Friday, May 11, 2012

Facebook and Discourse

Facebook (and other online fora, Facebook is just the most popular) has redefined discourse, or allowed the worst aspects of human discourse to be realized. 

First of all, "friend" has no meaning.  A friend would not write the things I see people write on Facebook.

The discussions are full of red herrings, non sequiturs, and ad hominem.  No one stays on point.

Facebook gives you freedom of speech, but few people respect that.

The hot button issue of the day is same sex marriage, of course.  The debate boils down,on Facebook, to "God loves everybody therefore everything should be legal and that means anybody should be allowed to marry whomever they love" and "Homosexuality is an abomination and gays should be glad we straights let them live because Leviticus says to stone them."  Talk about simplicity.  No nuance, no defense.  Both show extremism in viewpoints.

One can be against same-sex marriage and still respect the humanity of gays.  Most do, but do not know how to defend their position against same-sex marriage as a societal institution and fear looking stupid and bigoted.  "You are probably against interracial marriage, too," is the general response to those who are against same-sex marriage.  And of course, some of them probably were.  It's interesting that one's evolution is only allowed to go in one direction!

A friend and I were talking about the TV show "Sister Wives."  I see that as a way of acclimating people who should know better to different versions of marriage.

It really comes down to whether marriage is seen as a way to fulfill one's desires or as a realization of a spiritual truth and about serving and loving another.  We are so far from that second view of marriage in our society that same-sex marriage seems inevitable to many.

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