Thoughts from a (girl) Gamer

Tara Voelker's thoughts. A lot about video games, a little about life

Is it okay to mock Christians?

by Tara

Today while browsing through the Escapist Magazine  Off Topic discussion forums, I ran into a topic named “is it okay to mock christians?” Intrigued by that title, I investigated. The first post was by a user named masakoz and stated the following:

“you make a jewsih joke your called a nazi. you make a black joke your a kk member. your make a buddist joke your heartless. you make fun of christians your patted on the back and gets a”thats a good one buddy i totaly agree” wait what. what my point here is it just me or is it ok to mock christians now a days really i mean alot of people do this and even have youtube channels devoted to this an hell even a person said right to my face it was ok to do it becouse they “deserve it”.ive seen alot of ppl develope a kind of nazi like behavior about christians and its starting to disturb me how long is it before something like a holocoust happens for the chirstians”

As I read through the responses, I saw a lot of different opinions. There was everything from “It’s okay to mock everything,” ” It isn’t okay to mock anything,” “Christians are the majority so of course they are going to be mocked,”  “You’re completely overreacting,” and “Christians probably deserve it.”

I have my own view on the subject, and so I decided to publish my link to the thread here.

“I have read through most of the posts and this thread and I have decided the following:
Anything or anyone is open to be criticized, and if the critique comes in the form of mockery, so be it.If someone walks into a restaurant and hates the food, they can say so. Maybe they want to have a light air about it… maybe they want to say “That food was so fatty I can feel my arteries clogging as I speak.” They have mocked the food and no one cares, because it isn’t malicious.

When Rod Blagojevich was indicted I’m sure there was someone thinking, “Boy, I hope he planned on using the money for selling that Senate seat to get a hair cut.” Blagojevich has been mocked, but no one is getting riled up because it was never meant to cause true harm.

As I said, everything is opening to criticism and religion isn’t and shouldn’t be an exception. If people poke fun at religion, it should be shrugged off and not thought of a second time.

I would also like to point out that there is a difference between mockery that is seen on say the Daily Show and the Colbert Report and hateful, malicious slander. The second, is not something that should be tolerated.”

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4 responses to “Is it okay to mock Christians?

  1. Quentin April 22, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    While the quote from Escapist is riddled with grammatical errors, I agree on the point he’s trying to make, which is that Christians shouldn’t be mocked. I say trying, because he actually doesn’t make any point in there, he’s just assuming we know what he’s talking about, which is just bad writing.

    Now, while I an no longer a Christian (now a De facto atheist), I don’t agree with your view on it, Tara. I’m not saying religion as a whole should not be criticized, but I don’t think it should be mocked either. While the Daily Show and the Colbert Report will mock religion in a less harmful way, I personally think they go about it all wrong.

    The reason religion is mocked is because you either don’t understand it, or you won’t accept it. The problem is that most people don’t properly educate themselves as to why religion as a whole is mortally flawed. No, Wikipedia does not count. Check out the book The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins for starters. Where you go from there is up to you.

    Most “atheists” listen to what people around them say about religion, and just adopt that view, and coincidentally they are the ones more likely to mock religion. It’s the people who actually study it. They try to make sense of religion, knowing that they cannot, but they try to answer the questions. Instead of mocking a christian, instead they will approach them and ask questions. They will challenge the christians view, and maybe argue it (highly likely), but that isn’t mockery. While neither of them will leave thinking the other was right, it was the correct way to go about it.

    Mockery on a level such as this is in fact both unproductive, and destructive. If you want to criticize religion, have facts to back it up, and be able fully explain them, otherwise it’s nothing more than biased opinion.

    • ladieaupair April 22, 2009 at 11:29 pm

      Thanks very much for your comment. I still hold true in my original thought though. It’s okay to poke fun, in a light hearted manner. I would also like to add that it can be used constructively…

      Now I will say, I am one who has mocked religion. I’m pretty sure last Christmas I sent a text to Amanda that said “Happy Pagan Holiday that was converted into the birthday of Jesus so it would be an easier transition for early Christians day” or something along those lines.

      You said that religion is mocked because you either don’t understand it, or you won’t accept it. I would like to say that I do understand it, and I don’t accept it. I had been raised in a Baptist church by my mother. When I reached junior high I started asking questions. I researched a lot of my own and learned not only this history of my local church, but the founding of Christianity itself. I didn’t like a lot of what I heard, and then I liked even less when I became interested in biochemistry which I later went to study at U of I. I learned that I was never going to be a woman of faith, but would always be a woman of science and left the church.

