I'd be excited to see the outcome, save for the fact that A) I don't know who D.A. Carson is.
And -- oh yeah -- B) I don't know who Scot McKnight is, either. But that's beside the point. I am, theologically-speaking, a "doofus".
Point is, McKnight, who seems like a cool guy, thinks satire merely turns people against each other. To his credit, he doesn't like it employed against Carson, who's probably also a cool guy, with whom he disagrees strongly on whatever it is they talk about. And that's laudable, I think.
But is satire wrong?
McKnight says, mostly, yes, it is. We have a brief exchange in the comments, and I recommend reading them to appreciate what he has to say without my summarizing.
Satire employs humor to expose folly. It can be horribly mean-spirited, it can be utterly dehumanizing, or it can be used against that which is not, actually, folly at all. These are all very bad things, of course, but they are all very bad things that can also be done with scripture-quoting.
I say intent, as always, is the key. I can employ bible verses to selfish and hurtful ends, I can be utterly non-ironic to selfish ends, and I can even use honesty -- surely a good thing, right? -- to selfish ends. There's nothing particularly wicked about satire.
All humor is simply this: Incompatible frames of reference, overlapped. In this respect, there's nothing stunningly different about the ironic. As I've mentioned before, little kids will laugh when you show them a dog, and say, "Meow! Meow!" They're little ironists. We laugh at incompatibility.
Fact is, satire sticks out -- and stings -- because it's so dang powerful. And it's tough to handle, too, like electricity: You can bring life with it, and light up a hospital.
Or you can stick a fork in a socket.
Satire is not easy to write (well, anyway) but -- forgive us -- some of us will fairly ooze it. There's a difference between a way of seeing things, born of pain, and just-plain-bitterness. If you don't "get" well-developed irony, or if you're not a great painter, for that matter: Maybe count your blessings. And maybe thank your stable parents.
For some of us, overlapping incompatibility was life. Still, I agree: Viewing the world with only an ironic lens is a bad idea. And milk becomes a poison when we drink too much. But they're parts of life, and not altogether disdainful ones.
As I mentioned on McKnight's blog (linked to by Bill Kinnon, who rules -- that's how I found it) I think satire, when well done, is a beautiful thing. It requires a bit of a deft, and self-effacing, touch. Then, it can be not only redemptive, but economical, by golly.
You can read volumes about moral relativism. Or spend 30 seconds with the Simpsons:
In one episode, the City of Springfield hosts a "Do What You Feel Festival" downtown to celebrate being loosed from moral bounds. The bacchanal seems quite wonderful, until we notice the ferris wheel has separated from its base, and starts rolling down the street, children passengers screaming.
A kid sees a lunching maintenance man, and plaintively asks him why he didn't attach the safety bolt, which is sitting on the grass next to him. Why? Why?
"Well...I didn't feel like it."
Succinct, funny, and pretty dang worthwhile.