Outrageously Wrong

ideology outrage social media thought truth May 17, 2022

Holding to the truth when error screams in your face.

Outrage seems to be the language of the day. If you say something with enough force, many emojis (since you are too lazy to find real words), and an abundance of bandwagon hashtags, your cause de jour may trend. Copy and paste, retweet, and forward… you can start a movement. 

Back in the day when email was a new invention someone dubbed it as “spreading darkness at the speed of light.” This is even more true today when spontaneous beats are thoughtful. Speaking of spontaneous, have you signed up for BeReal yet? (Most of you haven’t… I know since I only have one friend on the app… and he doesn’t respond. It works by sending users a simultaneous once-a-day push notification declaring it is “time to BeReal”. A two-minute timer counts down; users must let the app take a picture with their smartphone camera and then upload it to BeReal.) But I digress. 

Two weeks ago there was a leak by a Supreme Court lackey which sparked outrage: on the right, they were outraged that there was a leak, and on the left, they were outraged at the thought that the Supreme Court might overturn federal support for abortion. “This is wrong…” we scream. Before you throw your toys out of the crib/cot, remember that it is quite possible to feel outraged and to be wrong. Yet, outrage has become almost fashionable, squelching dialog through undeniable Instagram posts or foolproof tweets. 

Yet history is replete with examples where noise and outrage triumphed over truth. Mob marketing aims to stir the passions of crowds while leaving their brains untouched. I know each side likes to tout clever arguments to feign an air of intellectual honesty, but outrage is normally an indicator of ideology, not clear thought. As an antidote to mass error, we need to know our truth. 

Here’s a shocking interchange where truth was drowned by outrage; it comes from John 18 and 19.

37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”

Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”

Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”

Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!

Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”

Someone without fault was crucified. Now that’s outrageous. The leaking of the Supreme Court's internal documents appears to be aimed at sparking outrage, and it has succeeded. What are you outraged about? I pray that history finds you on the right side of the truth rather than on the blunt end of social media outrage. I hope that, unlike Pilate, you can hold the line against the instant screams of the crowd when something happens that goes against their ideology.