While I haven't yet made my way to Twitter I've seen enough hatred when I visit Christian philosophy videos on YouTube or some of my favourite blogs. It's not just the comment button either. Some websites (such as creationist ones – creation.com and answersingenesis.org) don't allow for commenting but they still get emails sent to them with all sorts of creative language and ill-founded assertions. And yet in an act of good sportsmanship they still bother responding to letters of people that can't be bothered researching the facts first.
I've learned my own personal lesson with this, with my own Facebook 'friend'-turned-bully who would attack every Christian post I made claiming that Christians (and especially creationists) were stupid and uneducated. The fact that we used to frequently spend time together should have told her that I was neither, but she clearly never thought of that as she was too busy trying to discredit me in front of others before I blocked her.
A Freedom Undeserved
It's 'free speech' which has allowed for the majority of the residents in free nations to assume that no matter how hate-filled, ignorant or moronic, that their opinions will be wanted or appreciated. I've always felt 'free speech' is a privilege not a right. For all the evils of the lack of free speech in China at least it (mostly) keeps people in check. Mainland China, if you don't already know, monitors the Internet something fierce. The only social networking sites allowed are the ones that report information to the all-powerful party heads.
But our freedom has given us trolls who think they can hide behind the words 'free speech' while they are completely undeserving of such a privilege. What's even worse is that these bullies of the neXt generation (and my own sadly) are reveling in their own stupidity. Most troll comments and letters hurling insults are from people that have poor grammar and spelling.
A World Where Fools Reign
In this world we're living in fools are applauded. It's not even amusing the comments that people make thinking themselves highly intelligent in their arrogance. Most consider themselves to be some sort of experts in science or logic or philosophy when in reality they know very little on the subjects. It's amazing how many feign technical knowledge they don't have and confuse terms.
Many defend their own views on the basis of 'reason' when in fact they don't understand the metaphysics of reason and misrepresent it (especially those that have bought into the lie that 'reason' opposes 'faith'). There are wonderful people out there sharing their talents with the world on YouTube only to get ad hominems flung in their faces, insults and in extreme cases death threats. On forums if someone runs out of things to say they start comparing their sparring partners to Hitler. But what can you say to that brilliant piece of rebuttal but: "Ooh, good one. You got me there."
Abuse reigns instead of argument. Arrogance instead of good sense. A lot of Internet drivel could be cleared up just by some research. Anytime I used to be on forums, users would argue in circles instead of looking up their failed arguments that they felt the need to spout again and again. It's time wasting and not worthy of the Christians effort – since when has it been commonplace to suffer fools?
Is Escape The Only Option?
My mum asked me the other night (in her ignorance about what the Bible says of being a light in the world) if I'd like to be Amish and given all this it's a tempting proposition. I'm not anti-technology by any means but escaping the stupidity of the present world and how people on the Internet treat each other would be wonderful.
Bullying sucks. Idiots that claim to understand 'science' and yet cannot put their thoughts in coherent sentences reign the Internet (call me a Spelling Nazi or whatever you like, but if you don't know the difference between 'Ã§ite' and 'site' don't pretend to be a biology expert, honestly). Though it's hard to go without the Internet in this day and age unless you're Amish, we probably all need a break. Fight the good fight where it matters – disable that dreaded comment button on your blogs, don't bother using it on any other site (that's site not cite you Internet trolls) and stop suffering the fools, the trolls and the baiters.
Bridget Brenton has spent seven years in China and currently lives on the Gold Coast with her husband Steven. Over the last decade she has been studying all things philosophy, apologetics and the supernatural and now is endeavoring to put that knowledge into ministry. She writes a blog on the paranormal and it's relation to practical Christianity.
Bridget Brenton's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/bridget-brenton.html