Monday, December 6, 2010

Resisting Gullibility

We are such a gullible people. Who is "We"? I don't know...I guess a great many of the people I know.

I am the recipient of frequent email "forwards" warning of this and that, even though after my email signature I've included the line "No forwards, please. Please." And I've learned, after accepting some on face value (since I know the person who sent it to me has thoroughly checked it out) that it must be valid, to do my own checking before either buying in to it or God help me, passing it on. And I confess, I've learned the hard way, with egg on my face.

So, you won't find me jumping on popular bandwagons that seem to flourish these days, especially on Facebook. If I don't know the source, I don't pass it on.

The hot thing on Facebook the past few days has been to change your profile picture to a cartoon character in an effort to bring awareness to child abuse. I declined, not because I don't think child abuse is a scourge on our society, but because I just don't join in on those FB things. I don't have a farm either. Now, if I had been asked to donate to a credible organization that combats child abuse, and to replace my picture with a cartoon if I did, that would have been more appealing to me.

But then this morning I get this message, posted by a FB friend that starts with the word "WARNING". That's a sure tip-off that whatever follows has no factual basis. The warning was that the group behind the cartoon pictures is really a pedophile organization! (It's been on the news!) My response, "And you know this to be factual because...?"

With the proliferation of information out there, pumped in to a kazillion computers and easily accessible with a quick search on your favorite engine, anyone can find anything on the internet. Anything. Doesn't matter if there's any factual truth to it or not. In today's information age, including the media as well as the internet the soil is fertile for every conspiracy theory imaginable.

And there's the danger. Without the wisdom of God we are prey to all of it. And in the Christian community, of which I am a part, when you couple gullibility with conspiracy built upon shoddy biblical exegesis and interpretation the result is always negative. It is a shame that those who have free access to that wisdom can be the most gullible.

I remember the old Sunday school song from my distant past. "Be careful little eyes what you see; ears what you hear; mouths what you say". Before jumping on the bandwagon, stop and ask, "Really?"


marcia said...

"Like" :)

Sarah said...

I didn't change my profile picture either...