Mocking Christians

Recently I read an article on the internet about Alton Brown, who just so happens to be my favorite Food Network personality (bring back Good Eats!).  In the article he talks about his experiences in the world of television and towards the end of the article he is asked about his Christian faith.

After sharing the post on Facebook, a brother pastor pointed out that the first two responses to the article in the comments section that followed it were as follows.

Alton Brown, i hope you have a quick recovery from your mental illness and get back to being the amazing cook and host you are.
and
 I'm a grown up and don't believe in fairy tales and I'll never watch God Eats the same way again. I would think that a healthy relationship to food and growing and planting and weeding and sowing would move you away from the fairy tale, but I guess not.
 Ah yes, the mocking of Christianity.

This has become very popular these days. Throughout the 20th century Christians in the United States rarely faced much of this out and out mockery of their faith, but these days it is commonplace.

For example, the same sex marriage movement has led to Christians being called ignorant, hateful, and despicable on television talk shows, opinion pieces, and even on sports radio.

With the recent Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate, those who believe in a six day creation have been the object of derision, especially from people like Bill Maher, but again I heard similar mockery on television and even (again) sports radio.

Mockery can lead Christians to become disheartened, quiet, and even lead some to compromise their beliefs in order to avoid being the object of ridicule.

But it's important to note that the mockery of Christians and the Christian faith is hardly a new thing.  Early Christians were often the objects of ridicule.

For instance...

The image above is of a crucifixion.  The one being crucified has the head of a donkey and the caption reads something like, "Alexamenos worships [his] God."  This was an early piece of graffiti in Rome and a clear sign that early Christians were mocked for the worship of a God who was crucified. 

Later, Christians were ridiculed for their belief's concerning the Lord's Supper.  Perhaps because of a legitimate misunderstanding or maybe as a way to try to discredit Christianity, rumors were spread that Christians were cannibals.

I could go on, but I think that the point is clear.  Christianity and Christians have both been mocked in the past and will be in the future.

So, as Christians, how do we respond?

1. Be informed.  It isn't good enough to say "You should ask my pastor about that," though there will certainly be times when that is necessary.  It is far better when Christians are well informed and prepared to speak the truth in love.  This is one of the reasons that Lutheran schools are so important, especially considering the likelihood that such mockery will become more common in the coming years.  Parents at home also need to have conversation with their children about the faith because it demonstrates that the parent actually knows and cares about their faith and that the parent wants his or her children to know and care about the faith as well.

2.  Respond in love, not in anger.  Anger with those who mock you and your beliefs will only encourage more mockery.  But when we respond with kindness towards, doors are opened and conversations can take place.

3. Prepare your children.  They will face a lot more of this than we have.  They need to know God's Word and how to apply it. This is another reason that Lutheran schools are so important and a reminder of how important it is for parents to be active in talking about the faith and teaching it at home.

4. Encourage one another, gain encouragement from one another, and consistently be in the Word.  Satan will use mockery to beat you down and try to pry you away from Christ.  You need the support of other Christians, they need your support, and we all need the certainty of God's powerful Word. 

5. Pray. Pray for yourself, that you can remains strong in the faith.  Pray for your pastor and other church leaders, that they remain strong.  Pray for your children.  Pray for those receiving more than mockery, as Christians all over the world are facing real persecution.  Pray for those who mock you.

Oh, and remember that Christianity has always been foolishness to the world.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
(1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

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