by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
Way back yonder in my school days, kids would get together based on hate. They didn't really understand hate, but they were upset with someone and disliked him or her. Then they'd recruit others to join them in their persecution efforts. You see that kind of thing today with the advent of the Internet, which became a useful tool for cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is a crime (not that people care about the law until they're actually captured). In some cases, cyberstalking and vicious bullying have driven people to suicide — and worse, such as in the case where it led to the deaths of three people.
While it's fine to fellowship with people who agree with you on things (Christians are exhorted to do so throughout the New Testament, for example), recruiting people to join in a witch hunt is petty, childish, and harmful. Part of that is based on an inner need for acceptance and to feel important (some people want to save the world from the "evils" of biblical creation but do not have a consistent moral foundation for good and evil, for example). I reckon some people never grow up, and go on a kind of witch hunt against "the enemy".
Unfortunately, Christians do the same nonsense.
|The Witch Hunt, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1888|
I'm going to start with one of my latest experiences of being the hunted witch. No, not from childish atheopaths, but from a professing Christian. Tiny Matt was angry because I posted a link refuting the lies and bad scholarship claiming that Easter has pagan origins. Because of this, he "unliked" The Question Evolution Project and told us off. Apparently, he deleted his comments, but I have some from my e-mail notifications and assembled a screenshot:
|Used under "Fair Use" for educational purposes. Besides, it's in my e-mail.|
EDIT: I was able to locate his witch hunt post where he was being a "good Christian" by telling falsehoods:
|Used under "Fair Use" for educational purposes.|
Chris Rosebrough endured his own witch hunt. Tullian Tchividjian is a disgraced preacher, and Chris wanted to get more information and urged people to slow down on the matter. Because Pastor Rosebrough refused to join in the persecution of Tchividjian, he received his own harassment from people who could not be bothered to actually learn the facts, or even give a Christian a fair hearing. You can learn more at "A Statement RE: Tullian & the New Allegations" as well as audio at "What Constitutes a Witch Hunt?"
Dr. James White had his own harassment. He wrote a post about a black kid flipping off a police officer, speculated about the times in which we live, and the kid's upbringing. The resulting firestorm said that that Dr. White is a racist, and people were repeating the allegations without checking the facts and White's public history. He later wrote a detailed article on this, and dealt with a libeler. What was interesting to me was that he echoed some of what I have been saying about anti-creationists who view things through their Darwin spectacles (presuppositions). Dr. White talked about how people use their "lenses" to view the world, and often have to interpret events based on ethnicity and culture. See the long but important article, "Gospel Lenses and the Search for Allies (Updated with Full Response)". Also, he responded in an earlier "Dividing Line" episode (free to watch or download the audio") at "Ethnic Gnosticism and the Gospel".
My experiences being the hunt-ee are insignificant in comparison to those of Pastor Rosebrough and Dr. White, as I have not been attacked by anyone of consequence or had large-scale harassment that needed much of my attention. But those two had to take significant amounts of time in the instances above, and at other times, to spend time making clarifications. (And no, although my remarks about cyberstalking being a crime and having caused the deaths of people, White and Rosebrough are not going to be driven to suicide. But some people are setting themselves up for criminal prosecution and also litigation.) Brethren, these things should not be!
This witch hunt mentality is one reason I sometimes despair of calling myself a Christian, since too many Christians are seeking self-importance instead of the truth. Some of us emphasize critical thinking and checking facts instead of spreading sensationalistic material and libeling others. Ministers end up having to waste precious time defending themselves over false allegations when they want to be about the business of proclaiming the truth. Come on, Christians! To be blunt, this kind of behavior is expected from children, atheists, and cultists. You're being fools. Although we all sin, some need to do some serious thinking, repenting — and growing up.