Monday, November 10, 2014

resist the temptation

...to abuse the privileges afforded us on the Internet and social media.  Latest installment:  Deacon Greg Kandra notes Father Z's reasons for moderating comments.  Basically, as Kandra puts it, some people really are sick.  And the anonymity of the Internet gives free reign to their sickness.

Father Z:
Conservatives and traditionalists certainly have their wickedly vicious commentators, who, emboldened by anonymity and a lack of immediate consequences, puke their bilious dreck into public view. It is one of the greater concerns I have in my life and work here.
But I have to say that what you see from liberals outstrips the bile of conservatives by orders of magnitude.

Let me remind you of something. When you post something on the internet, there are consequences, both for you and for others.

You may be a matter of scandal to others, weakening their faith. Direct ad hominem attacks are horrid and unfair, especially when lobbed into the arena with cowardly anonymity. You endanger your immortal soul when you do these things. I sincerely fear that many of the commentators in the combox at the Fishwrap are in danger of going to Hell. Anyone who can write some of the things you see over there has to be spiritually sick in dangers ways.

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2014/11/we-see-horrific-violations-of-charity-and-reason-all-over-the-internet/#ixzz3Ih5BIQKv

Then Deacon Kandra:

Good advice—but conservative commenters are often more than just “wickedly vicious.”  I don’t want to quote some of the stuff I’ve read from supposedly faithful, orthodox Catholics—commenting on Facebook, Twitter and blogs— but it’s pretty awful. This stuff is rife with references to murder, violence, physical brutality—summoning all sorts of suffering to be visited upon the pope or those who are close to him. I’ve lost track of the number of “devout Catholics” who have made no secret of the fact that they want this pope to die, and soon.  These people are sick. Pray for them.
To Fr. Z’s other point: I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the U.S. Catholic bishops to demand action against NCR. A lot of them are subscribers.

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2014/11/we-see-horrific-violations-of-charity-and-reason-all-over-the-internet/#ixzz3Ih5KdK7h

Read it all here.

Gotta tell ya, though: I blogged about this back in 2012.  Yep, "Comedy porn" I called it then.  Here's a snippet:

Just as some have written about food porn or weather porn, maybe one of the unspoken hungers we Americans suffer from is comedy porn.  We already have the word schadenfreude to describe this:  getting our jollies watching others suffer.  Comedy porn might recall the Greek original word: pornography means something like "anger writing," so "comedy porn" would mean something like "funny anger."  Thus, it's OK to ridicule Republican voters or our first African-American First Lady because, well, they made us angry and our ridicule of them is, well, funny.

Nothing like a little seventh-grade logic to make your day, eh?

Originally when I drummed this whole "Spiritual Diabetes" vision I had planned to lampoon a variety of popular spirituality expressions I'd seen from the mid-1990s up through 2004 or so.  Then John Kerry lost the 2004 election and the next day the JESUSLAND cartoon began circulating.  That's when I realized that maybe I had missed an angle.  The Left thirsts for comedy porn just as much as the Right...and they're both wrong.

That's one of the reasons why, more and more, the Christian tradition's insistence on God's sovereignty and the Church's counter-cultural social justice tradition seem the only, well, prudent responses.


And now, well, it's only grown worse (as I alluded to last week with this post).  Often I've blogged about Bill Placher's work, especially his groundbreaking 1989 Unapologetic Theology.  More and more I've come to appreciate that book's argument, because in this day and age it's simply impossible--and undesirable--to look for that golden, all-objective starting point for dialogue.  You won't get everybody to the same table and, as Placher subtly notes, it doesn't exist anyway.  The internal logic of the Christian message pushes us into dialogue--with other Christians ecumenically, with other religions, and with anybody willing to work with us to solve the world's problems.  That means, Placher noted, that we won't always get everybody synchronized.  So be it.  Father Z and Deacon Greg are onto something similiar, I think.  Do we need to pray for these souls who bedevil others?  Yes, and for the victims, too--but doesn't mean we need to surrender ourselves to their cruelties. We can work to eliminate such violent language through, you guessed, the internal logic of the Christian gospel. 

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