Monday, June 18, 2007

Another post on my Facebook experience.....

First, for those who aren't ON, once you sign up, you can join 'groups'. These are special interest groups, generally speaking. It's another way to connect up with people you have things in common with. For instance, I am on a Fair Haven's staff alumni group, a Hamilton Children's Choir group, and I started a Pierre Robin Group myself. It's still small, but I'm sure it'll slowly grow. I already had an interesting chat with a teenage boy who deals with many effects of PRS. Gives me an idea of what Jairus might encounter....

There are THOUSANDS of groups. There are wonderful, heartwarming groups. There are funny, sarcastic groups. There are groups of mommies, groups of teens, groups of soldiers, groups of students. There are rude, crude groups. There are groups with one person in them. There are groups with 10,000 people in them. You could, like with the friend lists, spend HOURS browsing through the groups and reading discussions.

Recently I spotted a group on a friends profile that I checked out. It was called something like 'The Holy Spirit is using my soul, so I can't take the Challenge'.

"Hmmm, what's this challenge?" I thought.

It turns out that some group of atheists out there put forth a challenge inviting people to denounce the Holy Spirit on tape and post it on Youtube. I won't get into my thoughts on the original challenge right now.
This 'I can't take the challenge' group originated at Liberty University, of which the late Jerry Falwell was the founder. Many of the group members are students there....and a few who are definitely not students there.
From what I could read, it seemed that there were a few young men who had joined the group just to mock, humilate, taunt, deride....I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point. They were often crude and used profanity (knowing this would likely bother or offend the group members).

Many heartfelt members of the group tried valiently to defend their position and answer the many arguments the debaters put forth. It gained them nothing. The debaters were not there to be 'won over'. Likewise, any 'witnessing' attempts were fruitless and cyber-spat upon.

The whole thing was just very sad and disturbing.

However, the one positive thing I noticed was that as far as I read (and there were many, many disussion topics I didn't get to---it would have taken me days) the christians on this site never once returned the caustic wit aimed at them. There were many posts that talked about love and acceptance, that they would be praying for the debaters and what seemed to be sincere expressions of caring.

On to another group....

I don't know where I found this one, but it's name was something like 'No Abstinence only Sex Ed'. Like the Challenge group, this one had dozens, maybe even hundreds of discussions. I can't remember how many people were in this group, but it was large.
Quite obviously, the people in this group feel that abstinence only sex ed should be banned. They claim it's inneffective, been foisted upon us all for way too long, George Bush is an idiot for throwing more money at the many 'religious' organizations that teach abstinence (I think many in this group are American) and anyone who supports abstinence only is backward, naive, and afflicted with ostrich syndrome. The members of this group hold that many studies uphold their position.

In order to say anything on the discussions, I would have had to become a member. This was a problem for me. I have always been a terrible practical joker. I just can't stand for someone to think I am tricking them, even for a split second. I can't even feign forgetfulness for a quick moment, just to see the look on my husbands face when he asks me if I remembered to pay the internet bill. In the same way, I couldn't abide with having anyone (especially my friends) think that I would support or be a part of such a group. Even if it was for a brief time until they messaged me to get the scoop. Or worse, that some friends who don't know me very well wouldn't ask, and just assume that I was a part of that group because I agree with it.

So, I decided to use my blog here instead. It won't get quite the same response. I doubt any of those anti-abstinencers would look here. But all the better. I'm really not a very good debater and don't care to get into it.

Besides, it's not so much the issue that prompted me to write here. Although, I was pleased to run across a study just today that blows their foundations out of the water, in my opinion.
(http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007_docs/CompSexEd.pdf, by Dr. Stan Reed of the Institute for Research and Evaluation, Salt Lake City).

It was the tenor of the group. I wouldn't have wanted to be a part of that group, even if I did agree with their premise. What originally looked to be a group of intelligent, educated people, putting forth their mature opinions on an important social issue was actually not that at all. Unlike the Challenge group, the members of anti-abstinence were intolerant and derisive of any opinion posted that had even a scent of disagreement. Name calling and profanity-laced insults were common. Sarcasm filled monologues that did nothing to enlighten my apparently dull brain, but brow-beat me with peer-pressure tactics of humiliation.
The pictures posted were a collection of mocking cross-stitched statements completely unlike what you would expect to see sewed on a canvas with pretty flowers entwined. Rude bumper stickers, in your face political cartoons, mock-ups of 50's style advertisments with 21st century sentiments instead. These were the illustrations meaningful to this group.

I think what struck me the most though, was the attitude toward 'foreigners'. Whereas the Challenge members more or less embraced the questioners and engaged them in lively, earnest debate, these Anti-abstinenters completely lambasted posters who had even a slightly differing opinion. They held to very narrow views of what the 'opposition' apparently thought and took every opportunity to look down from this misconception.

I guess when it comes down to it, I'm an agree-er.
(as well as a maker-up of silly english)
I would like to see everyone agree. One of the cliches I find most frustrating is 'You can't please all the people, all the time'. Don't get me wrong, I don't think of myself as a pleaser. I know that it would seem that a world where everyone agrees would get pretty boring (however, I'm not sure I agree with that :-), I would still like to see it. And I believe that day will come.

Whether you agree with me, or not.