On Beating the Horse to Death and Playing With Fire

July 11, 2006 — 16 Comments

Do any of you remember the yo-yo fad? If you’re over 16, you probably remember almost everyone you knew had a yo-yo, especially the “brain” yo-yo that came up by itself. In fact, I actually have one sitting in my room, unused with no string anywhere to be found. That was a fad.

Do any of you remember those annoying little furballs called “Furbies” that disintegrated your brain cells every time you had a conversation with it? Once again, another fad. It seems there’s always something new, whether it be a Cabbage Patch Kid or a slinky. But sometimes, fads grow out of their fad stage and move on to something bigger.

Blogs are one of the best examples of fads graduating to become something much more. I don’t want to talk about blogs in general, but rather I want to talk about a blog-related fad that graduated. Unfortunately, this graduate is no A-plus student. She has caused many to perish, many to hurt, many to reap the consequences of having made her acquaintance. Her name is MySpace.

I know I need not get into all the trauma and heartache MySpace has caused those who decide to make her acquaintance. Whether it be a relationship that turned into murder, a kidnapping, robbery, and assault or the thousands of cases of lying, attack on character, and gossip. I don’t need to get into personal stories of those who are addicted to MySpace, wasting hours on the site, facing bad friends, terrible ads, and “sickos” instant messaging or emailing them. That’s all been said and done. I don’t think I need to prove to you that MySpace has been the place where police go to in order to find school shooting plans. I do not need to prove to you that MySpace has hurt many, whether it be physically or emotionally, day after day.

But I must be fair — many other sites including Xanga, Facebook, and Blogger can have the same issues. But the unfortunate thing is that MySpace is the king of problems. It, just like the other sites, is inherently evil. It’s run by humans, and humans mean sin. Yet we can limit the amount of evil and sin, and MySpace shows no signs of making any effort to make the site a safer and cleaner site. They do not want permanent or effective safety precautions put in because it will make the site harder to use, and they will probably lose many of their users. Then again, temporary fixes are not the ultimate answer, but I’ll get into that later.

What are the problems with MySpace?

The Setup of MySpace

MySpace is ingenious, really. It has just exploded over the past few years, and the reason is it’s setup. It has email, private messaging, comment sections, a place to put your “blogs,” an easy way to upload pictures, and lots of really ugly site designs which people really seem to enjoy just because it feels more like a homemade site. For many readers, it shows passion behind the words. Personally, I call it ugly.

This setup shows the dumbing down of kids. These sites are extremely hard to read, and show similarities to a high schoolers locker. Ads litter the site, making it hard to concentrate on the words, which usually contain vulgar language, crude jokes, provocative photos, and all around foul mouths. This is the majority of MySpace accounts, which have provided a place for people to say and do as they please without facing anyone in person.

I really want to say that blogging is inherently evil, and not just MySpace and it’s users. I probably can say that, but unfortunately, MySpace is providing a place for it’s users to enhance their sinful lifestyles in the easiest way possible. You can do it on a Xanga account and you can do it on a Blogger account. You can even do it with a regular website. But MySpace provides the easiest way to do it, allowing you to run towards sin with no bumps or barriers along the way. In essence, MySpace provides an ideal breeding ground for all types of problems, from kidnapping to robbery to lying to gossip. The proof for this rests within newspapers across the country. If you don’t believe me, go to Google News and type in “Myspace.”

Unfortunately, many still will not agree that MySpace or Xanga or Blogger are part of the issue. Many hold the view that they are not to blame for any of the problems we have seen emerge since 2003 and earlier. It is the view that the users and the users parents are the only ones to blame versus the view that the users, parents, and the site are all pieces of the puzzle and elements of the issue.

Our sinful nature is probably the number one issue, and all can agree on that point whether you believe MySpace is part of the problem or not. Since Adam and Eve’s first sin, we have been living in a fallen world. A world where sin abounds, and where law is held in disdain. People thumb their nose at God, and ignore His creation as a witness to His existence. There is no fear of God, no respect for parents or authority, only a rebellion against all rules, regulations, and revelations from God–His Word.

Can It Be Fixed?

The question is, of course, can these issues of sin be fixed? Can we change MySpace and end the problems of assault, battery, gossip, and pornography? The answer is an emphatic “no.” Changing MySpace will only temporarily fix the issues. It will suppress them, which is a good thing. In fact, MySpace reform will probably save many lives. Raising the age required for joining and having a way to verify age will save lives. Having better watchdogs on the site will save many lives. Working to remove any and all bad material will save many lives.

