Friday, June 06, 2008

Internet Anonymity Series

David Anderson at More than Words has provided an interesting series on Internet anonymity. While I don't fully agree with him (otherwise I wouldn't post pseudonymously) he has a number of thought-provoking posts on the issue:
Ultimately, my own commentary on this issue is as follows: if you are posting anonymously, pseudonymously, or even simply un-disciplinably, consider your motivations. I believe that there can be proper motivations for doing so, but there can also be very improper motivations for doing so.

A few critical observations:

* Paul's example is all very well, but Paul was also - at another time - let down by a basket from the city walls.

* I strongly object to the claim, "Anonymity removes the messenger from the message, which is a move without any Biblical approval." There are plenty of anonymous books of the Bible. While it is clear there that the underlying author is God, a properly motivated anonymous or pseudonymous Christian seeks to point the reader to the Word of God, not the message of man.

* People can be pseudonymous and still be accountable to their family, friends, and elders.

* Anonymous and Pseudonymous dialog has an important purpose, especially in a society in which Christian behaviors such as proselytizing, spanking one's children, and denouncing sin are prohibited, restricted, or at risk of being prohibited or restricted.

* Anonymity/Pseudonymity can provide a layer of prudential protection to Christian evangelists. I cannot think of any good reason, for example, to insist that a Chinese evangelist would have to give everyone his full name and the name of his elders, and their mailing address, in order to satisfy any kind of Christian obligation.

Thus, on the whole, I believe that Mr. Anderson's posts are interesting and thought-provoking, but ultimately not persuasive (at least not for this pseudonymous blogger).

-TurretinFan

3 comments:

natamllc said...

There is profit in all labor the Ancient said.

Apparently Jesus wanted the same anonymity:

Mar 7:24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden.


As always, as I read your insights from daily experiencing life and Life, there is profound wisdom in what you publish today.

Here is a Psalm pasted in its entirety because it basically says the same thing as your words.

I paste this Psalm to note to the reader how "similar" you and the Spirit of God think on many matters already established in the Scripture. I guess one can know one by the Books they read and how it shows up in all they publish on subjects laid out before one! So knowing their name may be important for some accomplishments. Here, I would agree, it's not necessary. What is necessary is the Spirit of God behind the words we choose to publish.:::>

Psa 39:1 To the choirmaster: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. I said, "I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence."
Psa 39:2 I was mute and silent; I held my peace to no avail, and my distress grew worse.
Psa 39:3 My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
Psa 39:4 "O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!
Psa 39:5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
Psa 39:6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
Psa 39:7 "And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
Psa 39:8 Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
Psa 39:9 I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it.
Psa 39:10 Remove your stroke from me; I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
Psa 39:11 When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin, you consume like a moth what is dear to him; surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah
Psa 39:12 "Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.
Psa 39:13 Look away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more!"

Turretinfan said...

Thanks natamllc!

Anonymous said...

I do not have a problem with anonymity or pseudonymity on the internet. Sensible folks will not listen to anonymous attacks and charges that lack obvious credibility (back up by reference to articles, etc.). I agree with the points you make in answer to the critic of anonymous posts.
--Godith