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why I disabled comments on facebook

Update 9/14/2018: imagine my chagrin when I discovered that you can't disable comments on Facebook!  Notifications, yes.  You can block others one at a time, but you can't stop comments wholesale.  In light of this I will either disable or delete the account entirely, or most likely, just use it for family, humor, and non-controversial stuff and post the articles I am reading somewhere else... 

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God."  (James 1:19-20 ESV)

I'm increasingly convinced that social media is not contributing to a reasoned and civil discourse in our country.  Recently, a popular (popular with some, and unpopular with many others) pastor/theologian posted a number of theological statements about social justice as taught in the Bible.  There was a lot of material to evaluate.  But social media posts came out -- both vehemently for and vehemently against -- immediately.  As in, immediately.  I looked at the site and thought, OK, I've been doing biblical and theological studies for over 30 years and it would take time to give these statements a fair reading.  

Then I noticed that many people -- people whom I truly respect -- were quick to promote or condemn, and often with stridency.  There was much more heat than light.  Social media is a wide arena for opinion and it publicizes your comments immediately.  This I believe is helping to promote national hysteria rather than reasoned and civil discourse.  Even on my own Facebook page I noted how quickly people liked or responded to things I posted, some of which would require some thought.  The medium itself seems to promote knee-jerk responses.  (See also Proverbs 17:27; 29:20.)

I don't pretend to understand Marshall McLuhan ("the medium is the message"), but I found this 1962 quote applicable to our situation today: "Instead of tending towards a vast Alexandrian library the world has become a computer, an electronic brain, exactly as an infantile piece of science fiction. And as our senses have gone outside us, Big Brother goes inside. So, unless aware of this dynamic, we shall at once move into a phase of panic terrors, exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total interdependence, and superimposed co-existence." (Marshall McLuhan, from The Gutenberg Galaxy, cited in Wikipedia.)   
So, my strategy on Facebook is to post things I'm interested in, whether family, biblical issues, current topics, humor, or whatever.  (And I myself don't always agree with everything I post!)  Now I have come to the wonderful realization that I don't really need to get feedback (at least not in that medium) or to know what others think about it!  

So, I'm not stiff-arming anyone.  I just don't want to engage in that wide of an arena with such immediate feedback.  If you like what I post, or don't like what I post, or don't read any of it, that's fine with me.  Really.  You can always PM me, or even better, we can get together over coffee and talk face to face. 


Jason said…
I was going to comment on your post, but now I have to give it some thought.
Jason said…
But seriously, I appreciate you mentioning this. Facebook seems to have revealed much about the velocity with which we read/consume/skim the information that is shared among us all. A headline may be just enough for us to click the Like or Share and off it goes, without a deeper digging into the actual content of what's there.

I especially appreciate you mentioning that you will post items with which you don't necessarily agree. Increasingly, I think we see what is shared/posted and immediately pair that with a commendation or recommendation of the person associated.
Mel Lester said…
Where's the thumbs-up emoji? It's ironic that the Bible teaches us to be humble, yet many of us struggle to share our understanding of biblical truth (or its application to modern-day matters) with any degree of humility in evidence. I've always appreciated the measured tone with which you approach such topics, without shrinking back from the ones that can be controversial. Well said!
Sandy said…
Thanks, Mel and Jason, for your comments!

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