I want to shine the spotlight on a social trend I see running rampant in our culture today: opposing someone of a different perspective by using mockery, ridicule, name-calling, unflattering photos, out-of-context quotes, and unfair characterizations. These are ad hominem attacks, which are directed against a person rather than the positions they hold. I see it everywhere, especially on social media. And I think it’s leading our society down a dangerous path.
This strategy of “besting” our opponents by mocking their personhood seems like such an immature, “elementary school” tactic. The thing that made The Three Stooges so hilarious was the way that their slapstick pie-in-the-face methods of correcting one another were so obviously foolish and pointless. But now we’ve adopted these same tactics as a matter of course. Continuing on this track may soon make The Three Stooges seem like documentaries of modern culture.
Certainly we all hold divergent views about politics, morality, religion, and how the world should be run. These are important issues, which need to be discussed and debated and understood. But complex issues — such as these are — do not have simplistic answers. Though it may make us feel superior to laugh at our opponents, we will not solve the problems of the world by mud-slinging. Is this not bullying on an adult level? We need to hear each other, respect one another, and listen with open ears and open hearts to fully explore all sides of the issues.
In the end, how tragically ironic would it be if we won battles of politics and morality and religion by sacrificing human dignity in the process?
“How long, foolish ones, will you love ignorance? How long will you mockers enjoy mocking and you fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:22)