Wrong Question #1 – Where Is The Outrage?

If you knew as much as I do about this topic, you’d be madder than… um … well, the maddest thing I can think of. And if you’re not blazin’ mad about it already, then you’re just plain ignorant of the facts.

And if you’re still too dumb to realize how right I am, let me just lay out a choice selection of facts – hand-picked just for you.

<Deep sigh>

More and more, I’m seeing blog posts and meme-generated facebook photos advocating outrage – especially over government interference or policy making:

“I bet you won’t see this reported!”

“Can you believe those idiots!”

“Why won’t they investigate this?!”

… and then one of the worst categories: “If this is true, then we should be outraged!” Oh – but we don’t really care whether it’s true; we’re happy to be outraged just the same.

“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”
— Proverbs 13:10

In our drive to be noticed, we have abandoned a love for truth. Any act of the enemy (by which we mean those who belong to a different group from our own) is worthy of scathing, holy, and self-righteous rebuke. It doesn’t really matter what the action is – if we can see any side effect, if we can find any potential ulterior motive to question – we’re all too ready to pound the fist of outrage. And we’ll pound it publicly!

“A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.”
— Proverbs 12:16

Writers may make the case that Anger Is Essential under some circumstances, and that it is possible to be both Good And Angry. While I do not disagree with these statements in principle, lack of anger does not seem to be our worst malady. Far more often, I see self-righteous anger and partially-informed anger.

“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
— James 1:20

Sadly, we’re unlikely to escape anger-mongering any time soon. But we can be ready to respond to it. When you’re about to Like, Share, or Comment positively on the next politically-charged facebook post inciting outrage against some “idiocy” du jour, don’t follow the “Where’s the Outrage?” cry. Try asking these questions instead:

  1. Have I confirmed that this report is completely true? Love “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;” (I Corinthians 13:1). If I care more about the humor of a sarcastic post than in the truth of it, I should question whether the spiritual fruit of love is present in my life.
  2. Does this report mock anyone in authority? Yes, people in authority often make bad choices. Ananias the high priest certainly made a poor choice in Acts 23:2, and Paul called him on it. But when he realized that Ananias was the leader, Paul regretted his comments. Paul admitted his error, explaining, “for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” It doesn’t matter how strongly I disagree with the choices or direction of the authority over me, I must never – read that never – attack the person. Present a logical argument against a policy or decision? Sure. But mocking the person should be absolutely inexcusable.
  3. If this article were written about one of “my people”, would I care to learn more? Maybe the report is true, and I don’t think it’s really that strong of satire or mockery. Is it balanced enough to be considered plausible for someone on the other side of the argument? We’ve all seen articles with a falsely provocative “You decide!” call. So many present only carefully-selected facts, and we’re all too ready to conclude that we have indeed made our own decision. If the conclusion seems obvious, you’ve probably just been “decided upon.” Most likely, nobody on the other side of the argument is going to be convinced if you forward or share it. You’ll just help incite unhelpful outrage.
  4. What can I learn from the other side of this report? Years ago, I noticed a pattern that humbled me. I would hear a ridiculous claim and think, “I can’t see how anyone with half a brain could possibly believe that!” Then later, I would find out that one of two things was true. Either a) they really didn’t believe what I thought they believed or b) they knew facts that I didn’t know that made their belief plausible. This new discovery was usually not enough to change my belief, but I no longer found the other people’s beliefs to be outrageous.

I know. Some of those posts are just so funny and so carefully-crafted, they just beg us to “Like” or “Share” them. Um, yeah. That’s intentional. Someone wants to use you for their own agenda.

By the time you work through all four of the questions above, maybe all the joy of liking or sharing will be sucked out of the whole thing. Maybe that’s a good thing. You don’t want to be one of those people who “like” and “share” everything, right? They’re just stupid, idiotic imbeciles anyway, and they make me so mad!

P.S. – You’re one of us smart ones, right? Please “Share” this post using one of those social media buttons down there! 🙂

photo credit: jpeepz via photopin cc

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