Thursday, January 12, 2012
Social Media and Theological Discussion
Do not get me wrong, I love these outlets and use them regularly, but some of the viciousness I have seen lately leaves me worried. From relatively minor theological debates has arisen hurt feelings, defensiveness, and just downright un-Christ-like behavior (not that Jesus minded a good debate now and then, but I digress...). Perhaps my evaluation of the problem is simply the limitations of social media in of itself. What I mean by this is, one cannot have these types of conversations online as they would face-to-face over a cup of coffee. One cannot hear the tone of the person's voice, the look of sincerity/insincerity on their face, and their body language when exchanging comments on these outlets. On the flip side, I also understand that these discussions do indeed need to take place, and the strength of these sites is putting one in contact with a wide-range of conversation partners from a variety of ecumenical backgrounds. And that is a good thing. But, I'm wondering if thoughtful engagement should be done with a well-placed phone call instead of a debate that continues to escalate and "friends" are forced or a least feel compelled to choose sides, adding to the building tensions that invariably exist on both sides of the theological aisle? Or if one wants to continue the debate without a phone call, how about a private email?
Posted by Matthew D. Montonini at 5:23 PM