KNOXVILLE, TN – Angry, embarrassed Christians who’ve uncritically read satirical articles and then shared them as non-fiction truth with others are lashing out at satire itself in lieu of dealing with the obvious discernment issues brought to light by their uncritical embrace of the articles in question.
As new Christian satire sites like The Babylon Bee and The End Times continue to gain traction and pump a steady stream of Christian worldview-based satire into social media, thereby hoping to positively impact a long-neglected area of the culture, many Christians have found themselves thoughtlessly absorbing and regurgitating the satirical articles in question as though they were actual, non-fiction truth. Upon realizing the mistake, some have seized the opportunity to recognize and repent of the laziness and lack of discernment that caused them to accept and then share fiction as fact. Others, however, have chosen to target the satirical articles themselves as inherently evil and are calling for their complete and total abolition.
“It just makes Christians and therefore Christianity itself look really stupid when we’re duped into sharing this stuff as truth,” railed Charles Littleton via Facebook post made in response to someone who pointed out that the Man Self-Identifying As Napoleon Immediately Put In Charge Of French Army article he’d shared as though it were actually true was, in fact, satirical, and that there was not actually a man who actually claimed to be Napoleon and was then actually put in charge of the actual French army. “So Christians shouldn’t be writing these sorts of fake stories since they only end up making Christianity look dumb when tons of Christians inevitably assume that they are literally true and share them as though they’re true. Since so many Christians are obviously incapable of recognizing, much less rightly handling satire, we obviously need to call for the total abolition of satire.”
But many within the growing pro-Christian satire movement disagree and see satire as a powerful tool by which important truths can be approached, considered, and conveyed from angles less accessible through other literary forms and devices.
“Core attributes of satire are found in Scripture and satire has a deep, rich record of profitable use and positive impact throughout much of church history, particularly during the time of the Reformation,” noted 43-year-old Reformed Baptist church elder Brad Eldridge in a recent post made at the increasingly popular Reformed Pub Facebook forum. “The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, and even ridicule to expose and criticize anti-Christian worldviews is anything but inherently evil. It’s a very legitimate tool modeled in Scripture and church history.”
“The fact that the world may have so terribly corrupted and perverted that tool doesn’t make the tool itself evil or something to avoid. To the contrary, it highlights the need for the Gospel and the importance of the Great Commission being applied to every area of life – including humor and satire – so that, as 2 Corinthians 10:5 makes plain, every thought – including every humorous or satirical thought – might be taken captive to Christ and thereby used in a God-glorifying manner that is beneficial to His people.”
“But we sure can’t take every humorous or satirical thought captive to Christ by running away from satire and abandoning it to the enemy, which is the approach that’s led us to the cultural trainwreck that we’re living in now. In order for Christians to actually pursue the everything-toching, comprehensive Gospel and Great Commission, we have to engage every realm of creation and every area of life.”
“That includes satire.”
“And if we’re honest, the main reason most people get angry about satire is that they end up uncritically assuming some satirical article or post to be literal truth and then go on to share it with others as though it were true. They don’t have the discernment to notice the giant red flags that are usually waving over the satirical bit, they don’t take the 30 seconds needed to Google some central claim or point made in the article to confirm its veracity, and they don’t refrain from sharing the article before doing any of these most basic forms of corroboration.”
“Then they share the article and feel foolish when someone points out – possibly after doing their own 30 second Google search – that the article is satirical and not the rock solid truth that the uncritical sharer had believed and advertised it to be. So they feel stung. They feel embarrassed. Their ego is bruised.”
“And who can’t relate to being in that situation? I know I’ve been there more than I care to admit.”
“But satire isn’t the problem.”
“Lack of discernment and a laziness when it comes to verifying sensational claims are the problems., and the fact that these problems are so often brought to light through Christian satire is just another example of the value of Christian satire.”
“We have to stop coddling our own laziness and enabling poor discernment in ourselves and others. We have to start taking responsibility for what we believe and share as truth. We have to ‘test all things’ before rocketing them all over the Internet by way of our Facebook and Twitter feeds.”
“Our response to these embarrassing moments shouldn’t be to coddle the poor discernment and lazy approach to corroboration so common with Christians today by seeking to stamp out Christian satire.”
“Our response should be to repent of and correct the poor discernment and lazy approach to corroborating information that has been brought to light through Christian satire.”
You can also get a detailed look into what we’re doing and why we’re doing it by reading Mocking The Prophets Of Baal: The Beauty And Power Of Christian Satire (And Why So Many People Hate It) over at FireBreathingChristian.com.