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Anti-Social Media

Janet Daley recently wrote in the UK's Daily Telegraph on the inherent anti-social nature of 'social media':
Where has all this absurd, unfathomable rage and hatred come from? Has it always been there, lying beneath the surface of an apparently benign national life, just waiting for its chance to leap from the dark? I doubt it: I am more inclined to believe that there is something about the isolation of computer-based activity (and this includes online pornography addiction) that breeds deviant, narcissistic, almost autistic, attitudes to the outside world. Which may be another reason why obsessive participation in “social media” is not really social at all: why it can so easily become detached, insular and, in the end, deeply anti-social..
She is definitely onto something by noting that the nature of social media leads to living isolated lives. And that such isolation inevitably breeds dark deeds. As King Solomon warned, whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgement (Proverbs 18:1). The sure way for us to develop deviant lifestyles is to have a false sense of connectedness when in actually we are more isolated from the scrutiny of those near us in the 'real world'.

However, Daley is wrong in what she denies. She does not believe there is something inherently depraved about people that expresses itself through social media. That could be far from truth. Evidence shows the more a social network grows the more nastiness arrives on the scene. The reason is that more users it has the larger the sample becomes representative of the average population. So it's therefore surely the case that there's something about the larger population that is equally nasty.

As Terri Senft, a professor specializing in global media at New York University’s Department of Liberal Studies observes : “If something bills itself as non-pornographic then becomes that way, to me it’s a sign that it’s reached the public knowledge-base, and now it’s solidly there".

The biblical reason for this is that man is totally depraved and therefore everything he touches no matter how good becomes corrupt. Indeed, it is even much bleaker because the Bible also tell us that man has a tendency not only to corrupt everything he touches, but to actively seek new ways of corrupting things. As new technologies are invented, others are actively working to find ways of how to use those technologies to multiply sin. We are by nature workers of iniquity.

Apostle Paul writing to the church in Rome describes man’s sinful posture as follows : 
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, He abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarrelling, deception, malicious behaviour, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. [Romans 1:28-30]
Once again we find that what the media pundits and social experts of this age try and understand, God has already made it plainly clearly in the Bible. It is therefore to God we must look for an answer. Technological filters wont do. Public banning of websites wont do. Hopes of creating an Eden on earth by our own hands whether online or in the real world are delusions of grandeur. It is only God himself who is able to change our hearts so that we are no longer drawn to a life that endlessly seeks to invent new ways of sinning. Only he can draw us to a life that seeks to live in a way that honours Him and builds a better world.

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013

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