The Toxicity of our Culture
Toxic. Yes, we have been inundated by a tsunami of toxic complaint, whining, accusations, false reports, exposures, witch hunting, bullying, character assassination, evil reports, rumors and bold face lies.
Social media has corrupted our lives. We now have platforms where people can sit behind a screen and speak evil with little or no accountability. They hide behind pseudonyms not revealing their true identity. They bully, complain, make wild accusations and fabricate stories. Even the most noble of actions has detractors seeing minuscule fissures and exploiting them to negate the good. It appears to me that nothing that a leader does can escape the riddling fire of enemy words. Even the news media that is supposed to report the news, not interpret it, or politicize it, has become so biased that they cannot report any event without spinning it for their particular prejudice. It is no longer subtle, but blatant.
There are laws that are to protect individuals from libel or slander. Yet, we have created systems that allow unrestrained and un-judged attacks against persons that in some cases has caused them to take their own lives. Many others have had their life work ruined and have caused them to resign and withdraw. To me, anyone who seeks to serve the public becomes a target of wilting scrutiny and invasion of privacy. The scrutiny goes so deep that childhood mistakes or youthful excesses are made current. Even the pope would have a hard time making it in today’s media feeding frenzy. It seems the more salacious and tawdry the details that can be found by the bottom feeding press, the happier they are.
There is no room for grace, for conversion, for growing up and changing to a better person. There is no forgiveness, no room for improvements. You must have lived a perfect life. If you did live a fairly perfect existence, then you are accused of being puritanical. If you are a virgin, you are chided as something is wrong with you.
All the love one another’s are gone. All the I forgive you’s are gone. All the accolades of overcoming a bad start or a moral failure are gone. Toxicity is the elixir of the day. Drink deep of it and it will kill you.
The complexity of the problem is that it sets the tone of life. Even in Christian circles the chemistry of poison is present. We have imbibed of the world to the extent that our tendencies are not the grace motive, nor the encouraging talk, nor the atmosphere of brotherly love. We are called to mourn with those the mourn and to rejoice with those who rejoice. But criticism breeds jealousy and strife. And that strife takes us further and further from the purposes of Jesus. We become embittered and no longer have or exhibit the love of God.
Overdosing on social media is harmful to the soul. While we engorge ourselves on social media, we have become less social. We actually are alone behind a screen. While we look and read all the comments made on pictures, posting, twitter comments, snap chatting, etc. etc., ad nauseam, we are becoming more and more alone without human interaction and touch.
I heard one of the engineer developers of Facebook say that he regrets making it. He said the damage that is being done saddens him deeply.
I believe part of getting back to the kingdom is to become social again. Meet someday, talk to somebody and use more than 140 characters. Read the pathos in their face, hear the tone of their voice to catch the nuances of their soul. Learn again to compliment, build up, encourage, comfort.