The Gospel According to Facebook

I didn’t intend to somehow be back on Facebook. I’m really not sure how or why I am. But what I want to tell you is that whenever I go there(because someone has mentioned me or sent me a message) I’m confronted with a barrage of sappy moralistic pap. Where do those things come from?
Lately it’s about “judgment”. “Don’t judge! Everybody has their own battles.” (I judge THAT sentence ungrammatical.) The gist of these ready-made posts, which people “share” again and again, is that we are all ignorant. Dumb. We just…. don’t…. KNOW what other people may be going through, so shut up and smile.
Yes I know Jesus said that. Measure for measure, etc.
So why not credit the Gospels themselves, if you’re gonna parrot the sentiment?

Judgment is our most precious, yea, divine faculty. To surrender or withhold it, an any circumstance of life, is to descend to the level of animals.

A few weeks go I wrote a comment wondering whether the present drive to emasculate our country and destroy individual wealth might not be related to the Christian ethic, which still permeates our culture, and which exalts humility and holy poverty.

The admonition about judging others can be read as a command to show mercy, as we must hope God will do. But, y’know, on the other hand “judgment”, the ability to discriminate good from bad, is just what He didn’t want us men to acquire, back in Eden. We had to steal it.

The Pop-Gospel according to Facebook is a kinda Hallmark-y retelling of the originals. Love thy neighbor as thyself (at least for the couple of seconds while you’re looking at this picture of a resplendent sunrise—or is it sunset, it doesn’t really matter. Just y’know, be NICE today. Or tonight. )

Facebook breaks down the self, dilutes it and scatters it to the ether… You become an “oblate” of it.
Which is all very New Testament.

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“In the beginning…” for a few months, I was on facebook. The mounting deluge of self-righteous political crap promptly drove me out. Its absence is a positive in my life, so on the few occasions I think of it at all, I briefly despise it for the biased, censorious force for evil that it is and move on.

I agree with you on judgment/discrimination; it is our most important intellectual faculty. Everyday life can be seen as a rolling series of discriminating decisions - too numerous to list. The Gospel meaning of “Judge not, lest you be judged”, I think, does not suggest me make no judgments whatsoever. As I see it, this admonition originates in the same principle which tells us “all men are created equal” - but equality and judgments, we ought humbly understand, are often flawed (inherent in our fallen nature), thus are ultimately in the eyes of God. In our earthly domain, if we made no judgments or discriminations as to better or worse, especially as to utility or ideas, we would still be living in caves (where the environ-mental cases hope we soon return).

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In Dinesh D’Souza’s Life After Death, he argues that most systems of morality are fundamentally grounded in belief in judgement in an afterlife (or reincarnation). This allows one to reconcile belief in and compliance with a moral code with the observation that bad guys sometimes win and cheating is often easier than doing the right thing. If you believe a supernatural power is always watching, you may be more inclined to behave even when nobody else is looking. As I wrote in my review:

Every human society has had a code of morality (different in the details, but very much the same at the core), and most of these societies have based their moral code upon a belief in cosmic justice in an afterlife. It’s self-evident that bad guys sometimes win at the expense of good guys in this life, but belief that the score will be settled in the long run has provided a powerful incentive for mortals to conform to the norms which their societies prescribe as good. (I’ve deliberately written the last sentence in the post-modern idiom; I consider many moral norms absolutely good or bad based on gigayears of evolutionary history, but I needn’t introduce that into evidence to prove my case, so I won’t.) From an evolutionary standpoint, morality is a survival trait of the family or band: the hunter who shares the kill with his family and tribe will have more descendants than the gluttonous loner. A tribe which produces males who sacrifice themselves to defend their women and children will produce more offspring than the tribe whose males value only their own individual survival.

Morality, then, is, at the group level, a selective trait, and consequently it’s no surprise that it’s universal among human societies. But if, as serious atheists such as Bertrand Russell (as opposed to the lower-grade atheists we get today) worried, morality has been linked to religion and belief in an afterlife in every single human society to date, then how is morality (a survival characteristic) to be maintained in the absence of these beliefs? And if evolution has selected us to believe in the afterlife for the behavioural advantages that belief confers in the here and now, then how successful will the atheists be in extinguishing a belief which has conferred a behavioural selective advantage upon thousands of generations of our ancestors? And how will societies which jettison such belief fare in competition with those which keep it alive?

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Wow, wow and WOW! I offer a few observations:
i) “Cast not your pearls before swine….” You are instructed to not waste your efforts and time on those incapable of change (e.g. pigs)
ii) “…the meek shall inherit the earth…” THE most mis-interpreted scripture. It means those with the power of life-and-death exercise self-restraint and not abuse their power.
iii) St. Augustine caught a lot of flak for postulating that God put evil people on the earth. The reason was to see if the righteous would recognize that evil and treat it accordingly. Yep—controversial.

So yeah—exercise judgment of Right & Wrong and ACT. And remember He threw the money-changers out….

