Mockery is destructive.
It does not befit us to mock others. Mockery is the refuge of the weak, the refuge of cowards, those who don't understand the substance of what they denigrate.
Mockery is the way an idiot lashes out at another person. It is a learned attitude. The child does not mock. The child approaches everything with wonder, with curiousity, with the desire to learn, approaches life through the imagination.
Mockery is an illogical, cruel answer to curiousity. It is irreverent, it mocks you for asking the question.
Everything can be learned or taught in a respectful way. Sacred texts especially- whether it be the Torah, the Qu'ran/ Koran or the New Testament, there is value and benefit to be found in it. And it can be learned respectfully.
There is nothing that infuriates me more than when bright young students are taught to mock in answer to ideas or texts they don't understand. This applies to Orthodox Jews being taught to mock other religions; it also applies to college students who are taught biblical criticism in an irreverant manner. I sat in on a brilliant class at the University of Chicago taught by a renowned professor and I was disappointed- not by the material, which focused on source criticism, but by the fact that he was teaching his students to mock sacred texts when the betting is that the majority of them had never even read through the full Bible. But they were misled by their intellectualism into assuming that since this man believed in mockery and laughing, they too ought to act this way.
There is nothing sadder than the death of the mind. This can occur in many different ways and different forums. I hate brainwashing; I hate someone imposing their own ideas upon the fresh young minds of others. But I think I hate mockery more. Mockery kills ideas. It laughs at ideas, traditions, questions- it is not kind to anyone. It is antithetical to curiousity. The curious person who is mocked for asking questions grows red in the face and will perhaps learn not to question aloud again.
Reverence and respect only leads to further learning, alternatively. One can respectfully understand that different sources in the Bible don't match up, that source criticism makes valid points; one may respectfully learn about ideas and opinions different from theirs. I can learn anything so long as it is given over with a clear respect and/ or reverence for the material. If the teacher mocks the ideas of others, it is clear the teacher is not secure in his/her own knowledge.
Kiruv organizations that mock the beliefs of others are destined to failure. Students and scholars who only know how to mock and tear down others rather than build up and create are, as well. The only way to truly learn anything is to understand it, and in order to understand anything, one must be willing to accept the viewpoint and mindset of the other. One must be willing to treat the subject with respect. And after one understands it, then one may hate it or disagree with it or differ from it, but one may not mock.
I cannot respect people who mock others. It disturbs me when I encounter people who know nothing but how to mock. I can't imagine them being intellectually happy and fulfilled. It is one of the things that truly depresses me. Because we could be great- but we won't allow it.
Idiots and fools, this is who we become. The mockers. Leitzanim.
It disgusts me.