America’s public square is in dire straits. The public square is the public discussion of all things cultural, political, religious, and societal. The people who participate in this discussion in America are citizens from every walk of life, background, gender, race, economic status, and from a vast variety of theological and political thought. This square becomes broken when conversation deteriorates into group think, quarrelling, and emotional attacks against thinkers with which we disagree.Read more
Facebook is not real. It does not give us a real picture of real life. It is manufactured. It is an imitation of socializing. It provides a false sense of community. It provides a daily dose of drama. It can also provide amusement, social networking, and helpful information. But it often takes more than it gives.
Topics of great import fade away as quickly as a summer thunderstorm. They clamor for attention with mighty displays of hype and drama only to be replaced by the next storm unleashing its fury against our walls. One day it is threats of missiles from North Korea, the next day it is the war in the Ukraine, then it is the horrific acts of ISIS, then it is the sale of baby parts by Planned Parenthood, then it is Cecil the Lion, then bathroom laws, then a Gorilla takes center stage for a few days. Now it’s Orlando and with it the hotly debated Second Amendment. As each matter demands our attention the last one fades into obscurity. Read more
If we all thought the same way, we would be in trouble. When we are free to think for ourselves, we are free to think poorly as well as rightly. We are free to think sideways, backwards, or not at all. If we are not free to think worse, we are not free to think better.
When I watch debates raging across social media, I think we have all gone mad. We seldom debate to reach truth. We debate to dominate and stamp out the opposition. I’m free to share my opinion, but your opinion should not exist. This is proven when we are angry at someone for saying something we interpret as stupid. Read more
With the advent of on-line social media, articles compete for our click. The desire for ad revenue garnered by the views, hits, and clicks upon the article and its corresponding advertisements dictates the content. Much of what passes as journalism is simply an enticement for your click rather than your mind. Headlines scream for your attention. Questions beg your consideration, but only long enough to acquire the requisite click.
Upon clicking you may find a list, a series of pictures, a short video, or what barely passes for a short article. These get liked, tagged, shared, and tweeted ad nauseam. Seldom do the articles get judged, much less researched. In an effort to promote journalistic integrity, I’ve provided a list of ways to judge an article before liking, sharing, or tweeting. For the purposes of this article, I am limiting the subject to news articles rather than those deemed entertainment.
- Read the entire article. If its contents are valuable enough to like or share, they were first worth reading.
- Don’t get fooled by headlines. Did the article live up to its headline? Many times the headlines are dishonest eye catching advertisements. If we are not careful, we will believe the headline regardless of the contents of the article and share it on the merit of the headline alone. If the headline reads Science Proves Cats Love Swimming and the article is of a story of one cat owned by one scientist who likes to swim in the pool it did not pass this test. Most articles can be disregarded by this one test.
- Did the article prove its thesis? A thesis is the main point the article is designed to convey. Is the author telling you what to believe about a social issue, or is the author providing plenty of supporting details so that you have all the information necessary to decide if his opinion is merited? Just because you already agree with the premise does not mean that the writer provided sufficient supporting evidence.