In my last post I wrote.
“We must picture hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity & advancement, where everyone has a grievance…”
(C.S.Lewis, introduction to The Screwtape Letters, p. ix )
That is exactly how I feel about the internet, that is why I hate it, and that is why I am taking a break from it.
I just can’t do it anymore.
I know Lewis was not talking about the internet and the internet isn’t actually Hell but, for me, the internet has become a personal Hell of sorts.
It all started in the months leading up to the 2008 presidential election between Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama, an election I was absolutely certain, because I didn’t know Americans had completely lost their minds at the time, Romney would win in epic landslide fashion. Well, as we all know, Romney did not win and I, an ordinarily sane and reasonable person, went into orbit over it.
Not kidding, I was not only disillusioned, dismayed, and disappointed, I was outright furious.
So, as any half sane and unreasonable person would do, I took to the internet and I took action.
Now, come Hell or high water, I was going to make a difference in the world, right wrongs, and educate the stupid masses the only way I knew how. With a blog and a Twitter account.
Unfortunately, though, the blog, quickly devolved into little more than posts mocking idiot lefties for saying and/or writing idiotic things.
Stupid, you may be thinking. And you wouldn’t be wrong. But, sadly, this is a legitimate genre on the internet that still exists today. Don’t believe me, Google Twitchy (a conservative website that I used to read multiple times a day because I just had to know what renowned political thinkers like Cher, Bette Midler, Madonna, and Will Wheaton were tweeting about) and see for yourself. Or Google Jamie Wearing Fools or Weasel Zippers who, according to their tagline, “scours the bowels of the internet.”
Scours the bowels of the internet!
Let that sink in a minute.
Fine, I guess one could say, it’s a free country and I have the freedom to use my time how I want and blog about whatever I want. And it was fine until my time in the bowels of the internet began to affect my general demeanor, my attitude, and my relationships.
Not kidding, I would scroll through Twitter for an hour or so before bed and be so pissed off it would take me hours to fall asleep then wake up early and go online for more of the same before my feet even hit the floor.
And on and on it went until I was ready to snap literally all the time. At my friends, my wife, my coworkers, my kids… Never ready for a reasonable discussion but always up for a verbal feud with anyone who would dare bring up their stupid and wrongheaded politics in my presence. In fact, I looked for trouble constantly and, when I couldn’t find it, I started it. I even started it if I knew it meant family gatherings would be ruined and relationships with friends and loved ones would be irreparably damaged.
And, I began to despise, with a seething passion, those who opposed me politically.
So, after several years of personal strife and heartburn and following a sudden realization that my activities on the internet had turned me into an angry, hateful, and pigheaded ass, I deleted the political blog and the Twitter account that went along with it and gave up political blogging entirely in favor of Christian blogging.
I mean I literally HAD (I thought) to be online and, there was no way I could get into trouble writing devotionals and such. Who could possibly have a problem with that? If Christianity is not your thing, don’t read and, better yet, don’t comment.
But it wasn’t long before the internet atheist trolls with their cashed out arguments against the faith, their insults, and their endless and relentless stupid questions showed up.
What God? Made up myth. Narrative construct. You don’t know history at all. Science science science. The Bible is full of contradictions…and on and on they went with easily refuted rebuttals to Christianity. But, no biggie, I can defend the faith as well as anyone, so I persisted.
And then my own former political blogging behavior got used against me and I couldn’t handle it.
I’ve said on here countless times that I was cool (haters gunna hate, whatever) with it but, fact is, I COULD NOT HANDLE IT. It enraged me.
“Hey, get a load of what James over at The Isiah 53:5 Project wrote, what a putz.”
“Yeah, he’s a delusional and indoctrinated half-wit who has no idea he’s believing a lie. One day he will wise up.”
Not that I can’t tolerate insults and being called out, I can, generally.
But why? Why single someone out for the sole purpose of making fun of them to entertain likeminded people? It doesn’t make any sense, at all. No one is winning. No one is changing their thinking. Reasonable debate is not taking place. It’s just juvenile and stupid.
What comes around goes around, I suppose. I deserve it, I suppose.
And that is why I am taking a break from the blog and the internet in general, at least for a while. Keeping Matthew 5:29 in mind, I really don’t think I have a choice.
In an email to a friend just this morning, I said this:
“No matter who you are or what you believe in, there are likely thousands of people online right now posting something that is either profoundly ignorant, rude, offensive, or will make your blood boil. If you let any of it bother you, you have a problem.”
Solid advice but until I can take it to heart myself, I need to step back.
Besides, I think I do my best ministry work out in the real world, with real people.
Maybe, just maybe, I am not suited for internet ministry at all. It’s not, as I’ve come to learn, an environment I am very well equipped to thrive in.