We were not meant to take on the world.
And yet the internet and our televisions bring the world into our homes with all it’s discussions, ideas, worldviews, trolls and monsters. As Christians, and especially Christian apologists and defenders and witnesses, we feel the pressure to rush into the fray and encounter every intellectual adversary that appears. We’ve studied, we’ve prayed, we’ve read. We’re familiar with our arguments and opposing arguments. Once more unto the breach, dear friends!
The world is too big for us.
We read an article and encounter an objection. Our nature drives us to work out it’s validity. We must do something with it. Then there are the comments. Tons and tons of comments, each with a new rabbit trail, red-herring, twist, challenge, or snark. Gauntlets thrown like rice at a wedding and the urge to pick each one up, examine it, and throw it away grows stronger.
The world outnumbers us.
And we begin to feel it’s weight.
We begin to feel it’s depth.
We begin to feel small.
But aren’t we supposed to engage the world? Aren’t we supposed to make a defense for the hope within us? Aren’t we supposed to be witnesses and salt and light?
Yes, of course. But not to the entire world. God will handle the world, he’s the only one who can fully comprehend it. We must bloom where we are planted. We must study. We must be familiar with arguments and counter arguments. We must be ready to defend our hope in a spirit of love. And our primary duty is the physical place we find ourselves.
The secondary place in the 21st century is where we communicate via technology. But this requires discernment and discipline. We are suffering from information overload as a culture. Like the logician in Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, if we try and fit the world in our head, our head will split open. The internet is a marvelous tool for communication, but it can place a burden on us that no one person was intended to bear.
So debate and engage. Love and serve. Spread the gospel. But examine yourself to see if you’re taking on too much.
Bloom where you’re planted. God will take care of the world.
This is a very eye-opening talk by Eli Pariser (who I don’t know anything about other than he gave this talk) on what he calls “filter bubbles.” It’s what happens as more and more sites try to tailor what content is delivered to any given user and is based on what they’ve clicked on, put as status updates and the like. The result is that from Google to Facebook to Yahoo! News, we’re fed information that we already agree with (or that the sites think we agree with) and we encounter dissenting opinions and ideas less and less.
It’s a relatively short talk and worth the time.
How does this affect people’s perceptions of religion, politics, and current events? How is it shaping our worldviews?