None of this is to say that Twitter is intrinsically evil or that Christians must shy away from it. But it is to say that there are specific ideologies embedded within Twitter that can tempt the Christian with hasty, foolish, people-harming, God-denying words and actions. Those who use it must commit to using it well. Those who commit to using it well must be willing to resist its most troubling ideologies. For Twitter has its way of luring the fool and exposing his folly.
The fool of the book of Proverbs is a vivid illustration of practical atheism, for this foolish man lives as if there is no God and as if God isn’t concerned about human behavior. The fool may not actually deny the existence of the divine, but he practically denies it by choosing to live according to his own way rather than God’s. Though wisdom is available, personified in the form of a woman who cries aloud and begs everyone to follow, the fool chooses to go his own way instead and displays all the devastating consequences of such rebellion.
Solomon’s fool is relevant to every age, and certainly not least to this age when we have such ready access to forms of communication that in any other era would be considered the stuff of science fiction. We have accepted these media hastily and often without carefully examining them to see what ideologies are embedded deep within—ideologies that inevitably attempt to shape us as we use them. While no medium is intrinsically good or evil, each has been formed around certain ideas and certain emphases, some of which will help us and some of which will harm us. For that reason it is wise and good to examine the media we use to see how they are shaping us, not just by their content but also by their form.
A few days ago, as I pondered yet another online battle (which, thankfully, did not involve me), I began to wonder: If Solomon’s fool had been tasked with creating a social media platform, could he have done better than Twitter? Would it even be possible to create a social network that more deeply embeds the particular temptations of the fool? Consider:
- The fool’s social media would encourage its users to speak often. “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (10:19).
- The fool’s social media would provide the context in which a person could destroy himself through hasty, ill-considered words. “The one who guards his mouth protects his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin” (13:3).
- The fool’s social media would emphasize the quantity of people its users follow rather than the quality. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (13:20).
- The fool’s social media would cause its users to interact with foolish people rather than only wise people. “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself” (26:4).
- The fool’s social media would make it impossible to ignore the voice of the fool. “Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge” (14:7).