Online Behavior

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I’ve done a fair amount of blogging and discussing with other Christians online over the years.  And I’ve been surprised at times at the behavior of some Christians in online discussion.  I ran across this article this morning called “My Take:  Why Christians are jerks online.”  I don’t  necessarily agree with everything the author says.  But I think he makes some good points that for some reason some people, including Christians, think that the rules of proper behavior, etiquette, and just plain manners our mothers, Sunday School teachers, and pastors taught us for some reason doesn’t apply online.

Besides some of the reasons given by the author Jonathan Acuff, I would add that some people online post anonymously with the belief that they can then say anything they want, however they want, to whomever they want.  They can be rude, nasty, and inappropriate and no one will be the wiser.

Well there are a couple of fallacies in that.  As Christians we are supposed to be treating people as God would treat them even if no one else knows we are doing so.  We answer to God and we can’t be anonymous in his eyes.  Also nothing is every really truly anonymous on the internet.  Someone can figure out who you are if you act like a big jerk.  Every internet post or email has an IP address attached to it.  And IP addresses are easy to track down.  If you are using broadband you have a static IP and that means you have the same address all the time.  There is no real 100% anonymity on the internet.  So if you it is something you wouldn’t feel comfortable saying at church or seeing printing in the New York Times then don’t say it.

My own take has always been that if I can’t feel comfortable attaching my name to statement then maybe I just better not say it at all.