Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Filter Bubbles and Christ

Mark Zuckerberg said, "A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa."  He was making that statement in light of filter bubbles - that conclusion reached from the links you consistently click.....the profile that was created for you by your internet usage patterns. The conclusion that a dying squirrel is more relevant than people dying in Africa is reached by what is clicked on, what is viewed and what is read on the internet.

What is a filter bubble?  It's the practice of online engines creating a profile for you that filters what you view by analyzing and keeping track of what you click on, view and read.  Oh, yes, they keep track and they form a pattern and create an entire profile of you, then direct your internet usage to conform to that profile in what they think will be the branches of the internet you want to see or read.  You can easily see this demonstrated by having a group of friends, both male and female, both liberal and conservative, etc., search the exact same things on their respective computers.  You will be amazed at the huge difference in the same search on Google by two different people. Filter bubbles.

What does my theology have to do with filter bubbles?  It means that the world can track my interests. It means that my Christianity is visible to the world. To me, it means I need to approach the internet with intention toward Christ.  But, this intention is not limited to the internet. Aren't we supposed to approach all life with intent toward Christ?  Filter bubbles might just make that more doable for most of us as we struggle with the pull this world lures us into.

Filter bubbles might make it harder to look at and understand and know about things that make us uncomfortable, but we are not to fear the uncomfortable; we are to embrace it knowing that Christ is the answer.

My theology makes me want to be aware of filter bubbles, keep them in mind and intentionally go out of my comfort zone to look at people dying in Africa, at people starving in Indonesia, at girls being killed in India, at all human suffering with an eye toward Christ, knowing He is the only Answer that will help them.

But, sin?  Indulging in sin on the internet?  It may tempt, but, Christian, keep in mind, the world is watching.


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