Goodbye Social Media

A few folks that read this blog entry might have followed me on one social media platform or another at some point in the past. A decade ago, I lived on Twitter. I enjoyed a lively group of followers that varied widely across cultures, political beliefs and national borders. With a mix like this, it was obvious that not everyone shared common beliefs, goals or values. However, by and large, we all played nicely and chose to get along.

Eventually, I became disillusioned with social media and spent more time off-line and in the company of my children (who were now of an age to play and converse with) to a much larger degree. When I dipped my toe back on to Twitter, I found it had become a much more commercialized platform and I chose to look into Facebook.

While there were many things I hated about Facebook, I found enough of value to begin finding my old Twitter pals and reestablishing some of those connections. If these friends never really noticed I’d gone missing, that was fine and really didn’t bother me. After all, I had purposefully kept my social media circle of friends to only overlap people I knew in the meat world by maybe 10%. Overall, people still played kindly, with the majority of disagreements being heated, but between friends.

Over the last 8 years or so, this had changed dramatically. Political bias has become divisive to the point of being its own hate language. People I have loved and respected now behave abhorrently towards those that hold different political beliefs than their own. The diminished respect and the superior attitude is truly disheartening. On both sides. Yes… even those sticking up for the disenfranchised should still be civil. If you don’t agree with me, that’s okay, but I’ll admit that I think we might have a hard time finding any common ground. The gloating the pride in saying “mic drop” (indicating that I refuse to even listen to your side, it simply is a tragedy to me.

Unrelated to any of the above, I have gone through a rough couple of years personally. Through this time, I have become much more reliant on my faith. I have spent much time in biblical study and research. I have changed. Much of what I thought had value was chaff.

I was raised a very conservative baptist in a small northern community. Much of what I was then taught bordered (or went over the border) on racist and sexist interpretations that I cannot find any biblical foundation for. That being said, I do believe many of todays churches are refusing to call sinful practices sin.

So, the last straw for me on social media? People I valued, trusted and held in high esteem, that I do believe are Christian and have a desire to share Christ’s love, have become so conceited, so overbearing, so harsh that I simply couldn’t take it any longer.

And to my surprise, it isn’t the Christians that are holding the older more conservative beliefs. I have many friends on FB from over the years that believe more conservatively than I do that refuse to speak up about their beliefs any longer because they are tired of being pilloried. Not by atheists or other non-believers, but by modern liberal believers. And those are the ones that have driven me from social media. (In this context I am not using liberal and conservative to correlate to their political beliefs, but in their interpretation of the Bible.)

Those believers that could vote for the current president, that could ignore the vileness that was without a doubt coming out of his mouth, that could look the other way from his obvious sexist and racist views, were still overwhelmingly courteous and polite (in my stream, I have no knowledge how they behaved in yours). This doesn’t mean I could agree with them. Far from it. I still have no idea how any Bible believing pastor or congregation could support our president in his bid for the Whitehouse.

I am far from able to cast the first stone. My sin is as grievous as any other. As someone living in adultery. As someone practicing a homosexual lifestyle. As someone that is a habitual lier. As someone is a murderer. (Yes, I do believe all of these are sinful practices.) The issue isn’t that people sin. We all sin. That doesn’t mean any sinner is unworthy of love. Choosing which portions of the bible to believe isn’t something I care to do, but the example of Christ is hard to deny. Love should not be based on race, sex, sexual orientation, perceived value, or anything else.

And yet…….. the ones showing the least love (in the most hateful manner) everywhere I look these days are the ones that are purporting to stand up for those that have for years been denied love. Standing up for others is good. Doing it in a way that shows hate to others is not. If liberal Christians cannot show love to conservative Christians while trying to stand up for those that have been denied love, they are guilty of the same actions they are railing against. If conservative Christians don’t show love to those they believe are guilty of sin, they are far from living up to Christ’s example.

I can’t take the hate anymore. From people that I feel should know better. From people that I trusted. I am not saying I’m right. I’m not saying I have the answers. I am saying hateful words coming from a friend are still hateful. And often hurts the more for it.

I flippant answer to an honest question occurs sometimes, but when the questioner continues to express open and honest thoughts and is met with disdain, it begins to be hard to see value in continuing the conversation. And hence, I say goodbye to social media. Thanks for the good times, but at this point, I can’t say you’ve been missed.

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