Have your say: Losing my
religion on social media
Social media sites can bring people closer together but they can also be boiling cauldrons of hate
November 18, 2020
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the rest of social media sites that reach millions across the globe, bring families and friends closer together, especially important during today’s pandemic. But these same cyber media venues can also be boiling cauldrons of insults and other sorts of verbal nastiness, where threats and expressions of pure hatred of others they fear show evidence of some kind of shared human madness. And worse, as we are now keenly alert to the growing spread of a highly contagious virus, such divisiveness has been spearheaded by the now out-going president of probably the most important country in the world, certainly the most famous democracy, founded 244 years ago by free men of unusual character, education and breeding, qualities incidentally that its current leader so woefully lacks.
Despite the words “In God We Trust,” which became currency in the Civil War, many millions of U.S. citizens on social media are ignoring them because, to begin with, they deeply distrust each other, and if God is in everyone, as the American poet Walt Whitman so wisely suggests, where does that leave us? Certainly many who are verbally exorcising their anger against each other, though they are often misguided or uninformed, think such a deranged manner of expression is their constitutional right. They have forgotten that they also have the right as human beings, indeed the mandate, to connect. Possessed of the inherent godliness buried inside us, they need to show – instead of hate – respect and empathy toward each other, and try to be patient, kind and loving to those who don’t see things their way.
Those who don’t use social media to express their feelings, or who try to avoid the climate of discourse that leads to the mental and physical stress and anxiety we are all being exposed to, must remain calm and sometimes silent. If one is really troubled reading vengeful outbursts on Facebook, etc., one option is that, instead of remaining silent or fuming inwardly, one can copy, paste and send or forward to the apparently clueless, the full-texts of reliable sources always available on the internet – actual proven truths written by qualified figures whom we have the most genuine trust in. Then people who are now shooting from the hip can perhaps reconsider, free themselves from the trap they’ve set, check out fact worthy links and articles, and base their opinions on them – thereby exercising, as scientists tell us, those parts of the brain that thrive on hope, encouragement, empathy, and even forgiveness.
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