I have been on Facebook for some time now and I have begun to notice what an odd microcosm it is, not that it is in any way a faithful representation of the way the wider world is, but there are microclimates that encourage certain mirror images of what is going on in the world. You may be fortunate to fall in with a group of people whom you wholeheartedly agree with or you may find yourself locked into one of those endless and fruitless debates which have been the hallmark of internet exchanges for more than a decade now.

We used to call them flame wars and they are usually precipitated by someone dangling flame bait. All that a person has to do to start something like this is to ridicule a subject which he or she knows someone else holds sacred or dear, and stand back. Often after the gasoline has been thrown on the fire the resulting inferno will burn for days, or at least until all the participants are exhausted. I have seen these things going on long before Facebook ever existed. So now when I see them merrily reproducing with predictable frequency on Facebook. It makes me wonder what is being achieved. All of this energy and righteous indignation, spraying out into the ether, for what?

It reminds me that there are people in this world who actually make a living by spreading disinformation. Have you ever wondered why TV news picks up certain stories to run with? Have you ever noticed when the subjects of a news report are characterized as being crude or backward in those reports? It may not be apparent in the copy of the story, often it is in the video content. Have you ever thought through the sage advice you got from that political analyst?

As a culture we are immersed in media throughout the day, every day. It is so pervasive that we often cannot tell that we are being swayed. We do not understand why we don’t care to be around certain types of people, but we are very certain that we don’t.

Our reasoning faculties are hobbled at an early age through ceaseless bombardment. Are we quite certain of our own tastes and ideas? Or have we surrendered to the barrage of endless input from the endless parade of “authorities” we see in newscasts, and advertisements, that we hear on talk radio, and we read in the press, or even from the sermons we hear?

This world is full of distortions of the truth, if we are to move forward Spiritually, if we are to mature, should we be relying on the things people tell us? Or should we be seeking the One who knows?

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4 Comments on “Microcosm”

  1. Great post as always, Nathan! I’ve been lucky with Facebook, but I know what you mean. The whole thing makes me think of the filters we all have (and don’t know about) — stuff we’ve “always known” for example, that everyone must have a “covering,” that the tithe belongs to God (as though the rest doesn’t?), that individualism is a good and even a sacred thing . . . it goes on as you know.

    Thanks for the reminder — I need them always. 🙂 It’s important to question everything.

    Blessings, Cindy

  2. Nathan Says:

    Thank you Cindy,

    So often when I stumble across a furious discussion on Facebook that has more than a hundred comments I suppress the urge to put in my two cents. It’s like, would they even notice?

    Yes, in breaking free one has to ask many questions which organized religion has slammed the lid on.

    The Lord is the best guide after all, and IC folk haven’t listened to Him in millennia. They are just too busy to be bothered with all that.

    Bless you right back Sister


  3. Rachel Says:

    Nathan – good post. Just this week my husband and I were talking about the media and how in these last days it pervades our life on so many fronts. What a tool to tell us how to think and live. Why it’s so important to be in the Bible seeking instruction and truth from the Holy Spirit.


  4. Nathan Says:

    Yes Rachel,

    Tell me about it! We are “unplugged” from the TV and radio stuff, yet even when I check the news on the internet it actually seems to be too much. So many opinion shaping comments made in news stories. Any way the less you expose yourself to it the easier it is to tell you are being manipulated.

    As a former TV video editor I also catch things like when they show you trashed cars and the run down neighborhood when they are talking about the newly captured suspect. I knew a cameraman who said that whenever they showed a man being led into the police station in handcuffs that he could not remember any of those unfortunates being found not guilty. The cops thought it was so important for a conviction that they would keep circling the block until the news cameras were set up so they would guarantee footage of the guy being led into the jail in handcuffs. It is not straightforward communication, but it builds up a series of strong visual hints that this person is an undesirable and probably guilty.

    Oh well, we know better than to swallow everything that they try to feed us, I am hoping that many, many others get tired of the constant deluge and break away. It is far better to seek Jesus’ company and learn from Him as you have said.

    Thank you for the kind comment Rachel


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