Monday, May 16, 2011

Filter Bubbles and the Church

How do you think this relates to the church today?


  1. I posted this comment on a buddies FB page, as he linked to the same video.

    While this is an interesting viewpoint, I would contend that it isn't the role of the service providers to tell you what you _should_ be looking at, but rather what you _wanted_ to look at. Relevance is king when it comes to searching. Facebook isn't making a political point, nor is Google - they're analyzing what you've looked at / interacted with in the past, and trying to give you what they think you're after. If what you're searching for doesn't come up, you'll find a new search provider. If I search for 'Ron Paul' and I get results for 'Donald Trump' - I'm annoyed, and not getting what is relevant to what I'm looking for. Service providers will always accomodate the user. It is up to the user to open their mind and interact with opposing viewpoints, and look up counter-points to their own arguments.

  2. Raj, thanks for posting this video. It was certainly thought provoking. Here' my take on it...

    The pattern of thinking used by the gentleman in the video seems to condescendingly presume that people in general aren't smart enough or at least aren't diligent enough, to seek out multiple sides to an issue on their own, and that someone else must start providing these opposing views for us. This is exactly the kind of thinking amongst proponents of "net-neutrality" which I am adamantly opposed to.

    While search engine algorithms may seem to some, to have nothing to do with the church, the line of thinking in this video and amongst “net-neutrality” supporters begins a slippery slope of action, that could eventually have HUGELY negative effects on the church.

    For example:
    If I want to write a blog post for my church's website about Jesus being the only way to salvation, I don't want the government or companies like Google requiring by law through a "net-neutrality act,” that links to opposing religious views be provided within my article. And as the slippery slope may very well continue, I don't want to see this kind of mentality in our government or our society, eventually requiring that my church's pulpit be a place where if a view of homosexuality being a sin is expressed, the opposing view must also be offered.

    We really don't need big brother making sure to provide opposing views for us.

    I find it far more civically responsible to talk about our need as a people to reaffirm citizen's ability to think and search out truth for themselves, rather than promoting algorithms to better do the work for us. If we as a society become comfortable with leaving the work of researching all sides of an issue to others, whether in government, in a classroom, in a church, or online, we are doomed to eventual tyranny.

    We've got to stay intelligent enough and awake enough, to do the work ourselves.

    “...let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober... Examine everything carefully; hold fast to what is good.” 1 Thess 5: 6 & 21 NASB

  3. Thank you both for your thoughts.

    Dave, I think that service providers don't exclusively accommodate the user. They walk a fine line between accommodating users and serving advertisers. Pariser's argument could extend to the conclusion that if people don't know that information is being hidden from them for relevance, then what stops a dominant company like Google from hiding that information from them for profit (i.e. BP paying to hide info about the oil spill).

  4. Rachel, I definitely understand the concern that you have. It seems to me that he's talking more about both pro-Christian and anti-Christian websites showing up on a Google search for "Christianity". You, as an individual blogger, wouldn't have to write from both perspectives because your whole-heartedly pro-Christian perspective would be represented among other articles/posts across the spectrum.

    I don't favor government regulation of the internet unless the dominant companies begin to act contrary to the public interest, which I don't think is anywhere near true right now nor regarding the issue raised in this video. We're definitely in agreement there.

    He's just arguing for the information to be presented according to topic relevance instead of according to our biases, or at least giving us an option to see less personalized data. I'm glad he appealed to the company owners instead of calling for legislation.

  5. I think my response is best extracted from this portion that he said, "The thing is we need the internet to be that thing that we all dreamed it would be. We really need it to connect us all together. We need it to introduce us to new perspectives, people, and ideas. And it's not going to do that if it leaves us all isolated in a web of one."
    How would this read if we insert "church" into it?
    "The thing is, we need the church to be that thing that we all dreamed it would be. We really need it to connect us all together. We need it to introduce us to new perspectives, people, and ideas. And it's not going to do that if it leaves us all isolated in a body of one."
    I find myself resonating with this thought very much and perhaps I'm isogetinng a little bit...When we read the Word and hear of the potential glory of the Church, I think it's a natural response to get excited; for our appetites to be whetted for what has not yet come to pass. And maybe we don't need it to be what we've dreamed about but She certainly needs to become what She was MADE to be; what She was designed to be; what we all need Her to be and that's Biblical in worship, service, and training.
    We are all one in Christ Jesus so we are all already connected but it is so easy to feel alone as Christians. And I don't mean that in a self pitying way but, is there anywhere where a church and her people are connected in more ways than texting and facebook? Is there legitimate, intimate growth and love being shared? That's what's supposed to happen, right? As iron sharpens iron...does that go on anywhere anymore? We're supposed to come together so we can be together, through thick and thin; I carry the load for Lindsey when her heartaches in prayer and supplication and she eases mine when I am in need. I just...I don't see it here anytime other than crisis.
    I don't think it is the churches responsibility to shelter me from perspectives, people, or ideas that are not congruent to ours. Do I think it should present false religions, teachers, or precepts as options for me? No. Absolutely not. But should we hide from them? No. People have been talking over the last few years about the role of the church in sex education. Should we do more? Should we say more? I guess it would run along similar lines. How much of our time, energy, and resources should we spend educating on that which is not our own. The question comes to mind, and I fall into the category of "not me" but how many Christians have read the Koran since the attacks on 9/11 to better understand our enemy? Not from a tactical standpoint but from a heart standpoint. We just think that if just tell them about Jesus, it will all fall into place and I know that when Jesus is preached, it does have a tendency to do that but isn't He also the God of meeting people where they are? Why shouldn't the church do more to introduce us to new ideas and philosophies? And not even ONLY in the realm of different religions. Why don't we talk about well known Christian ministers who have kind of taken a short walk of a high precipice as far as their doctrine and theology go? Wouldn't it help me to learn why, in the Bible, their ideas are off?
    The danger of gathering a group of people, no matter how small, and only talking about all the things you agree on is nothing gets done. It'd be kind of like you're stranded on a desert island and everyone says, "Oh, we need to build a shelter." And then some people gather wood. Some gather leaves. Some get the spark going. And then they all starve to death because no one bothered to get food.
    We need those challenges, we need those perspectives, to keep us going at all. Otherwise we'll all just sit here and the world will be as it was when we weren't.

  6. Oh my gosh, I cannot tell you how much I love the last metaphor. I'm definitely going to steal that and use it in a sermon sometime.


Navigation-Menus (Do Not Edit Here!)

Popular Posts