The Internet – Big or Very, Very Small world?


This post comes to you fresh from facebook – where I keep in touch with family and friends, and occasionally have to deal with some surprising issues.

Yesterday I posted a link to a news item from the UK, wherein the Anglican Church had just voted to not allow women to be ordained as bishops. In posting the link, I asked the question: do the people who voted ‘no’ believe that God would want it so.

A friend commented upon the relativity of gender to Christian faith. I responded that I felt that it was unconscionable for the church to discriminate against women and spoke in general terms about how religions (specifically mentioning the catholic church) seem to be granted special protection from the law around the world.

Today a long time facebook friend and colleague from years gone by (who shall remain nameless) asked if, since he is a catholic, I believed him to be evil. Aside from his missing the point of my…um…point, I explained that I hadn’t used the word evil to describe the catholic church or followers, but that I did feel that the institutional abuse of children by members of the clergy and the church’s protection of those people was evil. I looked forward to a robust exchange of views.

What happened next? He removed his question from the thread and then blocked me!!!

This kind of reaction aggravates me immensely. I can only assume one or more of the following took place (because, like a sulking toddler, he is no longer talking to me);

  • My response was – as in the case of my original statement – not properly read.
  • My response was not understood and taken to be offensive.
  • My mention of documented and historical child abuse at the hands of the clergy was deemed unacceptable (although factual).
  • Any questioning of ‘the church’ cannot be countenanced.

I could continue making assumptions, but the most important thing for me is that this person is clearly unwilling to take part in a  civilized discussion about the issues. To me, that attitude is very frustrating and deeply troubling…the refusal to even listen to another person’s point of view represents a very narrow way of experiencing the world.

My view of the internet is that it is a window onto different ways of experiencing the world, for some people, however, it seems that the internet is instead a tool to shut out anything different…

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2 Comments on “The Internet – Big or Very, Very Small world?”

  1. Maybe he thought that, since you seem to be so AGAINST the abuse of children and discrimination on the grounds of sex, that your mind was made up and there was no point arguing with you?

    • elsimmo Says:

      You’re right of course. Clearly he was overwhelmed by my ‘Don’t you argue with me you big poo!’ style of conversation.

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