spins more furiously out of control, people of faith need to remain grounded in God, in order to withstand the tumult.

    (Mr. Mills, I came across your thoughtful essays in Aleteia about a year ago and have enjoyed them immensely. Thank you. Please write more…including books!)

  • michael

    I understand that totally because people are easily fooled by appearance and words.

  • Tim Pan

    If you have been given the gift of discernment you would not have been deceived.

    • Howard Rosenbaum

      Respectfully there is no gift of discernment. There is the discerning of spirits though.
      That gift is given as the Spirit wills.
      Believers do have both a scriptural & a spiritual imperative to be wise in this world. Those who have learned to distinguish that inner witness of Gods Spirit can avoid the pitfalls many both unbelievers & believers alike have stumbled upon from time to time .
      As for Dr Huxtable ? Well he is a funny fictional character. As for Mr Cosby, yesterday’s verdict was clearly no joke ….

      • Tim Pan

        Do you agree with the following exegesis ?

        “Spiritual Gift of Discernment

        The spiritual gift of discernment is also known as the gift of
        “discernment of spirits” or “distinguishing between spirits.” The Greek
        word for the gift of discernment is Diakrisis. The word
        describes being able to distinguish, discern, judge or appraise a
        person, statement, situation, or environment. In the New Testament it
        describes the ability to distinguish between spirits as in 1 Corinthians
        12:10, and to discern good and evil as in Hebrews 5:14.

        The Holy Spirit gives the gift of discernment to enable certain
        Christians to clearly recognize and distinguish between the influence of
        God, Satan, the world, and the flesh in a given situation. The church
        needs those with this gift to warn believers in times of danger or keep
        them from being led astray by false teaching.”

        See also I Corinthians 12:10, Acts 5:3-6; 16:16-18; 1 John 4:1.

        • Howard Rosenbaum

          The “exegesis” you present starts w/a a mistaken premise & an unscriptural one at that.
          It presumes that there is a “spiritual gift” of discernment. There is not such a “gift” referenced in “Holy writ”.
          The author of this commentary is confusing a God given ability that all believers have available to them 24/7. Many though through a lack of objective biblical teaching on the subject of our being led by the Spirit of God miss the mark in this crucial arena of faith.
          How many times has a believer stated after an unfortunate incident such as an accident or other avoidable situation that they “kind of had this sense that something wasn’t right” ?
          That was the inner witness which is trying to lead you in another direction. You know, that “sons of God are led by the Spirit of God” kind of thing. We would all do well to develop our sensitivity to that often “still small voice” .
          Were “discernment ” as this “theologian” suggests a gift of the Spirit , then believers would have to “hope & pray” that the HS will give it them. You can’t have faith for something that is not provided except as the HS wills.
          It would be something less than mercy & grace were believers to have to depend upon an arbitrary gifting in order to secure a necessary provision that God clearly knows all believers need . Often many times throughout a day.
          All believers must be able to distinguish what is God & what isn’t. Not just “certain” ones as that apologist claims . Anything else would be unjust & simply wrong. Does that sound like the kind of God we worship & seek to please ..?!
          The problem arises regarding certain passages of scripture due to a lack of spiritual reference points . Thank God for ethical practitioners in the medical profession. However as essential as their services may be , they are not what scripture references when it refers to gifts of healing for example. Besides the medical practices when Paul penned those words would hardly be considered “gifts” by todays standards of medical practice.
          We need to heed the scripture when by implication it implores us to ” compare spiritual things w/spiritual. The prior thought the Apostle penned warned against relying on “mans wisdom” …
          So no. Obviously I don’t agree w/the writer of the exegesis you offer. Seems to me that that writer doesn’t agree w/Pauls “exegesis on this subject matter . Apparently he has never “seen” into the realm of the spirit thru the agency of the HS’s providential gifting either. How else does one scripturally explain those seemingly infrequent sightings of angels or demons that have not gone unnoticed by recipients of that “spiritual gift” from time to time …?

        • Howard Rosenbaum

          The “exegesis” you present starts w/a a mistaken premise & an unscriptural one at that.

          It presumes that there is a “spiritual gift” of discernment. There is not such a “gift” referenced in “Holy writ”.

          The author of this commentary is confusing a God given ability that all believers have available to them 24/7. Many though through a lack of objective biblical teaching on the subject of our being led by the Spirit of God miss the mark in this crucial arena of faith.

          How many times has a believer stated after an unfortunate incident such as an accident or other avoidable situation that they “kind of had this sense that something wasn’t right” ?

          That was the inner witness which is trying to lead you in another direction. You know, that “sons of God are led by the Spirit of God” kind of thing. We would all do well to develop our sensitivity to that often “still small voice” .

