Cliches are usually truths that occur just frequently enough that we tire of hearing them, right? Same with stereotypes, which, as unPC as it is to say, are also rooted in reality.
Here are some popular cliches that vex my spirit. Some appear on bumperstickers, others just sort of float around the cultural ether:
"And eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
Sorry, Bapu, but this ain't so. The lex talionis, while having been re-framed and superseded by Jesus, is scriptural and did the wooly world of ancient Israel a lot of good in the order-keeping and self-defense departments. By this reasoning, no one should have taken up arms against Hitler or any other unjust aggressor. To his credit, Gandhi was at least consistent in calling for Jews to use passive non-violent resistance with the Nazis. (I personally think the Nazis would have found that hilarious.)
"God has not called me to be successful; he has called me to be faithful."
- Bl. Mother Teresa
I know, I know this is taboo territory. First, I completely agree with the original context of this saying of Mother Teresa's. She meant that we should leave the final results of our efforts to God and not be too concerned with ego-driven "success" -- the whole "be a pencil in God's hand" thing, which is true and profound. But...this slogan has been taken to mean excusing poor performance and being satisfied with mediocrity ("Oh well, God calls me to be faithful, not successful!" Sorry, but in a legitimate sense God does call us to be successful, at least insofar as we're called to strive for excellence, precision, good project planning, etc. I don't think success, per se, is some worldly thing to be feared, as long as we know Who is in charge. How can a blase attitude toward low standards be pleasing to our Lord, or do us any good?
"I'm spiritual, not religious."
- Every lapsed Christian in history
I'm sure you've heard this one a zillion times. Not only is it a completely false dichotomy, it gives the flattering impression that the speaker is somehow superior. Ironic, that. Religion, so says this cliche, is rigid, spirituality (never defined) is flexible; religion is narrow, spirituality is broad-minded; religion judges, spirituality accepts; religion is machismo, spirituality is the true feminine; religion is backward represents limit, spirituality is progressive and represents openness. I can't take it! I always imagine that the deity worshiped by the Spiritual People is a non-threatening, all-nice Nerf Force in the sky who looks like this man:
Which cliches do you love to loathe, and why?