Why the Ashley Madison scandal isn't really a big deal.
You must be living under a rock if you haven't heard of the recent scandal involving Ashley Madison, but just in case, here's a brief run down.
Ashley Madison is a Canadian-based internet dating and social networking website, specifically marketed to married couples or those in committed relationships.
Recently, an internet hacktivist group by the name of 'The Impact Team' hacked into Ashley Madison's database and threatened to release all the details of the people who have subscriptions with the site, unless the site was pulled down.
Ashley Madison refused and so within two weeks all details including names, addresses, credit card numbers and even sexual fantasies were released onto the internet, free for anyone to search and find out who had been using the service.
As you guess, the fallout has been quite large and embarrassing for someâresignations have even been tendered over the revelations.
There have been many responses to the scandal, varying from 'It serves them right!' to 'We are all human, these people just got found out'. But at the end of the day, is this latest scandal really the big deal it's being made out to be? Or is it the outplaying of a far bigger, far uglier system?
The tip of the iceberg
Often life seems to hum along, day to day things take place from the kids going to school, chores around the house, visiting friends/family on the weekend, work, and the occasional holiday.
But have we stopped to think, how has our way of life come about, and do we really see the consequences to the lives we choose to live?
Recently in class we have been learning about the sociology of youth and what makes up the world in which we live. What has been really interesting and disturbing is learning about the systems in place that facilitate the lifestyle we live.
In short, western society is a consumer driven, money oriented and capitalist system. The way in which we make the world go around is through putting systems in place to make money. The central cog to the gears is money, and the force that pushes it along is the desire for more or better.
For example, the reason for education is to get better jobs, to make more money, to buy more things, to make us happy. The reason for our security forces is to protect our physical and human resource assets, which are our means of making money.
So with this in mind, the Ashley Madison website is simply another entrepreneur out to make a buck in a money hungry system. It's simply the tiny little blip on the radar of a much bigger sick and messed up system.
What can we do in a broken system?
Please don't hear me saying that I would necessarily advocate for a different system than we have, or that some systems are better than others. If we read history, we can easily see that all systems have their own unique flaws.
What do I think is a big deal though? Jesus calling us to be his followers and workers in the Kingdom of God. As we know, it's only through the Kingdom of God breaking though into the lives of people that will radically change society. Simply changing the system will never change the people.
Working in the Kingdom
While the fallout continues from this scandal, I find myself even more motivated than before to be living life full of the grace of God. A life that brings love, joy and hope to all I come across.
As a follower of Jesus, I see it as my role to bring about change for mercy, compassion and empathy, justice, grace, hope and love. This includes seeking these for the oppressed, marginalised, those without a voice and those for whom the system doesn't help but hinder.
I see these actions as being a part of the Kingdom of God in bringing about lasting change, redeeming a broken system and restoring a fallen world.
Michael Enderby is currently an Intern with SU Victoria in their schools program, while studying a Diploma of Youth Work with Praxis Victoria. He has a heart and a passion for walking alongside youth and helping them realise their potential. He resides in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Michael Enderby's personal blog is herehttp://www.scot262wh.wordpress.com
His previous articles are at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michael-enderby.html