If you can’t stand the heat…

The advent of social media outlets have made a small world even smaller.  Friends of yesteryear and family rarely seen or heard from have been brought back together via Facebook, Twitter and other internet social mediums.  In addition to reconnecting with family and friends, people put out there for others to know, what’s on their mind.  I often see inspiring quotes from notables of history or links to strange or headline making news stories with a clever or witty comment.  Sometimes people — myself included — make use of their own personal billboard to express religious, spiritual, political, and social views.

Over the last few months I have been ‘unfriended’ on Facebook by two people over comments I had made in response to topics of discussion these individuals initiated with their status updates.  The first, a highschool acquaintance and 9/11 truther, eventually grew tired/frustrated with my refusal to see the truth.  The second, a co-worker, was the type of guy who has all of life all figured out, just ask him, I’m sure he’ll tell you.  He has all kinds of insight into the way people think, and why they think it.  To him, organized religion is a scam and it is so much so, that the topic of religion had no merit for discussion.  He was thoroughly condescending (unintentionally) no matter the topic of discussion, especially when it came to music.  He had made some frustrated comment about Buddhism, to which I replied, “Well, Buddhism is a false worldview, what do you expect”.  Within minutes, I was minus one on my friend count.  I’m a big boy, I won’t lose any sleep over the losses.

But this speaks to a greater problem in my opinion: the number of people who like to hold beliefs because of the comfort it brings or social popularity.  I’m convinced these people view outlets such as Facebook as “safe” places to pontificate their views on controversial topics without fear of being confronted or questioned about them.  Feel free to like what I say, or keep your opinions to yourself, seems to be the attitude with these people, like the wealthy who surround themselves with “yes-men”.  These are the kinds of people who will not discuss controversial issues elsewhere, and they exploit the unspoken expectation of politeness from others in these venues.  So when someone comes along and doesn’t conform to the implied agree or hush it comes as quite a shock.

I suppose these people hold the opinion that these social institutions are semi-private, like a gathering in one’s living-room.  I disagree.  My view is that any time you voice an opinion — especially on the internet — it is open to criticism.  There is no shelter because you are amongst “friends”.  Unfortunately, the only way to remedy this over-sensitivity is to do away with both the self-esteem movement, and the idea that claims of a religious and spiritual nature are matters of preference rather than truth, not to be investigated.  These kinds people place a high value how their view makes them feel over and above whether it is true.

So whether you are updating your status, tweeting, or blogging, if you are voicing your opinion on controversial topics, understand other people might have an opinion too.  If you are sensitive to criticism or opposing points of view, I suggest you — and not they — keep it to yourself.

Comments

  1. I usually hide Facebook Friends instead of deleting them. That way they don’t show up in my feed, but I can avoid the drama of saying, “You’re cut!” (Especially if — hypothetically speaking! — they are my in-laws.)

    It isn’t that I can’t stand criticisms of my beliefs, but that they persistently refuse to listen to both sides. And by that I don’t mean that they must hold my views. It is that they are saturated with the Liberal media and have no interest or desire to understand conservative views. I don’t know any conservatives who don’t consume Liberal media as well (it is hard to escape it). I like knowing how they argue their points. I can argue the pro-legalized abortion case better than many pro-aborts because I know their side so well — even though I can turn around and dismantle it afterwards. But I can’t recall them ever being able to articulate why I’m pro-life, even if they disagreed with my views.

    • I find liberals tend more to shelter themselves from opposing points of view, relying on their side to accurately represent it. They are also not used to critical assessments of their views, which I think accounts for the repulsion to criticism.

  2. “do away with … the idea that claims of a religious and spiritual nature are matters of preference rather than truth, not to be investigated”
    I concur wholeheartedly. I’m sure you’ll find lots of people would rather hide in their preconceptions than face the truth. At the very least, they may stand unconvinced and grow tired of hearing the same old unconvincing (at least to them) arguments.

  3. My brother, who would post a lot of political and theologically-erroneous stuff (although from the conservative side – just far right ideas), would get livid any time I would comment on them. And when he saw me respond to other status comments which were liberal (either political or theological), he would about blow a cork. He told me that facebook was not a place to be critical of others’ beliefs.

    He is the one who got me on to FB so as to be in communication with our siblings, and yet he decided that I was an impediment for having the audacity to enter alternate viewpoints. He didn’t want me on FB any more because I was so “mean,” and I was going to leave but my siblings asked me to stay, so he “unfriended” me.

    I find it to be hypocritical that such people can feel free to put all their political and religious beliefs on FB and then complain if they are challenged with an opposing viewpoint!

  4. Terrance H. says:

    But mostly I use WP for that. FB is more a way to keep in touch with people, especially family I don’t like but feel obligated to stay in touch with. There are very few people in my family Iike. I’ve always been the black sheep, but in order to peace, I stay in touch and pretend I like them (‘eh, I know it’s wrong, but I don’t care). The only one of my family members I openly despise is my brother, who I deleted from my FB entirely. I have nothing but hatred and contempt for him. I don’t want to hear about him. I don’t want to know what he does. I don’t care what happens to him. I don’t wish ill on him, but should something happen, I don’t care. He and I share a mother, not a father, and I make sure I’m not around when he sees her. Yep. It’s the Godfather between us. I can’t stand him.

    Other than him, I try and keep peace and FB allows that.

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