      And it’s funny that you recommend the God Delusion, because I actually linked a Richard Dawkins lecture about his book on the recommendations page. I know Dawkins’s works, and praise him often. I also feel like it’s a horrible idea to say that you shouldn’t mock religion and than say read The God Delusion. Have you read the start of the second chapter? As I quote:

      The God Delusion, Chapter 2- The God Hypothesis

      “The god of the old testament is the most unpleasant character in all of fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, blood thirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

      And yes, Dawkins did mean it in a humors manner. He says it in the preface to the paper back edition, as I qoute:

      (Referencing the beginning of Chapter 2) “It is not for me to say whether I succeeded, but my intention was closer to robust but humorous broadside than shrill polemic. In public readings of The God Delusion this is the one passage that is guaranteed to get a good-natured laugh, which is why my wife and I invariably use it as the warm-up act to break the ice with a new audience.”

      You said that mockery couldn’t be used constructively, but Dawkins effectively uses it to prove points and call attention to key points in his book.

  2. The Prepared Groom April 23, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    i think we’re using the terms “mock” and “satirize” interchangeably here in some spots, and i wouldn’t mind see that clarified. so now i’m doing that 🙂

    to mock is to deride something: to treat with ridicule. a lot of people use “mock” as “make fun of” nowadays, but that really isn’t what it means, so much as it means to vocally show disdain for. it doesn’t have to be funny, just contemptuous.

    (i’m having a hard time deciding what order i want my thoughts in and i have to leave in like 5 minutes, so we’ll see if this is cohesive by the end of it)

    There are plenty of things in common culture that i think will satirize things without necessarily mocking them, and i think that’s where this conversation has a tendency to go wonky. Religious conservatives have a tendency (in my experience) to react to satire (or even outright mocking) directed at *any of their beliefs* to be mocking of the *entire religion itself.* i think this is a natural thing to do, but is a whole gigantic straw man argument, and not even a little valid.

    when talking about the daily show or colbert report (to pull an example from this discussion), i can’t think of a time i’ve seen them where they came out and mocked religion (i could quite easily be wrong. I just can’t think of a time). they have satirized aspects of plenty of different religions, but that doesn’t equal religion mocking.

    as for my feelings on the debate itself, mocking is very rarely ever constructive. by definition, contempt means you believe that your belief is better not just from a subjective sense of what is right for you, but in an objective sense that your belief is superior to theirs, which is just ignorance. i think a good, informed satire is completely fine.

    i guess to sum it up, the way i see it is satire furthers discussion, while mocking dismisses it. really, i don’t think “right” and “wrong” even have to enter the picture, as outright mocking serves to undermine your credibility and, by extension, the point you’re trying to make.

    on Dawkins, i’ve never actually cared for him. ive seen him interviewed several times, and every time i feel he strays too far into the “mocking” category. As a fairly vocal agnostic with atheist leanings, it pisses me off when someone comes out and makes the statements like the one tara quoted above, because it hurts all of us trying to have a reasonable debate.

    just like taking your clothes off to get readership (see what i did there?), the spectacle of the attention-getting statement ends up drowning out the message you were trying to convey in the first place..

    • ladieaupair April 23, 2009 at 2:01 pm

      Alright, I do think that a lot of this has stemmed from everyone using a different definition of mock. That’s my bad. Although mock can mean to attack to treat with reticule, it’s not what I have been meaning. When I have been saying mock I have been using more of the “to mimic/to challenge/ to defy/to tease” definition. I hope with the clarification my statements make more sense.

      Also on the note of I never said the Colbert Report or Daily Show did or did not mock religion (I don’t know if they have or haven’t), merely that their type of humor was the kind I was referencing as being okay.

      Lastly, I know how you feel about Dawkins and it saddens me. I guess our different views on him stem from I first became a fan of Dawkins by watching his lectures, in which he makes amazing arguments for Atheism. I saw him in interviews later, but by that time I was already such a huge fan that I doubt anything would have changed my mine. You saw the interviews first, where he does seem to be more confrontational. I highly recommend you watch this Youtube play list. This is the Dawkins that I know.

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