According to a recent article in the Christian Post, social media has become a source of growing incivility. According to a survey by Vitalsmarts, 19 percent of respondents have decreased their offline contact with someone because of something that person said on social media. An alarming 35 percent reported blocking or unfriending someone because of a disagreement they had on social media. One source believes that one solution is for “manners to catch up to technology.” After all, social media is a form of human communication. Since all human communication is behavior, it follows that all social media falls under the rubric of human behavior. All human behavior among Christians is governed by Christian Scripture. Hence, Scripture should inform how we behave on social media.
The second solution the article offers is that Christians need to self-appoint themselves as judges or monitors. When they see behavior that violates the standards, they need to step in and point it out. This would be an excellent way to keep conversations civil. The issue is finding people who are willing to do that on sites where a handful of people rip others to shreds. The problem is that other viewers are worried that they will become the next target of the cyber-space bullies.
88 percent of respondents said that people are less polite on social media than they are in person. Based on my experience with two supposedly Christian websites, I can say that this is very consistent with what I have encountered personally. There is no question that the behavior I have witnessed would never go on in Sunday school or Bible Study, not even for a second. This tells me that people really do know better.
American Christians have swallowed, hook, line, and sinker the American idea that everything is about individual choice. We can choose everything just the way we want it. Moreover, such a choice is ours by birth rite and that being a Christian doesn’t make it not so. If we want a divorce, it is our right, Scripture be ignored or at least reinterpreted to accommodate ME. Secondly, we have grown up under the radical notion of hyper self-esteem. The second great command is, you shall feel good about yourself, and everyone and everything that would make you feel bad or less significant in any way is ipso facto of the devil. People believe what they want to believe, not what they must believe. In fact, I am going to make an assertion that has been completely lost on the Church in America. All Christians everywhere are obligated and duty-bound to believe whatsoever the Scripture teaches. Modern, American Christians, especially the young ones who are more prone to social media, are repulsed by such talk. Others may give it lip service until you show them that Scripture clearly teaches something they find repugnant, such as prohibitions against gay marriage, abortion, and premarital sex.