Alan Jacobs has some thoughts on the virtues and vices of blogging, vis a vis the seemingly endless “is religious belief rational” merry-go-round. He says
As everyone knows, the less complex and nuanced the positions on a blog are, the more comments it gets. This is an Iron-Clad Law of the Internet. Blog posts are just too short to deal with the Big Issues, and too likely to be fired off in short order, with minimal reflection and no pre-post feedback from wiser and cooler heads. Andrew Sullivan may think this is a good thing, but I’m not inclined to agree.
I am more sanguine than Alan about the uses of blogging, but I do think he’s right that often, blog arguments are shorter, less satisfying takes on issues that have already been debated in more rigorous arenas. Certainly, with topics as heady and well-discussed as theology and philosophy, you’re dipping your toes into a pool that has already been dived in many times before, and by far abler swimmers than you. I still think there’s something worthy in the attempt, but as a half-baked ruminator myself, I’d have to, wouldn’t I?
Personally, my bigger problem with the Internet is that it simply brings out the worst in me, again and again, and diminishes me in doing so. I sometimes feel like a simple troll. Where in real, face-to-face conduct I might be friendly, on the Internet I might be cold. Where I might be humble, I’m frequently arrogant. Where I may be respectful, I’m often dismissive. Where I might demonstrate equanimity and tact, I’m a shrill partisan. I can’t say exactly why that is, but my guess is that it’s a function of the lack of real human sensory connection. Instead of a face and a voice, I observe only a name, an avatar, and ideas. I say things online I would never, ever say to anyone in real life, and as time goes on and I develop more Internet-only relationships, I worry constantly: who is this person who they think I am?
Funnily enough, all of this has been said before, and said better….