I am guilty of caricatures. I apologize.
Caricatures are fun. Often funny. We laugh at them. They make people look…well…pretty stupid sometimes. A caricature wants to simplify, to exaggerate. A caricature wants to deceive. But what is behind a caricature? A real person. A person that is much more complex than any caricature can lead us to believe.
When we turn people into caricatures, we are dehumanizing them. We are claiming to be able to sum up a person based on one aspect of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, life, ideology or theology. As stumbling followers of Christ, we cannot create caricatures anymore. Just as we cannot/should not create caricatures of a God who is absolutely complex [i.e. not creating boxes to try and squeeze God into], we cannot create caricatures of a complex humanity.
I’ve just realized that often, it seems that the best [aka easiest] way to make a point is to caricaturize [is that a word?] someone and/or their beliefs. It’s pretty easy to make someone look [or sound] really stupid. I am not saying that we need to stop being critical when it’s warranted, or share our opinions and help challenge people and make them think. We need that. People need to be challenged. Christians who are perfectly content living in their ‘safe Christian subcultures’ need to be provoked. Christians who live by a ‘The Bible says it, I believe it, That’s it’ motto need to be provoked. This doesn’t mean we give up on challenging people.
However, I think we (I) just need to be careful about caricatures.