Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dogmatic Bullies

You cannot swing a dead cat without hitting a dogmatic bully these days. They love to hang out in cyberspace, but you still find them roaming free in the real world every once in a great while.

I am talking about the big kids of the playground who think they have this Christian stuff all figured out. They come from all kinds of denominations and confessions. They know just enough of the Bible to be dangerous. These sophomores* like to pick on younger or weaker Christians all the time. They are quick to point out perceived errors and flaws. They love to make whole hosts of fellow Christians the subject of ridicule. They do not try to educate, but prefer to defeat their theological enemies using rhetoric like a weapon to wound and crush those who are weaker in the faith.

This is not the way of any Christian.

I don't know if they do this because they enjoy the experience of Schadenfreude or if it is just plain pride, but they are so quick to jump on doctrinal issues when they are the biggest kid in the fight. It is clearly about winning and not about the truth with these bullies.

...because when a bigger kid comes around with a better grasp on Scripture, they shut up. They usually do not even defend their previous points. Most of the time, they just sulk, listen, and try to get away as quickly as possible. They certainly do not bring doctrinal issues up to the big kids. These guys hate a challenge.

Case in point: I get really hacked off when a bunch of bullies gather around and slam one guy who is at least partially correct but cannot properly defend his belief. They smell him coming a mile away. Dogmatic bullies love a sucker. When it is online, you see tons of gleeful responses that make the poor guy the subject of sarcasm and derision. You can see them shoving him all over the playground; not to teach him, but to poke fun at his powerlessness. The replies to this lone voice always come within minutes and are filled with patronizing self-righteousness and gleeful disrespect. It is always accompanied with the criticism that the guy does not know the Bible very well. They are glad to pick on an easy target.

If someone posts in the guy's defense with heavy doses of Scripture, historical quotes, and proper exegesis, the replies stop. When someone can properly present a point and defend it with clearly presented evidence, it is not fun anymore. When a bully is proven to be on weaker ground, he scampers off to look for easier prey. These lions of the faith are revealed to be little more than common jackals. They are more like mice than theologians. With them, it is not about the truth; it is about being right and being respected for being right.

I have always had nothing but contempt for bullies.... cowards.

*A sophomore is a person who is just smart enough to be arrogantly dangerous [sophos meaning wise and moros meaning dull = a smart-idiot]. I wish I had had that little piece of trivia when I was a freshman in High School.

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