A Washington Post writer once said that evangelicals are "poor, ignorant and easy to command." Well, at least he didn't say we were mentally ill.
Until now, that is. On a recent segment of "The View," Joy Behar took aim at Mike Pence's belief that God speaks to him. Responding to a comment by another host, Behar said, "It's one thing to talk to Jesus. It's another when Jesus talks to you. That's a mental illness if I'm not correct. Hearing voices."
That's a sign of how ignorant elites truly are about beliefs and practices common to something like 2 billion Christians.
I actually find it surprising that Behar, who claims to be Catholic, hasn't found time in her 75 years to learn a little more about prayer.
Behar's comment outraged Americans from coast to coast. Twenty-five thousand people let ABC know what we thought of a network that allows an employee to sneer at the way other people practice their faith.
The next day, Behar responded to her critics with a sarcastic clarification, saying, "I don't think Mike Pence is mentally ill even though he says he is hearing voices."
Wow. That's some apology.
I'd like to propose a solution. I invite Joy Behar to spend some time looking into what Christians mean when they say they hear God's voice.
She might start with the writings of J. Warner Wallace, a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center. In a piece posted by Fox News, Wallace notes that when Christians say, "God spoke to me," they don't "necessarily mean that God spoke audibly." Christians, he explains, "believe the Bible is the 'Word of God,' and by reading it, [we] gain access to the mind of God."
He points to 2nd Timothy, which notes that Holy Scripture is "God-breathed," and Hebrews 4, which says "the word of God is living and active." Reading these verses, one could see how Christians might legitimately say, "God spoke to me," Wallace explains.
Second, God can use wise and mature advisers to teach us about God's will — people who have invested long years reading and meditating over Scripture. Wallace writes that a believer who says God spoke to her "may simply mean that one of God's children provided them with biblical wisdom."
Third, God may speak to us through difficult experiences. As C.S. Lewis writes in "The Problem of Pain," "God whispers to us in our pleasures but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
Fourth, God may indeed speak audibly to his followers. Many people have written about hearing God's voice in a crisis. And in my own case, God spoke to me through an amazing, mind-blowing dream.
Bible-reading Christians know this. Open your Bible, and you'll find all kinds of examples of each of the ways God speaks to his people — audibly, through prophets and through the written word.
Finally, it's worth reminding our media that, if Mike Pence is crazy for believing he hears God's voice, then so are George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — all of whom said they listened for the still, small voice of God.
I really do hope Joy Behar will give it a try.
From BreakPoint, Feb. 27, 2018; reprinted by permission of the Colson Center, www.breakpoint.org.