To be a serious Christian in modern Western culture is to be the favored easy target of every progressive thinker and every half-witted comedian. It is to have your sensibilities and your deepest beliefs on perpetual call for taunts, mockery and desecration. At a time when all progressives preach full volume for inclusivity and sensitivity, for the utmost care in speech when speaking of others with differing views or hues, Christians, as Christians, are under a constant hail of abuse and disregard. There is nothing too low or too vulgar.
Many Christians have chosen actions contrary to love. Others have communicated a false doctrine or blindly espoused a weak faith. A few have even promoted evil in the name of Jesus. All of these actions deserve rebuke. Yet even when Christianity is properly displayed, intelligently communicated, and genuinely lived, it still can be fairly criticized. No one is forced to believe in God or the message of Jesus. Anyone is allowed to disagree and to fairly communicate their belief.
However, in many instances a fair critique has been exchanged for a petty mockery. Instead of debating the best, confronting the true teachings of the faith, and pointing out a different way to live, critics have failed to understand the Christian viewpoint, intentionally denied its strong points, and highlighted the worst among us.
There is a common characteristic with those who mock Christianity. Political critics are the loudest; they’re everywhere. It is also easy for secularists to mock Christianity on Facebook but its hard to take their mockery seriously when all I see them do is mock and never serve. They are not in jails trying to help those who have made bad choices. They’re not working among the poor trying to feed, clothe, or house those who are without. Where is the skeptic in helping those with addictions?
Yes, Christians have made major mistakes. Yes, many claim to do things in the name of Jesus that have nothing to do with Jesus. But many other Christians are doing amazing things to help the poor, the hurting, and those in need.
The mockery of Christianity, and not just the ridicule of individual Christians, has even won the sanction of the courts. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which will sanction everything weird and contentious, ruled in 2011 that “hostility to religion” is OK, after a 16-year-old Mormon boy sued his teacher for ridiculing him for his beliefs, saying there was no more evidence of the works of God than “there is a giant spaghetti monster living behind the moon.”
ABC News’ Joy Behar, co-host of “The View,” came under fire several years ago for saying Vice President Mike Pence had a “mental illness” because he listened to Jesus. According to Dan Gainor of Media Research Center “liberals think it’s OK to make fun of Christians as long as it’s ‘conservative’ Christians,” but they typically backpedal when called out on it. “They turn around and claim it was a joke, as Joy Behar did. They think ‘liberal’ Christians like Oprah who believes there are more ways to get to heaven than through Christ, is what religion should be. Sin isn’t bad, they argue. Believing in sin is.”
Such contempt is not only in America. In Britain, the BBC commissioned a study to ask why Christians had become the butt of so many “fashionable” jokes. Ann Widdecombe, a novelist, and one time Tory member of Parliament, claimed that the BBC asked her to look at why mockery of Christians had become so prevalent “and to try to explain to a secular world why it mattered so much to Christians.”
According to Widdecomb, television producers in England, as is evident by the fare offered, feign respect for Islam and avoid laughing or poking fun at their prophet while making Christianity the bunt of jokes. She had to get special permission to watch one such program that the BBC executives, believing it went to far, had locked in their vaults. The program consisted of two “skeptics” who “yakked” it up about the body and blood Christ and then proceeded to put chutney on a Communion wafer ordering two bottles of wine to go with it.
“Stand-up comics tend to also make two assumptions,” Miss Widdecombe concluded, “that Christians have no sense of humor and that all their audiences are unbelievers. The first [assumption] is so ignorant as to need no answer but the second explains the trend towards thinking that even the most sacrilegious mockery can be fun. Such comics work on the principle that only stupid people believe in God and that their audiences are too intelligent to do so and will therefore share any joke directed at any aspect of religion.”
Once a taboo in America, aggressive atheism has slipped poison into the mainstream and become a fashionable potion in the salons of the elite.
Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens have made millions – well, a lot of thousands, anyway – with books espousing the joys and consolations of their faith in, by definition, nothing. This is evidence that a black hole may be better than no hole at all.
There is even a chaplain for atheists at Harvard, though it’s not clear what an atheist could want from a minister -“Please help me, Padre, I’m afraid I’m coming to believe in God.” Since atheists want to borrow customs and rituals from the religious, we can expect they’ll soon organize themselves to endow colleges and hospitals and contribute millions to the lame and the poor.
The late Christopher Hitchens, a fine and friendly fellow when he stepped down from his soapbox, said religion, though not necessarily believers in religion, “should be treated with ridicule, hatred and contempt.” In the weeks he lay dying he seemed haunted by a fear that at the end he would reach for the consolations of faith, and warned everyone that if anyone heard that he had had a deathbed conversion not to believe it. Curious, and ineffably sad.
Christ told his disciples to expect the scorn of the world and be not dismayed by it, that theirs is the kingdom of heaven. But it’s hard to remember Christ’s counsel, to forgive and pray for those who revile the faith and speak the name of Jesus Christ only as an oath. Christians could remember the story of the blacksmith and a visitor who watched as the smithy pounded hammer and iron against his anvil.
“My, my,” said the visitor. “You must wear out a lot of anvils.” “No,” the smithy replied. “My great-grandfather used this very anvil. But I do wear out a lot of hammers.”
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Galatians 6;7