Thank God, I was barely on it anyway, so it’s not like I had a million mentally-ill ‘friends’ to worry about insulting or losing, but it was still a small test, as the yetzer has everyone convinced that they really NEED Facebook, in order to do anything, or get anywhere in life.
One thing I’ve noticed about the increasingly mentally-ill nature of ‘debates’ and comments on Facebook in particular is how many of the really crazy people online are trying to close down any real discussion of real topics in the following bullying and abusive ways:
Way 1: the publicly-posted expletive filled rant:
“Don’t [expletive] send me anymore [expletive] [expletive] like this [expletive] [expletive], you [expletive].”
I’ve seen this response so many times (if you can really call something so Neanderthal a ‘response…) from ‘religious’ atheists, gay rights activists, anti-Trump ‘intellectuals’ and of course, the self-appointed moral guardians of the Jewish world who are anti Rav Berland.
The slightly more civilized version of this bullying rant (again, from the same bunch of people just described) is:
Way 2: “Don’t contact me / tag me / send me stuff ever again about [this issue]” - written with so much hatred and contempt it literally makes you shudder.
Recently, I’ve been pondering how it is that the people who seem to believe that they are so open-minded, so tolerant, so intellectually-refined, so apparently wedded to the principles of truth and justice etc etc etc are invariably the ones acting like mini mentally-ill dictators online.
Dare to have a different opinion to them, dare to question them, or their ideas, dare to challenge them to actually consider that they might be wrong about what they believe and all you get back is self-justifying vitriol and more personal abuse. What you definitely don’t get, in any way, shape or form, is any cogent, logical counter-arguments, or any interest in discussing and debating the issue in question, in the time-honored Jewish way to discover where the point of truth really lies.
Instead, you get threats, hatred, insults, lashon hara, verbal abuse, personal attacks, and anything else they can think of to try and close the discussion down (and permanently vilify…) the person challenging their ideas ASAP.
Why this insane over-reaction?
Personally, I welcome honest debate. Personally, whenever I’m challenged (which can sometimes happen a lot) I take that discomfort that I sometimes feel, and the shame and embarrassment it sometimes engenders, into hitbodedut, and I go and ask God to show me the truth.
What I’ve discovered is that the truth is very rarely a 0-100% split. Usually, the person challenging me is right about something, at the very least 1% right about something, that I haven’t considered or acknowledged before, and that’s why God has put them in my face to make me uncomfortable.
Remember the three rules of emuna:
- God is doing everything, and is behind every single thing that happens to us.
- Everything that happens is somehow for our good.
- There’s a message hidden in every single thing that occurs to us, and also within us, about what we ourselves need to work on and fix.
All the Facebook ‘haters’ clearly aren’t operating according to the three rules of emuna, or anything close to it. Now, you wouldn’t really expect that from a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, a gay-rights activist, or an anti-Trump person.
But all those people, all those apparently ‘frum’ people who are ‘anti’ Rav Berland, and who clearly believe themselves to be the guardians of morality, and the keepers of Jewish truth in the world, why are they cutting God so completely out of the picture, and acting like a bunch of mentally-ill heretical haters?
What are they so scared is going to happen, if they press 'pause' on the bullying hate campaigns for a second? Why is it so hard for them to even consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, they could be wrong about the whole thing?
Why is it so hard to acknowledge - even just in theory - that God might be sending them all this stuff they don't want to deal with, or look at, or engage with, because He's trying to trigger some sort of teshuva process, or insight, or inner change and improvement?
Maybe, someone out there can enlighten me?