[Originally published as Dictionaries for Darwinese]
There are some words that have a great deal of similarity, and some people use them interchangeably. I have made mistakes with them a few times myself. One problem is that they can overlap. Atheists and other anti-creationists use ridicule and mockery quite freely when attacking creationists, and these serve no constructive purpose, but let’s focus on the others.
Briefly, we’ll look at sarcasm and satire and leave parody out of this except to say that sometimes parody is used just for fun as well as being satirical.
“Did someone explain those to you with small words so you could understand them, Cowboy Bob?”
Well, yes — hey!
The sarcastic question there is tinged with ridicule. Sarcasm can use a form of irony, such as when an angry child says, “Oh, that’s so mature of you!” Some folks advocate avoiding sarcasm altogether because it can easily become hurtful. However, the Bible has many instances (such as 1 Kings 18:27, and I’ll let you look up Jesus and Paul your own selves).
Satire is related to the others but is usually used in a more lighthearted way to illustrate problems and folly with politicians, false religious teachers, expose evil, and a host of other things. This, too, utilizes irony. The Bible has satire as well, such as when Isaiah describes idolaters in Isaiah 44:17–14 or Jesus in Matthew 7:5. A famous Christian site called the Babylon Bee is dedicated to satire on political, Christian, global warming extremists, and daily life. Regular readers of this site have undoubtedly noticed the satire and sarcasm here, and sometimes it is very blunt.
Sarcasm and satire are often useful when being provocative and getting someone’s attention. Some people cannot take a joke that is used to point out their double standards and dreadful reasoning, so when they become as cuddly as a burlap bag full of rattlesnakes, you know there’s no reasoning with them. Other people, however, may learn from the situation.
I’ve had religious people say, in effect, “You used sarcasm (or satire) with that angry atheist. Now he’ll reject Christ forever and go to hell, and it’s all your fault!” Last I knew, people went to hell because they were sinners, and we’re all responsible for our own choices. That said, it is still important to be careful so we do not construct stumbling blocks while at the same time not allowing bullies and trolls to dictate our actions.
Satire is often used with humor and is not intended to be caustic. It can still be used to get someone’s attention and hopefully to prompt them to think. My post, “Learning to Understand Darwinese,” has both sarcasm and satire, as do the articles linked therein. As a kind of follow-up, I have two more items for you.
First, Creation Ministries International has “The Darwin Dictionary — Your Guide to Your guide to things evolutionists say” to illustrate the difference between what evolutionists say and reality. Second, you may want to browse the Darwin Dictionary by David Coppedge at Creation-Evolution Headlines. He has coined some words and phrases that he uses for sarcasm and parody in his own articles.