What did the Roman Satirist say about Deception?

The Roman Satirist, Petronius (first century AD) said this about why deception thrives:

Mundus vult decipi; ergo decipiatur*

Also in the first century, Paul the Apostle addressed the same issue in his letter to the church at Thessalonica in II Thessalonians 2:9-12.

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Those who want to deceive will always be found by those willing to be deceived.  And those willing to be deceived will always be found by those who want to deceive.

It’s a little frightening and highly consequential, but it’s not confusing.  Notice Paul’s clarification about the identity of the deceived: they are self-selected.  They have chosen to disbelieve the truth and they have done so for a very good reason: they like unrighteousness and because they sense that truth will interfere with their enjoyment of unrighteousness, they choose unbelief.  That is logical and it is highly consequential.

Here is the translation of what Petronius said:

*”The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived.”


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