Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dear Prudence: Virtue and Vice on the Internet

There's no better place to find intellectual vice than on the internet.  Ridiculous claims come from all sides.  For example, in the comments section of my friend Kelly Clark's blog post about whether science rules out belief in God (you can find that fine post here), we get the following gems:

There is not one piece of compelling evidence of the existence of a god. There is not even one miniscule piece of evidence. Its all just superstition.
and on the other side . . .

I love all the atheists here thinking it's okay to teach about God in the classroom, so long as the conclusion is "no". Hypocrisy from anti theists, what a shocker.
It's hard to know what good either comment does, whether either one encourages dialogue, changes minds, or promotes any kind of virtue.  I'm going to guess they don't.

I recently wrote an article about this problem, posted on the Biola University Center for Christian Thought webpage.  It's called, "Following Jesus on the Internet:  Two Intellectual Virtues for Online Discourse."  You can find it here.  In it I recommend some virtues that Christians might try to acquire that can result in more Christ-like and fruitful interaction on the internet.

The two virtues I talk about in the essay are prudence and openness.  I was particularly pleased that the editors labeled one of the sections "Dear Prudence," because that is the name of one of the great and underrated Beatles songs.  And here it is. 
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