Do you know anybody who believes in a flat earth? Do you know anybody who knows somebody that believes in a flat earth? If you are anything like me, your answers to these questions are no and not to my knowledge. The number of people that believe in a flat earth can be counted on one hand. Why are Flat Earthers mocked so much when they exist only as a benign and irrelevant movement? The answer is somewhat troubling.
The flat earth movement is considered by many people to be derived from an ultra literal understanding of Scripture. The implication is that the more conservative one's understanding of Scripture is, the more wacky it becomes. Extrapolating this point to its logical conclusion, it then follows that the more liberal one's interpretation of the Bible is, the more realistic one's understanding becomes.
Now, a liberal understanding of Scripture views the majority of the Bible as being merely symbolic. It took more than 6 days to create the universe, the world could not be flooded by water, the plagues in Egypt had to be some sort of an allegory, and the resurrection of Jesus does not need to be viewed as a literal and bodily resurrection. The Bible does not become more realistic, it becomes less relevant when turned into a book of allegories. This is exactly what the mockers of the flat earth movement are trying to accomplish by pretending that flat earthers make up a significant portion of the community of faith.
Recently, a famous political commentator stated that he no longer gives credit to the sum of the American people as being smart. To the contrary, it has become more and more evident that we live in a culture where people do not want to debate ideas. The indoctrination process in this country has become so powerful that what children are taught in institutions of learning becomes Gospel truth until the day they die. Intellectual debate has been replaced by labels, like bigot or denier, that render all things spoken by the other person to be irrelevant. How does this relate to the label of a Flat Earther?
You do not have to be a Flat Earther in order to be deemed a Flat Earther. All it takes to end up with a Flat Earther label is to believe that the Bible is inerrant, infallible, and the eternal Word of God which never changes. To those who understand the Bible through a more liberal interpretation, believing in the permanence of God's Word is far too extreme to take seriously. Although the Bible never expresses that the earth is flat, in any way, liberals use the label as a tool to render any literal understanding of the Bible as pure foolishness.
As a Young Earth Creationist, this is particularly troubling to me because I know that my stances are not based on a rejection of proven science. Flat Earthers deny what satellite photos clearly teach about the earth's shape. Flat Earthers deny that mankind has landed on the moon (and they have convinced many non-flat earthers that the moon landing was a staged performance). In contrast, Young Earth Creationists do not deny the speed of light, radioactive decay rates, or the existence of the geological column; they simply choose to interpret the information differently based on alternative possibilities. Creationists choose to interpret the evidence through the lens of God's Word rather than interpreting God's Word through the lens of popular science. It is getting more and more difficult to engage people in conversations over these topics because Young Earth Creationists are often assumed to be Flat Earthers by people who know little about Creationists' true convictions.
For those who mock Flat Earthers regularly, their mocking is not really against Flat Earthers; Flat Earthers barely exist. In many cases, they are inadvertently mocking people who believe in the Bible as God's revelation to mankind. You do not need to be a Young Earth Creationist to be mislabeled as a Flat Earther, you need only say that you believe the Word of God for what it says. In so doing, you acknowledge that you believe in absolute truth, and that makes many people uncomfortable.