Why do I have my real name with a real picture of myself on my blog? Because I don’t want to hide behind a false identity and give myself permission to say things I would not say if I were writing a personal email or text, or having a phone conversation, or a face-to-face conversation.
With me, what you read is what you get; whether in person or behind a computer screen. I am not witty, I normally do not make people laugh, in person I try hard to come across as genuinely caring while at the same time speaking truth, and I try to convey the same ethos from behind a computer screen.
Now there are people out there who refuse to show a real picture or use a real name and they like to hide behind a computer screen and say things that a normal person would never say in a face-to-face conversation. But for some reason when they get behind their mask and write in a pseudo-screen name they become emboldened to say what they are really thinking and feeling with emphasis!!!! Robert Putnam calls this developing a Cyber Super-Ego. I call it another form of bullying.
One reason people develop a screen name might be out of fear. And this fear is real. There are people out there savvy enough at using the internet to destroy, intimidate, or strike fear into people (and sometimes they do real harm). These people don’t like what certain people are saying and once they realize they have been out reasoned in a discussion they resort to name calling or worse, and sometimes try underhanded tactics such as getting information about people to unmask them posing a potential threat to their family, livelihood, reputation, etc.
This is cyber bullying. It is an attempt to strike fear into the hearts of people with whom they oppose. Well if you are a Christian, and if you write anything of substance on the internet that suggests Jesus is Lord, the Bible is God’s Word, or that the morality of the God of the Bible is superior to modern progressive thought, then you had better prepare for the worst – but make sure you do not use the tactics of the world. We are not to fight dirty to try to silence opposition. We should not develop a super-ego, which emboldens us to say what we normally would not say if we were sitting down face-to-face having a conversation with the same person.
If you don’t like the heat or if you do not want to face the risk that goes along with internet communication, then don’t write anything. But if you are ready to face the world and actually dialogue in a Christ-like manner about what really matters, then prepare yourself with prayer for what is to come. You might be torched or beat down, but realize that this is just a sampling of what Jesus went through during the Passion week leading to His suffering, trial, brutal death, burial, and the cosmic battle that was unseen (see Luke 19-23). But realize also that Jesus was raised, therefore we have hope (Luke 24).
You might be unmasked by a foe, but don’t let this silence you. Chances are that the person who unmasked you is being a hypocrite and would be extremely upset if you unmasked him or her.
Some of the evil that exists in this world guises itself as “tolerant” or “progressive”, but the proponents of these views tend to have a double standard. Their version of tolerance tends to be “live and let live” but don’t let Christians live as Christians. While progressivism to some of them means developing a system of morality absent Judeo-Christian morality.
Now I realize not all on the side of progressivism are like this. But the loudest in the media and internet tend to be this way. What they are really doing is trying to stand for an absolute standard, which rejects Christian morality and embraces all other forms of morality. To many of these thinkers a progressive world is an enlightened world, but in reality progressive thinking results in heart break when one loses their virginity to their first love and then he goes on to the next girl; or a child born with microcephaly because her mom smoked pot while pregnant; or paralysis because a teenager decided to drink and drive; or a homeless woman with her 7 year old hopping from house to house 4-7 months at a time and being totally dependent on welfare and the kindness of people who let them stay in their basement and eat their food until the homeless woman burns a bridge and then frantically leaves crying out that its everyone else’s fault; or a child being rejected by his parents and placed in a box and left at the train station at age 2 days because he is born albino; or a three year old heart being broken because mom decided to have an affair and then go to court and try to take all of dad’s money and then get married to a different man and try to have him replace the real dad all because mom realized she never loved her first husband; or a mother being taken from a family with 3 kids all because a woman stayed up all night picking mushrooms in the mountains and then the woman falls asleep at the wheel at 11:15 am because she was too tired and kills the innocent mother of three; or putting a 6 month old child in a freezer after breaking his arm just to try to stop the child from crying; or…
All the above stories are true.
This reveals we live in a broken world.
All the above happened because someone had a worldview that did not fear God. (By fear I mean realizing that God is real and that He has an ethical standard by which He will hold all people accountable to, and the realization that you fall short of this ethical standard and need His grace and His help to live up to His standard).
If there is no God, there is no standard.
The mere fact we argue about a standard suggests that we really believe there is a standard that exists outside ourselves by which we are all measured. If we didn’t believe this, then we would never argue. But because we argue, we show that we believe there is a rule of measurement. And if their is a rule of measurement, there must be a Ruler who sets the standard. Random chance can’t create a standard of measurement. Random chance doesn’t care. Only someone intelligent enough to think about the standard of measurement could create a standard that we all appeal to. Notice I said someone, not something. Something implies a thing, which may or may not have intelligence. Someone implies a thinking, intelligent designer that can come up with a standard. And since that someone is intelligent, it can be known.
In writing this post I am appealing to the standard of fair play. What I hear often from people who are “progressive” is that Christians need to be silenced because they are not “tolerant.” Then I point out that their reasoning is hypocritically intolerant. And then they point out, “Well, Christians have been in charge for too long, now it is our turn to push them around.” This reasoning doesn’t make sense, its illogical, and its based in emotion and a desire for revenge.
I appeal to everyone who has ever had the desire for revenge, is it right? Do you like it when people seek revenge against you? If not, then why have a double-standard? Why not rather be wronged? But if there is no God, then there is no “right” or “wrong” so what’s the point? Or is that the point? Since atheism and agnosticism lead to the conclusion that morals and ethics are produced by humans, then why not just produce a new set of rules that suppress the voices the powerful don’t like. But does this create a better world? What happens when the more powerful take over and say the West is made up of weak-minded cowards? I guess we would all become servants or go to the gulag.
What I find interesting is that the people with Cyber Super Egos tend to speak loudly as if they carry a big stick and push people around by the written word, but I wonder if they would do the same to me or any of my Christian friends if we sat in a room talking about the same issue over coffee?
The challenge of this blog is for Christians to raise the bar to a new level of integrity; unmask yourself, show who you really are on-line and be more careful about how you say things. Show graciousness. Don’t be surprised if you are wronged. When someone with a fake internet name and without a picture slaps you on the cyber check, face them with love and controlled strength and let them try to slap shut your computer. They are only showing the weakness of their belief system. Take the high road. Become like Jesus. Strengthen yourself with prayer. Realize they can hack your computer and threaten your family, but they can never take your soul. For as Christians we belong to Christ and will be raised with Him. He has given us the Spirit of God as a down payment guaranteeing our inheritance and as the power and guide to lead us in all conversations and circumstances in life. Stay strong in the Lord. Never give up, and above all, demonstrate love for friend and foe.
1 Cor. 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.