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I read an infuriating article on Aeon online magazine yesterday about how “the collective” (in this case, all Americans, even if their ancestors didn’t get here till 1910–) is/are responsible for and must pay for the wrongs of the past: African slavery, colonialism. Of course that isn’t a new idea, but what struck me was the author’s reverential use of the term”the collective”…Man creates—and re-creates—God in man’s own image. So okay, even if we individuals don’t believe in an afterlife (although I think everybody does, mos’ly) there’s still those who will live after us. Progeny may become our new deity. S’why Nancy Pelosi always closes her defense of some ruinous scheme with, “For the children,”

I’ll check out D’Sousa’s book. But we don’t have to speculate as to,what happens when people no longer believe in punishment and reward after death. The French tried it in 1789. A total Bacchanalia at the “festivals of reason”— and let’s face it, if this life is all we get, then complete license on every level IS eminently “reasonable”. Robespierre had to speedily re-open diplomatic relations with the Supreme Being, if he hoped to maintain a disciplined army, keep social order, etc.

Oh there’ll always be a God. And whether you want my opinion as a BA in anthro or not: here it is: humans have a loooong dependency period (and a big enough brain to know it). If you weren’t the kind of human infant who would trust and obey the all-powerful grownups, you’d fall off a cliff or into the water or fire, and you wouldn’t live long enough to breed. I think the emotional drives to revere and worship are hard-wired into our species. C’est ça!

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Of course you’re right Jiggs, the Gospels are much more complicated and MUCH MUCH darker than the Facebook version. That was kinda my point. Look at the “hard sayings” of Jesus. When you read commentary on that, the writer seems to always suggest rather uneasily, that, um, maybe Jesus was just a bit…cranky that day, hadn’t slept well or whatever. But the truth is these edicts are irredeemably harsh and they require total,self-abnegation. And not in a comfy way. And, you don’t see ‘em on Facebook accompanied by pictures of rainbows or kitties. But: popularly-received knowledge of religion is always a simplification, often a complete contradiction, of the original doctrine.

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Yes, nothing gets me more excited to go to Mass than the thought that Jesus was just a granola eating long haired hippy type who wanted everyone to get along, man. No that crap pisses me off. A God who was willing to flood the world because we are stupid humans. A God who was willing to press Abraham into killing his own son to show Abe’s devotion to God. A God who destroys entire cities for being hedonistic hell holes and then turn into pillars of salt those who dare glance back at the carnage. No, this is not a God who would have a Son who would not be just as forceful when protecting His kingdom. God hates cowards and sometimes it takes great courage to fight for God. One will not fight if one cannot judge the circumstance worthy of such an action. God wants us to judge. He wants us to recognize sin and hate it as much as He does. One cannot recognize sin if one cannot judge the actions that manifest from sin as sinful. God’s prohibition of our being the ultimate judge is relegated simply to that of casting souls into Hell; that we do not have. But certainly, in a snapshot moment, we can recognize sin, judge it to be sin, and call it out where and when necessary.

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H’mmm…yes, but…with a God like that……who needs the Enemy? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I think it more appropriate to say “With a God like that…don’t BECOME the enemy.”

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Time is precious, Hypatia – and any time spent on Facebook is wasted. Yes, I sinned – I once had a Facebook account. But I learned. Giving up a Facebook addiction can be hard, but persist! Eventually, you will be able to find the carefully hidden procedures to cancel your account … and then you will be free! Real friends send their friends e-mails, or pick up the phone.

Next in line for expulsion from our personal universes – Twitter!

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Oblate or living sacrafice?

FBI’s Facebook service is pure digital evil.

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I stopped Fake Book months ago. Do not miss it.

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I love this!

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Yeah, me too, Gavin, but I can’t help remembering that at its inception, people thought the telephone would be the knell of interpersonal communication. And certainly modern Misses Manners lectured us that we must write out our thank you notes and condolences, etc., rather than emailing them….
So that’s a trade off: like with research, the speed with which you can do things electronically is an advantage —to both the writer and the recipient—to be weighed against the obvious display of greater effort the older methods entail.

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You are missing one of the more important aspects of writing a response / reconsideration of what you said. E-mail tends to be spontaneous thinking, somewhat like stuff here. When you write a letter, you have the opportunity to edit - to change, tone up or down, modify, or totally redo. Lincoln rewrote his famous speeches multiple times until he got it right.

As for FB, I quit a long, long time ago. Never did open Twitter or any of thee other silly “social media” thingies. But then, I’m a troglodyte and not that “social” - and certainly NOT in the sense FB means.

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Ditto.

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Welp—I find that with my sentiment about the “Christian virtues”, the Prince of Paradox, G. K. Chesterton, anticipated me:

“The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone…some humanists care only for pity, and their pity, (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.”

I dk when GK wrote that, but he died in 1936, so…must be gettin’ close to a century ago now.

Pity gone mad I will be thinking about that all day. Jesus exhibits pity only once: over human mortality, and that is in the story where He deliberately waits until Mary ‘n’ Martha’s beloved brother dies, so He can come resurrect him.
Speaking of pity I’d give anything if We had more about Lazarus’ later life. After taking his first meal which proved his restored physicality, then what? Tell us he rejoiced in his own resurrection! Instead we hear nothing, and there have been so many literary treatments of the story where the poor man goes mad with terror—and so does everyone else who looks into his eyes.
And why do we have the eponymous beggar Lazarus in the parable bout the “bosom of Abraham”? He pities the living who don’t know the awful eternal suffering that awaits them; WANTS to be resurrected so he can minister unto them, but God sez dont bother, it won’t do any good.

Well, never mind that, it’s a digression. My point was that if we are indeed still ruled.as a society by deracinated “Christian virtues”, we aren’t the first generation, nay, verily more like the third аnd/or fourth, to be so.

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