          Were “discernment ” as this “theologian” suggests a gift of the Spirit , then believers would have to “hope & pray” that the HS will give it them. You can’t have faith for something that is not provided except as the HS wills.

          It would be something less than mercy & grace were believers to have to depend upon an arbitrary gifting in order to secure a necessary provision that God clearly knows all believers need . Often many times throughout a day.

          All believers must be able to distinguish what is God & what isn’t. Not just “certain” ones as that apologist claims . Anything else would be unjust & simply wrong. Does that sound like the kind of God we worship & seek to please ..?!

          The problem arises regarding certain passages of scripture due to a lack of spiritual reference points . Thank God for ethical practitioners in the medical profession. However as essential as their services may be , they are not what scripture references when it refers to gifts of healing for example. Besides the medical practices when Paul penned those words would hardly be considered “gifts” by todays standards of medical practice.

          We need to heed the scripture when by implication it implores us to ” compare spiritual things w/spiritual. The prior thought the Apostle penned warned against relying on “mans wisdom” …

          So no. Obviously I don’t agree w/the writer of the exegesis you offer. Seems to me that that writer doesn’t agree w/Pauls “exegesis on this subject matter . Apparently he has never “seen” into the realm of the spirit thru the agency of the HS’s providential gifting either. How else does one scripturally explain those seemingly infrequent sightings of angels or demons that have not gone unnoticed by recipients of that “spiritual gift” from time to time …?

        • Howard Rosenbaum

          So whats up this w/spam charge that has gotten this reply post removed..? Thrice. Nothing regarding Disqus or The Stream policies are being violated ! Mr Pan, I wouldn’t think that it is you who are protesting my reply. Am I wrong ..?

          The “exegesis” you present starts w/a a mistaken premise & an unscriptural one at that.

          It presumes that there is a “spiritual gift” of discernment. There is not such a “gift” referenced in “Holy writ”.

          The author of this commentary is confusing a God given ability that all believers have available to them 24/7. Many though through a lack of objective biblical teaching on the subject of our being led by the Spirit of God miss the mark in this crucial arena of faith.

          How many times has a believer stated after an unfortunate incident such as an accident or other avoidable situation that they “kind of had this sense that something wasn’t right” ?

          That was the inner witness which is trying to lead you in another direction. You know, that “sons of God are led by the Spirit of God” kind of thing. We would all do well to develop our sensitivity to that often “still small voice” .

          Were “discernment ” as this “theologian” suggests a gift of the Spirit , then believers would have to “hope & pray” that the HS will give it them. You can’t have faith for something that is not provided except as the HS wills.

          It would be something less than mercy & grace were believers to have to depend upon an arbitrary gifting in order to secure a necessary provision that God clearly knows all believers need . Often many times throughout a day.

          All believers must be able to distinguish what is God & what isn’t. Not just “certain” ones as that apologist claims . Anything else would be unjust & simply wrong. Does that sound like the kind of God we worship & seek to please ..?!

          The problem arises regarding certain passages of scripture due to a lack of spiritual reference points . Thank God for ethical practitioners in the medical profession. However as essential as their services may be , they are not what scripture references when it refers to gifts of healing for example. Besides the medical practices when Paul penned those words would hardly be considered “gifts” by todays standards of medical practice.

          We need to heed the scripture when by implication it implores us to ” compare spiritual things w/spiritual. The prior thought the Apostle penned warned against relying on “mans wisdom” …

          So no. Obviously I don’t agree w/the writer of the exegesis you offer. Seems to me that that writer doesn’t agree w/Pauls “exegesis on this subject matter . Apparently he has never “seen” into the realm of the spirit thru the agency of the HS’s providential gifting either. How else does one scripturally explain those seemingly infrequent sightings of angels or demons that have not gone unnoticed by recipients of that “spiritual gift” from time to time …?

          • Tim Pan

            You wrote: “Mr Pan, I wouldn’t think that it is you who are protesting my reply. Am I wrong ..?” Of course not I was looking forward to your response. Sir, please allow me a measure of time to thoughtfully respond to your post.

          • Howard Rosenbaum

            Thank you for your reply. As noted I didn’t suggest that that “spam notice” 3 x’s now was a result of your doing. Never had a post accused of being spam before. Though I’ve had a few on another site removed . It was a Christian site that interestingly attracts a lot of comments from left leaning & anti Trump types. A review of my comments demonstrates that while I’m not shy I am always respectful. That at least is my intention …

          • Tim Pan

            The following comment appears to be the root of our dispute. You wrote :”It presumes that there is a “spiritual gift” of discernment. There is not such a “gift” referenced in “Holy writ”. You further state “The author of this commentary is confusing a God given ability that all
            believers have available to them 24/7. Many though through a lack of
            objective biblical teaching on the subject
            of our being led by the Spirit of God miss the mark in this crucial
            arena of faith.”

