March 26, 2004

Infighting Fierce, Stakes Small

WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED that a heated discussion has broken out over whether it is right for a practicing Christian to use mockery in castigating one's enemies. To be honest, we do not know what to make of this, but our initial thought is that everyone involved would be well served by going out for a good walk.

Now, this all started when Joshua Claybourn, an Indianapolis blogger, thought it funny that a certain dead terrorist bore a remarkable resemblence to Saruman. Yes, the bad wizard in the "Lord of the Rings" movies. Anyway, he then blogged about it. This prompted such ire that Mr Claybourn was moved to defend himself, and then other people jumped in, and now one can't read three lines of anything without being confronted with Holy Scripture. In short, it is the religious version of Kissinger's old dictum.

We are reminded of C. S. Lewis' remarks that one ought not argue with a fellow believer about such things, except in private, lest the discord between the two prove embarrassing for the faith. But since that principle has gone to hell in a handbasket, we may as well address a few points on the matter.

1. Christianity is not served by beating up on a graduate student for a parody.
2. Mockery has its purposes. In fact, it can be extraordinarily useful.
3. Getting openly bent out of shape about these things is unseemly.

That's pretty much all we have to say on the whole affair. However, we do note that one of Mr Claybourn's opponents, the Rev Mike Murdock, has argued that because he has followed Christ since before Mr Claybourn shuffled on this mortal coil, his argument matters more.

Sadly, Rev Murdock seems unaware that for American young people, this automatic respect generally only holds for those born before about 1930, because they beat the Nazis. Well, that, and they're responsible for the prosperity of the post-war period.

But we digress. Our point is merely that no matter one's age, one is going to have to justify one's argument accordingly, if one expects it to be taken seriously. We offer no apology for this view, either; it is merely one of the lessons which we young folk have learned from our parents' generation, and learned very well.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at March 26, 2004 06:32 PM | TrackBack