It has been quite the week for Facebook propaganda and debates! Not a day has passed where I haven’t seen some major “opinion war” take place on the feed, and the thing is that it’s been horrifying!
Personally, I don’t mind people posting their opinions and having discussions. What I’m not ok with are the results that I’ve been seeing.
There are three trends that I have observed in terms of posting thoughts, opinions, and beliefs on Facebook that I believe need to be addressed and dealt with.
1) One-Sided Discussions – While many have had very interesting observations and made fantastical claims concerning cultural issues, the ability to engage with others has been lacking at best. I have been particularly saddened by many of the Christian friends I have on Facebook as they have appeared to be most guilty of this.
For example, a guy I’ve known for many years made an observation and posted it for everyone to read. It wasn’t long before someone stated that they didn’t have the same conclusion but also made it clear they didn’t want to argue it, stating that that was the beauty of bearing the rights to have opinions and to disagree.
He retorted by suggesting that the person would be better off remaining silent about their disagreement and stated: “just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean I want to hear it.” An ironic and hypocritical statement considering that his opinion being imposed upon others was the reason the comment existed at all.
I’ve seen this a lot this week. I’ve watched as multiple people have posted on Facebook and then attacked anyone who disagreed with them. Everything from telling them to be silent, that they didn’t matter, and/or name calling, etc. This narcissistic, defensive approach to the world is catastrophic and hinders us.
If one is not willing to have their thoughts or conclusions challenged, it is best to not post them on the world wide web. It’s one thing to push back against hostility, but taking jabs and shutting people down just because you have varying opinions is unproductive.With every post I put online I expect to push back. In fact, by publishing my words I am inviting others to communication with me. It would be wrong for me to do otherwise. I would be foolish to think that I have all the answers or that I have completely accurate conclusions on everything.
Those who are unwilling to at least entertain the idea that they might be wrong or are lacking information discredit their own words and rob themselves of intellectual validity. Ultimately, this arrogance needs to stop.
2) Abuse and Manipulation of Scripture– Spiritual abuse and manipulation have overloaded the web as multiple individuals use scripture to justify their stance on a subject.
Just the other day I read an article that was trying to present the “10 Biblical Reasons” to support Trump’s Jerusalem move. The first point stated that “Jerusalem is referenced hundreds of times in the Bible”. While this is true, it is not an argument for Trump’s decision to be biblical in nature. It is a fact that only confirms that Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible, nothing more and nothing less.
Rome is also referenced a significant number of times, but I don’t think we will be moving the embassy from Jerusalem to Rome. At least not anytime soon.
I’m not saying that there isn’t a Biblical basis for Trump’s decision. I’m merely stating that I have yet to be presented with any. Instead, I’m finding all the arguments to be similar to that above. It’s about the same as saying there is Biblical support for genocide because the word “killed” is referenced a lot in the Old Testament.
3) Emotional Not Logical. – Along the same lines as what I mentioned above, I’ve noticed that many comments and posts have been written out of a place of emotion and are often illogical. One would wonder if the person even read their comment before responding. They basically state “I’m right and by disagreeing, with me you are attacking my flawless conclusions. Now, here are my feelings which are more important than your thoughts.”
I myself have entered conversations, only to discover that they had already concluded that their words were superior to everyone else and didn’t require logic or explanation. Ultimately, my opinion didn’t warrant the other individuals time and energy to think about what I had said. They just pushed back with whatever words came to mind, making it very clear that they didn’t understand what I said, nor were they going to do anything other than defend their perspective, whether logical or not.
Tip: If a comment becomes attacking towards someone in the conversation, it’s best to walk away. The debate has ended and hostility and ignorance have taken over.
As a society, we need to relearn how to engage with each other in meaningful, productive ways. If we post something, we are inviting response, whether it’s agreement or challenging. If you cannot allow your thoughts to be contested or engage in discussion, then it’s time to examine yourself and ask why you are posting in the first place.