Mockery is easy, particularly when presented ideas are so clearly farcical. There exists so many examples of religious absurdity, from declarations of the end of the world to seeing Jesus on a piece of toast, that poking fun and snorting with laughter has become a past-time akin to baseball for some. Unfortunately for the practice of mockery, it offers little help for any form of engagement to result in an increased understanding. Perhaps expanded understanding isn’t the goal and, forgetting the silliness of their own childhood beliefs, the simplistic humor of mockery serves as a protestation of distance, each joke a declaration that “I am not like him.”
Recently having watched the movie “Fury,” a scene plays out when one soldier asks another why the Germans haven’t given up as they are so clearly beaten. The other soldier looks at the questioner and asks: “Would you?” Whether it’s nationalistic pride or ideological allegiance, there’s a level of safety being sought in both, an identification with something bigger than one’s self. In issues of meaning and purpose, this identification can take on a great deal of weight, scrambling to hold onto it even as the mental fingernails scrape and break over the gravel of reality. So it is with Divine action, there exists a social confluence of potential mockery and abject devotion to a belief.
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