But only temporarily.

As Christians, we know that sin is not going to be “fixed.” All humans, as we know, have fallen short of the glory of God, which is perfection. We cannot be as perfect and holy as God is. No one has followed God’s laws perfectly, and all have sinned. And will continue to sin.

The unfortunate thing about this is the fact that God has told us that all who sin deserve punishment. God must be a just God, and he must give us the punishment that we deserve – death. This death is eternal – hell. No one wants that. But as most of us know, Christ, God’s son, came as a sacrifice for many so that we can live. He died in our place, took our punishment, and allowed God to serve justice so that we might live. What we must do is repent and put our faith in Jesus Christ.

That’s the only way MySpace, Xanga, and Blogger will be fixed – when it’s users repent of their wrongdoing and put their faith in the Savior. From the looks of things, that’s not going to happen anytime soon, unless we get out their and seek and save the lost. It’s up to you – are you ready to reform MySpace alone, or are you ready to regenerate those around you, changing even more that MySpace?

I’m done with this issue for awhile. A long while.

Tim Sweetman

Posts

Tim Sweetman is a young writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

16 responses to On Beating the Horse to Death and Playing With Fire

  1. Tim,

    I agree with you whole-heartedly about MySpace. I think the site is used for wrong purposes. I think parents need to regulate their kid’s internet time. All that said, though, I don’t think there is anything inherintly wrong with MySpace. It is only by the grace of God that any one of us does not have a blog that turns into a MySpace. It isn’t having the MySpace that is the issue. As long as there is depravity, there will be people that post terrible things on the internet. The issue isn’t to attack MySpace or MySpacers, the issue is getting to their hearts and showing them sin. We aren’t wrestling with flesh and blood (or a website in this case), but against the spiritual forces of darkness in this age.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is why should we get caught up in MySpace, which is only one manifestation of what sinful man is capable of?

    ~Nella

  2. Tim-

    I admit, I have been getting a bit tired of your constant “rants” (for lack of a better word) about MySpace. But I’m glad to see that you’ve finally realized the core issue: sin. It is certainly true that MySpace makes things very easy-it was set up so that it is easy to find your long lost friends from camp, California, etc. That system, however, has fallen victem to explotation by perverts. So in some respects MySpace deserves the attention that you’ve been getting it–it is a system that is set up unintentially to create this problem. But the bigger problem, as you say, is the people who use the system. Google and Yahoo! both have less then clean pages and members. In MySpace these people have found an easier route.

    So in short–I agree with you. And am glad that this has been laid to rest for the moment.

  3. I guess what I’m trying to say is why should we get caught up in MySpace, which is only one manifestation of what sinful man is capable of?

    That’s why I’m done with this for awhile.

    I admit, I have been getting a bit tired of your constant “rants” (for lack of a better word) about MySpace. But I’m glad to see that you’ve finally realized the core issue: sin.

    I had to laugh when you said that, but thanks, and yes, I had been trying to say that all along, but really haven’t taken the time to sit down and pound out an article that really spells everything out very clearly. I think I’ve finally done that.

  4. Tim,

    Great post! Glad you cut to the quick of bringing up the heart of the issue which is sin. However, your article is somewhat incomplete.

    There are sinners saved by grace, on MySpace. You need to address those brothers in sisters in Christ and exhort them to have discernment. Giving the world moral discernment will be of little use if their hearts are spiritually dead, but for the Christians whose new nature has replaced the old – discernment would do well for their soul.

  5. I’ve talked about that in the past…especially in one of my earliest posts on MySpace. Really, I don’t see why Christians should be taking part in MySpace, but that’s my personal opinion. Discernment isn’t enough on MySpace – shoot, I had this Xanga account just to comment on a Xanga, and I’ve had some weird/bad comments come from that. MySpace is even worse.

  6. “But I must be fair — many other sites including Xanga, Facebook, and Blogger can have the same issues. But the unfortunate thing is that MySpace is the king of problems. It, just like the other sites, is inherently evil. It’s run by humans, and humans mean sin.”

    Why is it that MySpace is the king of problems? Because there are well nigh 90 million registered users on MySpace, and it controls 80% of the ‘social networking’ sites.