            As you can plainly see in 1 Corinthians 12 v 4 that Holy writ contradicts your argument :

            “4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. ”

            The key idea is” …the spirit distributes them. ” Not the word of God as recorded in scripture , nor human intuition, but by the Holy Spirit. Therefore your position lacks foundation.

            Before I go on would you please comment?

          • Howard Rosenbaum

            Right. There is clearly a distinction between the spiritual manifestation of seeing beyond our physical senses into the unseen realm . That realm where demons , angels & any other being not perceived w/the natural senses reside. Thats the “gift” listed in the catalog of “spiritual manifestations” . This is much more than semantics. The consequences of applying natural descriptions to things spiritual are both costly & unscriptural.
            We all need discernment. We all need to rightly divide the things of God from the things common to man. We don’t all need to see into the realm where disembodied spiritual entities operate unless the HS chooses to open up our “spiritual eyes” to that w/which we have to do .
            Please reread my initial comments for further elaboration.
            It’s not my intention to correct anyone. Though it should be clear that that discernment referenced in that exegesis as such is not what Paul was writing about …

          • Tim Pan

            This is very complicated and I want to be sure I respond accurately so I will meditate and pray about his tonight and respond to you tomorrow.

          • Tim Pan

            I did not realize how contentious this issue was until I did some research. Let me preface my forth coming comments by stating I can only attest to the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. My life in the spirit is unique to me and only the Lord knows to what purpose I am used to edify the His Spiritual Body. Nevertheless, I can testify with a clear conscience that I see the invisible world , and I see how the invisible world affects the material world. Albeit the scope of that awareness is limited.

            I sense from reading your posts that you are influenced by the doctrine cessationism. I by experience am aligned with the doctrine of continual ism :” 3) Others, such as Luther, John Knox (leader of the reformation in
            Scotland), and Samuel Rutherford (a framer of the Westminster
            Confession), are continuationists, in that they
            affirmed the continuing function of miraculous spiritual gifts for the
            church in their doctrine and practice. ”

            I also understand that my place in the Spiritual body of Christ is in the brain. So when I write that I have the gift of discernment , I see peoples thoughts . This alludes to the Powers and principality doctrine. All human action is preceded by thought and all though is released and controlled by a spiritual principality . So as you can read I completely agree with the argument for an expansive understanding of the powers and reach of a Christian with the gift of spiritual discernment.

          • Howard Rosenbaum

            Cessationism …?!
            God forbid. Time does not permit me presently to address your reply, but I sincerely don’t know how you reacted that conclusion from what I wrote.
            Though I do respect that gave thought to your reply.
            Yet your thoughts are incorrect as concerns my position on this subject matter ….

          • Tim Pan

            I am sorry , but I thought about what you wrote and decided a statement of my beliefs was necessary. I also was conscious of other people who may have read our thread. To add further depth to what it means to be given the gift of discernment I will recount a vision I had years ago. In the vision I walked up to a odd looking home. The door was open and I felt compelled to enter. As soon as I stepped into the building I saw a water fall if sparkling water coming from a blue sky. ( Living waters) Then I was startled by a voice that said . I have been waiting for you come. I was led into a room that had a web of beams of light of different colors . The voice said these are the seminal thoughts of all humanity. It was amazing and when I looked into the beams I could see things moving in them. The living word term comes to mind. That was years ago but it was the foundation of my life in the spirit and my ability to see thoughts. God is not a God of confusion, and although I do not understand the root of this phenomenon I do understand what I understand. In closing all the spiritual gift given to the early church are still given today.

  • Martha Blokhuis

    We are often the absolute worst judge of character. This came out during the last election. The disparaging remarks bandied about re. President Trump were enough to make one cringe. Much like David and Bathsheba. It’s enough that God examines the heart. Seriously, would anyone consider Samson as being virtuous? If we examine our own life, the one that stares back at us from the mirror will present each with a full-time job. Only through the redeeming work of our Lord Jesus Christ can we ever be deemed virtuous and justified.

  • Billiamo

    When I was a high-school senior (1977), O.J. Simpson was named most admired American in a national poll of high-school students. How little we know.

  • hopechurch

    Why is it that only high profile well known people who get caught are paraded before camera – when those who do the same thing – if not worse – do not get caught, do not get put before cameras, do not get mentioned, do not get posts written about them, newspaper article written about them?

Inspiration
Is Santa Claus Our Projection of The Messiah?
Dudley Hall
More from The Stream
Connect with Us