Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Beware the friend collectors

So it may seem like I’m just universally unaccepting of anything mainstream. I won’t deny having that as a portion of my personality (though I promise I’m not always countercultural). With that said, my hesitance towards Facebook (and before that, My Space) had legit foundation:

  1. I never wanted my students to be able to see too much into my personal life; and
  2. I was always a little worried about friend collecting.

Here’s what I mean about that last part:

One of the most important sermons I ever heard was one wherein the pastor talked about how “every human you pass on the street is someone for whom your savior died.” I loved that not just because of its impressive grammar (notice for whom) but also because it put into words what appealed to me about Jesus. To Him, every person on this earth – friend or foe – was someone who could be saved. Everyone was someone of value.

Meanwhile, my whole thought about Facebook is that it causes us to devalue other people. One of my favorite series at Imago was about the core idols. Specifically, I remember how someone with the power idol was described: someone who uses other people as commodities. That, in my opinion, is exactly what Facebook promotes. Accept friends just to bolster your friend count. Invite others for the same reason. Post a note on someone’s page so that someone else sees it. And so on. This is not how we’re meant to live. Jesus had twelve people he directly influenced (and from what I understand, you can argue that number is more like three). Now it’s two thousand years later and we’re meant to believe that we – mere humans, mind you – are intended to have 367 friends?

(Note: Don't get me wrong, there are benefits to the site as well. I'd hate to sound like one of those Christians who decried the advent of TV as the devil's work. I'm just saying is all. I'm just saying)

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