The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Barbarians in the Comments ... Calling for the Destruction of Invaluable Artifacts

Recently I was reading a fascinating article about the third oldest Christian Bible, which is owned and curated by the Smithsonian Institution. They were making this 4th century A.D. artifact, written in Koine Greek and beautifully illuminated available and it was wonderful to see. Ancient artifacts are rare items. Ivor Noel Hume, former director of Colonial Williamsburg and noted archaeologist, stated that 90 percent of all man-made objects created in the last 300 years have been destroyed. Given that percentage, you can appreciate how rare this object is. For Christians, this foundational document of the early church should be a marvel.

However, I then made the mistake (and I know better, I really do) of scrolling on down to the comments. It was appalling. The barbarians were raging in the comments section. The fundamentalists (Christian and atheist alike) were calling for the destruction of this invaluable Bible on the grounds that it did not hue to their ideas about reality. They would see this ancient Bible, early artifact of the faith, destroyed rather than have their, apparently quite fragile, belief systems potentially challenged.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Come on, J.S. Their trolls, you can't listen to them. Surely you know better?" You're right, of course, they are and I do. However, the problem is that such comments build a mindset in those who are easily convinced, those of fragile psyche and weak cognitive abilities. If enough trolls howl loud and long enough, sooner or later some individual or group of individuals of weak mind and strong intent will act and barbarism will be unleashed again.

We've seen this all too often before. The library of Alexandria, the Mayan texts, books with challenging ideas seen as threats to every tin-horn, two bit, dictator who ever was and is a blot on humanity's collective soul ... all destroyed and in doing so impoverishing all of humanity.

If you are Christian, remind yourself that Jesus, the Messiah, our leader, teacher, and reliable guide tells us that what poisons us, what makes us unclean, does not come from what we put into our mouths but what we speak when that comes from corrupted hearts ... and what we write in the comments section. Paul states we should avoid that which would influence the weak among us to do what is wrong. If you're not Christian, common sense and great thinkers tell you the same.

I hope in the future we'll hear from fewer barbarians ...

For a related post, see:

UPDATE, 1/20/14: I want to thank Governor Chris Christie for illustrating my point for me with the bridge debacle in which his staff closed all but one lane of a New Jersey span to get even with a local mayor who did not support the governor. If the governor is to be believed, he knew nothing of the actions of his underlings who implemented the outrageous plan that put many travelers under outrageous travel burdens for no good reason and risked lives of those who were sick or injured and needed to get to the hospital quickly. If the governor knew nothing of this politically dangerous move, his own vitriolic rhetoric and bullying behavior still brought it about. He encouraged his underlings to do as he did and they took things a step too far. Just what I'm concerned about with the comments mentioned above ... inspiring those of easily swayed minds to do abominable things.
Sure, we have our First Amendment rights ... but we also have brains with which to determine what might be lawful but terrible to say ... to decide what might inspire others to do awful things. If our corrosive language brings about terrible, stupid, or tragic results, our hands are not clean. We cannot walk away, wrap ourselves in the First Amendment, and continue this bad behavior. We have a responsibility to society to be smarter than that.

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