This is a reactionary commentary regarding the article, “FaceBook, I Love the Way You Lie” in the Summer 2018 edition of our Adventist Today magazine.
I am a life long Seventh-day Adventist well acquainted with the church’s doctrine, culture and traditions. And there have been several occasions when I have disagreed with the status quo. There was a time when I was quite left of center when it came to theological and social issues within the church. Over the years I have become more centrist, leaning to the right more as time goes by. I don’t really like using those terms, however, they are the terms that we understand superficially, so I’ll just keep it simple.
Regarding the article, its premise is right on. I agree that everyone should be wary of things posted on social media, Facebook and all the rest. And it is true that we like to read that with which we agree, that which fortifies our own belief system. Facebook provides an easily accessible platform upon which to view and spew our opinion, often all too carelessly. My favorite line in the article, “I sometimes wonder if the end goal for some propagandists is to undermine everything and make us believe there is no actual truth, only opinions. If there’s no truth, we are easier to control. It’s harder for us to organize” I’d just like to say to Ms. Lindsay, you’re not going down any “rabbit hole,” as this is probably more real than than we realize.
What troubles me greatly are the references chosen to illustrate the points. Choosing to use political drama only detracts from the focus as I truly could care less about the careless indiscretions of men in office. If we think for one moment that these things are new or that they have any bearing on the economy or the weather, well then perhaps we have a problem. Personally, I could care less about politicians indiscretions as long as they are not a felony and they do what they were elected to do. And the last thing I want is read about it in what would be considered a Seventh-day Adventist (even though you have elected to omit “Seventh-day”) magazine. I get it, you’re not the Review. I understand that you have a different purpose. But if you want to make a point, surely there are more suitable illustrations. Which bring me to my next and very grave concern.
Harry Potter should have absolutely no place in any publication that even alludes to being related to the Seventh-day Adventist Church! The illustration itself points to skin carving, a pagan ritual of such abhorrence that I shuddered just reading it. If you want to reach the unchurched, if you want to make Seventh-Day Adventist palatable to the modern generation, this is hardly the way to do it. It does nothing more than pose a false front to the truth, the light that we should bear to the world. Bottom line, it lies. In an article where truth is the topic, I find Ms.Lindsay’s choice of illustrations highly ironic.
Why is this a problem? God told Israel to annihilate all the cities in the land of Canaan saying, “And you shall consume all the people which the Lord thy God shall deliver thee; thine eyes shall have no pity on them: neither shall you serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee” ( Duet.7:16). Problem is, Israel didn’t destroy all those people and the very next generation succumbed to the “snare” of the Canaanites and worshipped their gods. This was a hard message and yet God knew that without the total obliteration of the Canaanites, Israel would fall, and they did.
Another example is Elijah on Mt. Carmel (1Kings 18). This one is specific to the Harry Potter illustration. After 450 prophets of Baal, cried, danced and lanced (carved, see Lev. 19:28) themselves all day long to no avail, they stopped and gave up. No where is it recorded that when they gave up they conceded that there was only one true God, the God of Israel. Even after God rained down the fire that consumed the offering, stones and water, not one prophet came forward repentant and begging for forgiveness. We know how the story goes. In the end all the prophets were put to death. God did not tell Elijah sit down and have a Pentateuch study with them. God did not have an altar call with soft music playing. God gave them all day to figure it out and they in their frenzied worship of their false god chose to blind themselves of the truth.
We should not mix our truth with darkness to make a point, especially when there is a plethora of superior illustrations that can be drawn from scripture. If Ms. Lindsay would have been inclined she could have used: John 17:17, Ps. 119:142, Is.8:20, and my personal favorite John 14:6. If we are to be careful when partaking of social media, then primary focus should be on Jesus.
Perhaps we do live in a “post truth” world. I suggest then that the world hasn’t changed much since Jesus walked this earth. Ellen White writes in Desire of Ages, page 242, “Truth was unpopular in Christ’s day. It is unpopular in our day. It has been unpopular ever since Satan first gave mana disrelish for it by presenting fables that lead to self-exaltation.”
If we are to hold true to our name, be it “Seventh-day Adventist,” “Christian” or both, we must realize that we can never afford to tip our hat to that which is evil. We have a commission to carry the True Gospel to the whole world. Let us not take this assignment lightly, that our fate be as the prophets of Baal.