While perusing some of my Christian links, I read this on a blog for women:

Once again, Christianity’s been portrayed as laughable. Most Christians will get an earful of jokes, pokes, and even some outright insults in our lives. When this happens, should we laugh it off, express our hurt, or get angry?

There’s a big difference between jabs at Christians, and insults about God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. Such statements are unacceptable: This is where we need to draw the line and diplomatically express our anger. It’s a matter of standing up for our God. We need to correct any lies or misconceptions about God’s character, and warn the offending friend that the most high God won’t tolerate those insults forever. Any actions we take—such as disconnecting from the friendship if the insults toward God continue—are done so that we’re not associated with the blasphemy.

Two commenters replied saying,

I think Christians that don’t have a thick skin are best served by developing one now because from what I experience, the insults are only growing against the Christian and of course people that don’t believe or respect the faith are going to be blasphemous. It is not and should not be excusable. I mean most people wouldn’t let anyone insult their mom or dad so why should they take insults to God and Jesus Christ (God made flesh).

Gods laughs at His enemies in the Psalms and holds them in derision. Let people laugh, it won’t be much longer. But meanwhile, I do think we need to take a very careful look at ourselves to make sure there is not something to the jobs we might receive.

[source]

Do you think there is a division between insulting or making fun of a Christian who believes in certain things or acts a certian way and making cracks at God or Jesus? Is one “sacred” while the other is not? The author seems to think different responses are called for if someone speaks negatively about God.

@Rationalists asked this on twitter: “why is it non-PC to ridicule such mindless irrationality in the 21st Century?”

Where do you draw the line between pointing out the ridiculous, irrational, amusing aspects of religion and being polite, keeping your opinions to yourself, and allowing for a difference in opinion? Should we be more kind, or does humor play a part in skeptical, rational thinking today? Can it make a positive difference, or will it just inspire more dislike for atheists?

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16 thoughts on “Ridicule vs. Politeness”

Joel · July 4, 2009 at 11:44 pm

On the fourth of July, it seems appropriate to quote Thomas Jefferson:

"Ridicule is he only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions."

    Joel · July 4, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Can't type today. Obviously I meant

    "Ridicule is the only weapon."

      godlessgirl · July 5, 2009 at 1:56 am

      And that is the perfect quote! The problem is that they do not see it as unintelligible.

Buffy · July 5, 2009 at 4:41 am

God is allegedly omnipotent. Why does he constantly need puny humans o defend him?

Buffy · July 5, 2009 at 4:41 am

God is allegedly omnipotent. Why does he constantly need puny humans to defend him and his honor?

    godlessgirl · July 5, 2009 at 5:16 am

    God is a damsel in distress now, eh?

    Actually, I can empathize with the writer who said this. If a family member of mine were insulted, I'd do my best to defend them even if they could take care of themselves. It's love. And Christians do believe they have a loving relationship with the Big Dude.

    That granted, I still agree with you 😉

      Buffy · July 5, 2009 at 10:07 pm

      I can empathize with the impulse to defend a loved one, including a "god". However the ones who do so while adding "you'll find out when you meet him–he's going to show you" are the truly amusing ones. If god is going to whup our backsides good, and these people relish that fact, why can't they just be satisfied with that and resist the impulse to harass us in his name here on Earth? I guess it's just more of the human condition….

Rambling_Man · July 5, 2009 at 5:31 am

New Thoughts Going In My Head

For me its not a matter of one side being more sacred over another. The simple fact that the god concept cannot be proven or disprove, what is really the point to ridicule? I've been guilty of it many times myself but heck, when I was a believer I was guilty of making fun of atheists. So until one side can actually make a positive assertion that stands against all criticism, making fun of religion is exactly the same as making fun of disbelief. If one is making a claim that cannot be proven, it would go to think that both claims could maybe be irrational.

The Atheist wants to say a belief in god is irrational since it can't be proven but yet, many themselves admit that you cannot positively prove that god doesn't exist, so I would ask, if that is the case, how is that anymore rational than the religious person making their claims? Sure we don't go and make claims that defy the laws of the universe and that if it would be the case, it would have no other option but to be a "super"natural event, yet I don't know if one side is more rational than the other since either side cannot be proven either way.

So the ridiculing just seems pointless. I say live and let live.

    godlessgirl · July 5, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    It seems you've come to a contented, peaceful place since deconverting, RM. I admire that!

      Rambling_Man · July 6, 2009 at 3:46 am

      I think I have. I have things on my mind as of late. Not really about like atheism, Christianity, religion, the many, many god concepts, science or anything like that. Just more subjective stuff for myself that I thought was once answered but I am not so sure about the answer, and I don't know why I am sure, and I don't know the question to the answer I ask myself. So that's something I am working out. Besides that, I am at a content, peaceful place since deconverting. Its the right of free people to believe in things they can't prove, just as it my free-right to disbelieve and not be able to positively prove my disbelief. Life goes on regardless.

      Rambling_Man · July 6, 2009 at 3:50 am

      I think I have. I have things on my mind as of late. Not really about like atheism, Christianity, religion, the many, many god concepts, science or anything like that. Just more subjective stuff for myself that I thought was once answered but I am not so sure about the answer, and I don't know why I am not sure, and I don't know why the answer to the question I ask myself as a constant "checks and balances" I just don't know if I am convinced of that answer. So that's something I am working out.

      Besides that, I am at a content, peaceful place since deconverting. Its the right of free people to believe in things they can't prove, just as it my free-right to disbelieve and not be able to positively prove my disbelief. Life goes on regardless.

AnonyMouse · July 5, 2009 at 5:59 pm

I don't think that one should ridicule Christians, their God, or Jesus unless there is a good reason, but I do believe that there are times when there is a good reason to do so.

Specifically, I wouldn't make fun of them just for the sake of making fun of them. Sure, it'd be fun, but it wouldn't achieve anything for either side. But if I want to point out a flaw – either in the Christians or their beloved deities – I will ridicule away. If an aspect of their belief system is so absurd that it induces lolz, there is no point in trying to disguise it.

Rooker · July 5, 2009 at 10:54 pm

That is just bizarre. I've always said we should point out how ridiculous religious beliefs are but not insult the people who believe in it. I would just point out the logical problems in their religion.

In nearly all cases, their brainwashing is not their fault and it makes no sense to make fun of them. Insulting people just pisses them off and they're not going to listen to anything else you say, no matter how right you are. You'd have a hard time convincing them the sun was out at high noon.

And here we have one saying she'd be more insulted if you mocked her beliefs than she would if you insulted her personally. I guess that's just one more example of how irrational believers can be. Try to be polite and reasonable and it just pisses them off. That programming they get sure does run deep.

Michael · July 18, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Only if you're witty. I make fun of christians all the time and they of me. The thing that pisses me off isn't people making jokes but making ones that simply aren't funny.

Michael · July 18, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Only if you're witty. I make fun of christians all the time and they of me. The thing that pisses me off isn't people making jokes but making ones that simply aren't funny.

S. A. Barton · February 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm

One problem with the original blogger’s remarks is that there are quite a few Christians out there who take the simple statement, “I do not believe in god” or even “I am not Christian” as a direct insult to Christianity and its god.

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