Monday, January 28, 2008

Anonymity

I thought long and hard before I got my vanity plate - PASTR D. Did I want people to know that I am a pastor? Do I need to be more careful and courteous on the road? Do I need to be more cautious about obeying the speed limits? Do I need to control my temper and watch how I respond to other people's poor driving? I think I do!

Anonymity is a dangerous thing. Individuals who are part of a rioting mob will do things they would never do on their own. Kids veiled by the dark of night will vandalize property and spray obscene graffiti on walls. People driving their cars are likely to make angry faces, sarcastic remarks or nasty gestures at people in other cars - as long as they feel anonymous.

The Bible says, "...men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil." (John 3:19)

Anonymity is one of the reasons telemarketers can be so annoying - you will never meet them and wouldn't know them if you did.

Anonymity is one of the dangers of the internet. People view explicit materials or engage in suggestive communications over the internet because they feel safe in anonymity.

Anonymity may make people feel free to misbehave because they think they cannot be brought to account. If you are anonymous, who will call you down about your bad behavior? (Maybe that is why it bothers people so much to think that the government might listen in on their phone conversations - but what are they talking about?)

Anonymity is dangerous because it encourages people to act on their base impulses. They think that they will not be singled out and punished, but anonymity is only an illusion. God is not confused by crowds or blinded by darkness. He knows us as individuals and He knows both our deeds and our thoughts. We would do well to always remember that - especially when we start to feel anonymous.
(Mark 4:22-23) For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.
23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

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