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Pardon the bloated metaphor, but imagine for a moment that the Internet is a buffet. A lot of what's served is lukewarm macaroni and cheese, passable but forgettable. Sometimes you stumble upon a dish that is both delicious and good for you. Buzzfeed is cotton candy, The Economist steamed broccoli. And Christianity Today—well, you can decide what culinary comparison fits best by the end of this editorial.
Recently, it seems, someone on the wait staff put out a heaping plate of sour candy. We are all going back for more, and it's making us quite sick.
Call it the tart deliciousness of moral outrage. From mayors' sex scandals to pastors' oddball comments to judges' incoherent rulings, we are reminded 24/7 of the extent of human folly. If anything, a nonstop news cycle gives us nonstop proof that sin pervades every person and institution. In the words of G. K. Chesterton, original sin "is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved"—and tweeted, we might add. There is no shortage of reasons to be outraged.
When justice is dashed and human dignity is maimed, anger is our right response. But what we do with that anger is the line between wisdom and our own folly. Increasingly, it seems, many of us are using it to show our social media and blog followers that we are on the right side of contentious issues. Who knew that being offended tasted so good?
Two recent examples of outrage from online Christendom: As the world welcomed Prince George Alexander Louis this July, some Christians reacted by harrumphing that secular media were inconsistent in calling him the Royal Baby, not the Royal Fetus. "How grand that the clump of cells in Kate's womb has now, as of today, crossed over the threshold of personhood!" snarked Baptist blogger Owen Strachan on Twitter. Strachan's pro-life point is well taken. But his reaction carried the whiff of a party pooper, out to set straight everyone who was simply ...