    The highway system is run by Humans, ergo, it’s sinful. Food is farmed by humans, so it must mean sin. The police department is run by Humans, so it must be evil.
    Whats different with MySpace?

    This is the majority of MySpace accounts, which have provided a place for people to say and do as they please without facing anyone in person.

    And the difference between blogger and myspace is?

    Glad this issue is being put to rest.

  7. But Tim why don’t we all just get a MySpace and “create culture”. (Said with a slight tone of sarcasm based on previous conversations.)

  8. Tim,
    I agree with you whole heartedlee. I don’t think My Space is a good place to be. This is the weird thing. I know a police man that is on My Space. My youth leader is on MY Space. My youth leader says, “Go to my web site for more inforrmation.” Okay so they go to his web site. Lets say they push the wrong button by accident they are at a diffrent persons web stie with hored pictures and wrong things that some one has said. That is just not good. I mean my youth leader is baseclly just leading them to sin but not on purpose. So I am glad like every one else that you brought that up.

  9. Hey Tim,

    If you don’t remember me, I am James from BSF. Oh, yea…that guy… :-)

    Anyway, I did not like myspace, that is wy I started my website on blogger.com,

    If you would like to visit my site that would be great…but remember to leave a comment.
    jamessaberin.blogspot.com

    Thanks man,
    James

  10. Tim,

    I had a My Space account until last month. I had one to connect with my students when I was still a student minister. But I just couldn’t support it because of the junk on it. I have no space now!

  11. So–would any of this be different if Christian parents read their kids MySpace pages every day? My children have led two other kids to Christ online–but it involved dealing with discussions of SERIOUS sin. Marcia and I were as involved as we knew how to be back then. (That was before I learned about new tools like RSS.)

  12. I agree with you guys that parents shud keep a tab on their kids activities online and even when kids play online games it is imperative that parents keep a wtach on that and if possible encourage their kids to play scientifically simulating games.

    alex

    http://wonderwhizkids.com/Applets/Applets.html

  13. I completely agree with you. I had a Myspace for a while but I got tired of all the junk on it. It opens up the mind to all kinds of wrong things. I was convicted about it so I deleted it. I could no longer support it. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. It’s good to see people on the web trying to make a difference and standing up for what they believe in. Keep up the good work

  14. I want to thank you for posting this about Myspace… I, unfortunately, know firsthand what it can do to young people… I was caught up and lured into it for about 1- 1/2 years, and I’m telling you… it destroys all aspects of your Christian life. The more you use the site the more you are lured deeper into sin, and then, its just that much harder to get out/away. I am so grateful to my parents for discovering mine (because I was not supposed to have one in the first place, that was my first mistake) and forcing me to delete it and for now monitering any time spent online. I now have no-space because I do not think that ANY online space should be supported that allows people to say basically whatever they want, and that allows anyone to access personal information. Anyway… I am just thankful that with the help of my parents and my God, I escaped from the pit of Myspace… I hope that maybe your posting will rescue others.

    Saved By Grace,
    Hannah

  15. Parents shud keep a tab on the childrens activities on the net and they shud make sure that he browses informative sites more than fun ones.

  16. i will have to say that i know that this is a very old issue.. and i am sure that it has been beaten to death.. for one i will not admitt to being the best or even closest thing toward being the role model christian.. in fact pretty much the only main thing that makes me differnt from the joe blow out on the street is that i believe in jesus christ and love him with all my heart.. i am not that old but i will have to say that in the short amount of time that i have lived and the short amount of time that i either have or dont have left on this earth i will have to say one thing.. if you are searching for evil you will always find it. i am willing to bet that if i type in to google christian that on one of the web sites that it pulls up will be some type of adult site. does this mean that google is evil.. no.. it just gave me a list of sites that had the word i was looking for in it. the same can be for any thing on the world wide web. myspace included yes there are many many dark and evil sites on there. but isnt the path to evil the same.. and the road to him narrow? just closing out your account on myspace isnt proving any thing other than giving up and turning away. in fact i would have to say i would have to support more christians to go on and make myspace less dark and make it a brighter and safer place.. that or lets all just decide to give up on every little thing out there that offends one of us christians out there. make it seem like that it is the root of all evil. we have to face it people nothing out in the world today is safe for us. why ill let you think that one over. lets all be a little more like jesus and be a little more rebelios..

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