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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why is Slander Okay When it's on the Internet?

I read a few blogs in my, ahem, spare time.

I am always amazed and appalled at some of the comments the authors receive.

I realize the internet allows us to voice our opinions in an anonymous, "safe" environment. From the comfort of our own home we are allowed to pass instant judgement on something that is not to our exact liking. In my younger days, if there had been ready access to this type of social media, I may have been hateful like that too. Just being honest.

My guess is that none of these people would have the guts to say these things in person. If they did, they would be recognized for the horrible things that they express. And they would be chastised or arrested for harassment or something.

The boundaries that exist today are moving targets. We can be arrested for questionable racial or sexual comments, but not for calling someone a liar, hypocrite, disingenuous, sneaky, mean-spirited, or ethically wrong. Where does one injustice begin and another end? Why do truths sometimes require whispering? I'm not advocating racial/sexual slurs, of course. And I'm not saying some people don't lie. But I don't understand the arbitrary rules people have created for treating others.

The internet is a place of truth and fiction. Some people write a combination of both. Some don't. I didn't know my best friend lied to me for years, why would I assume I know a stranger that writes a blog better than my best friend? Why would I feel comfortable making that assumption public? Why would I assume a complete stranger owes me anything? Why would I continue to read and abuse the blog author?


When did these words become irrelevant?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil 4:8

There can be no room for nastiness if we abide in these words. Respect and honor can be maintained throughout a difference of opinion if we abide in these words.


I am humbled by the risk many blog authors subject themselves to by writing in a public forum. I never knew the complexity of guarding the heart or growing thick skin, just because they put themselves out there. Although some of these people are considered public personas, their lives are not subject to the intense scrutiny we feel we deserve. (I think the same goes for celebrities, etc.) And if we choose to scrutinize them, I ask you to do it under the provisions in Phillipians 4:8.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.





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