John Dyer’s article on how social media changed theological debate touches on one of the reasons I’m generally hesitant to write about theology:
Throughout the history of public theological debate, there was one constantthose debates only took place between a few select peopleMoses, Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, and so onwho gained respect through a lifetime of scholarship.
But the invention of social media, like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, created a radical departure in communication. In pre-2004 Christianity (that is, Christianity before Facebook was invented), only a small group of Christian leaders and teachers had access to the printing pressbut today everyone has WordPress. In pre-2004 Christianity it was difficult to become a published author, but today everyone is surrounded by dozens of “Publish” buttons.
Every time we log into Facebook it asks us, “What’s on your mind?” Twitter wants to know, “What’s happening?” When controversies large and small erupt, there are devices in every direction begging us to not just take a side, but to declare our position on the largest publishing platform ever constructed by humanity.
What few of us realize is that when we press those “Publish,” “Post,” “Comment,” and “Send” buttons, we are making the shift away from merely “believing” truth and stepping into the arena of publishing that belief. In doing so we are effectively assuming a position of leadership and teaching that prior to 2004 was not available to us.