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May 12, 2009

Mean Blogs

In her April 23 blog, The Times of London writer Ruth Gledhill raised the troubling question of conservative blogs in which the writers “sip vim-and-vitriol under the cover of Christian sanctimony.” She warned “It’s ‘blog eat blog’ out here.”

It is curious and sad that some of the most violent, angry, bigoted writing on the internet appears under the guise of Christianity. There is a meanness of spirit that characterizes a great deal of blog writing and commentary in the Christian internet world that shames the Prince of Peace in whose name it is written.

Giles Fraser, Team Rector of Putney in south London suggests two reasons why Christians are often so mean in their blog writing.

First he suggests, these writers “believe themselves to be justified by some higher cause. This creates a blind spot, which is why the nastiest stuff comes from ‘believers’ with a mission.” His second explanation is that “on the internet, the other does not come with a face.”

These are perhaps the two foundational causes behind all violence. When I believe my cause or my conviction is absolutely and without question true and righteous, and when I fail to see you as truly human, it is a small step for me to begin to feel that I am justified in inflicting my will upon you at whatever cost.

The endless tide of violence will only begin to be stemmed when I respond to you with humility and intimacy. I will be less likely to inflict violence upon you when I am willing to acknowledge I may be wrong and when I am willing to enter deeply into your world and seek to know you as you perceive yourself.

Jesus instructed his followers, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged,” (Matthew 7:1) and went on to call for serious self-examination and self-awareness. When I hide behind my theology and use it as a weapon to dismiss anyone whose beliefs differ from my own, I will soon resort to violence.

If the sad endless tyranny of violence that characterizes human history has taught us anything, surely it has taught us to listen before we judge. Surely when I look at the brokenness of the human community I am challenged to open to you and seek to see the world through your eyes, before I demand you view the world as I see it.

Christian blogs need to model gentleness, sensitivity and openness to the other if they are ever going to communicate the truth they wish to convey.

1 comment:

Bob MacDonald said...

It's blog eat blog out there. That was my morning laugh, Christopher. She is a good writer - link here. I do not usually read her blog - too many blogs anyway.

Amusing musings on Newman's attitude to newspapers...