Few things cause my blood to boil as much as “Christians” who misrepresent the Name they bear, and it seems the place where this is most prevalent is on the World Wide Web. Alas, something that should be an effective medium for spreading the Gospel of Christ in a respectable way has become a means for inviting more ridicule and rejection for the Christian community at large.
Christian Trolls, as I like to call them, are those people who jump into an online conversation—usually in a string of Facebook comments, or in the discussion section of a blog article, etc.—drop a few Scriptures, which are usually badly taken out of context, and turn on their heels as soon as someone tries to question their motive and message; or, even worse, the holier-than-thou “Christian” becomes impatient and angered, stomping their monstrous “I’m right, you’re wrong!” troll feet in a digital temper tantrum, making an even bigger mule out of themselves.
I can’t count the amount of times I’ve apologized to people for the ridiculous and malicious behavior of those who claim the name of Christ but live and act opposite to what Christ actually lived and taught. In fact, the description of the Christian Troll sounds akin to those who Jesus directly rebuked and rejected during His days on earth—that’s right, the Pharisees.
The Pharisees—and other religious leaders—of 2,000 years ago loved to preach and dictate to the people what they should and shouldn’t do, and if ever someone disagreed with them—confronting their preferential ideologies that traded relationship with God for religious activity—they became irate, and even violent. When Stephen, a loving and faithful servant of God, confronted them, they “gnashed their teeth,” “covered their ears,” “yelled at the top of their voices,” and in a blind rage, “rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him” (Acts 7:54; 57-58a). Do we really want to be like those guys? God forbid.
Whenever we enter a discussion on the internet, especially about Scriptural matters, we should at least have the decency to engage in an actual conversation, being as open-minded as possible—without compromising our own convictions—instead of just spouting our own opinions, or a couple Scriptures out of context, and then running away, or worse: becoming an angry troll, stomping everyone else underfoot.
Could you really see yourself joining a conversation in person that way—just stepping in long enough to drop your two cents and immediately tucking tail and running away, or raising your voice and yelling at people because they don’t agree with you? That’s not exactly the way to have a mature, intellectual conversation. And although that may not matter so much to you—“I’m not the intellectual type,” you may say—keep in mind that if you are a professing Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ, bearing his name is no fickle matter.
Let us then handle our affairs, both on the World Wide Web, and in personal, everyday life, with the utmost respect for God’s name, and other people, whom He loves. Is that not, after all, the crux of Christianity: love? The Bible does say that without it, we are just making senseless noise (1 Cor 13.1).
Nobody likes a troll, most of all, the “Christian” variety.