Slander is murder with words.
It can lead to the social death of the person who is slandered, which is exactly what its perpetrators are trying to accomplish.
I am not talking about venting to your best friend or your spouse about your dreadnought of a boss. I don’t mean idle chit-chat gossip that intends no harm. I also am not referring to slander as an actionable legal term. I am referring to the deliberate, malicious use of lies — or even truths — to degrade and destroy the reputation of another person with the intent to isolate, punish and hurt them.
That is slander, and it is a mortal sin. You can go to hell for it.
Running a blog opens up the temptation to slander for profit for those who are so inclined. The power to publish any thought that crosses your nasty little mind with the knowledge that it will be read by literally tens of thousands of people is inebriating to a certain kind of person.
Add to that the fact that blogs become a kind of virtual family with regular commenters who form online relationships with the blogger and with one another, and you have a ready-made set-up for hashing and bashing other people around the internet campfire.
I think that slander, at its base, is a form of sick narcissism. Certain kinds of people think that everything that happens is about them. If someone refuses to play one of their games, they see that as an attack on their overweening sense of entitlement. That’s why some people become enraged when they can’t comment on a blog. Their narcissistic sense of entitlement sees whatever they want to do as a “right,” and anyone who tells them “no” is “the enemy” who must be punished and destroyed.
When one of these types has their own blog, they have a ready-made platform for using slander to punish and defame those who dare cross them. The only payback is that they are endangering their immortal souls by committing a grave sin against another person. That, and they become a public jerk.
Slander is murder with words. It can — and it has — wounded and isolated people so deeply that the pain forced them to withdraw from interacting with others. That is probably one of the reasons malicious slanderers engage in their craft. Not only do they get the dark pleasure of acting out their viciousness, but they can silence the person they are attacking and scare others who might come to their defense into silence along with them.
When this happens, it’s called bullying. But I think that word is too mild for it. It is deliberate cruelty, and it is intended as such.
The fact that this sort of bullying is so often directed at women by men surely has a sadistic sexual component in it. I’m not well enough versed in psychology to define it. What I do know is that I have seen this over and again in my life as a female public figure.
The internet is a place where people can act out their worst verbal impulses with absolute evil abandon. Rapists post photos of their rape victims. Everyone everywhere seems to get into the game of shaming young girls by labeling them sluts and whores and such. Politicians and advocates for such things as pro choice, atheism and gay marriage have a heyday slander-shaming people who disagree with them.
The interesting thing is that slander is a knife with no handle. It is murder with words, and it does wound the person who is slandered. But it cuts the the slanderer himself even more deeply. There is no explanation which justifies deliberate slander of another person. It is mean and cruel to the core. It also begs the question of whatever reasoning drives the anger behind it.
Once you enter into slander as a means of punishing those who disagree with you, or who you simply do not like, you have tossed in the towel on your own position.
Slander is an admission that you don’t have anything else worthwhile to say. It is a clear indication of both your personal emotional bankruptcy and the paucity of whatever arguments you are advancing.
You might as well say to the person you are slandering “You are right. I am wrong. So here’s a fistful of mud in your face to change the subject.”
These are the reasons why I delete name-calling and vicious attacks on anyone, including public figures, from this blog. This is a Christian blog. I want it to teach and empower Christians to follow Christ in the world.
If I allowed those things, I would be destroying my own purpose.
I would also be committing the sin of slander by default myself.
Because, you see, slander takes two. It takes a slanderer, and a willing listener. In fact to be really damaging, it takes a chain of slanderers who eagerly repeat and embellish the first slanders. If no one listens to slander and no one repeats it, slander dies and the damage it does is nullified.
Unfortunately, what happens in real life is that groups of people get into slander parties. You see it acted out on the internet in a graphic fashion. They join in with the original slanderer trading additional slanders, trying to top one another in the insults they heap on the object of their derision.
There is a word for this: Sin.
In fact there is a phrase for it: Mortal sin.
As I said earlier, you can go to hell for deliberate slander.
You also cancel out your Christian witness. If you are deliberately degrading and destroying the reputation of another person for vengeance, gain, or simply because you enjoy doing it, you are not following Christ.
You either follow Christ, or you engage in slander. You cannot do both.
Slander is murder with words. It can lead to the social death of its victim.
It can also lead to the eternal death of its perpetrators.