Wednesday, May 10, 2006

No Internet, No God?

There are numerous excellent comments on the post below this one, but this comment by DAG made a very interesting point which I felt was worthy of a post: [edited for length and emphasis]
My question is, if the net is so evil, why allow it at work? The same porn and blogs can be accessed at work as at home.

I believe this rule is based on the presumption that people are in public at work due to the presence of their coworkers and traceable network histories. The idea is that people are less likely to view the darker side of the net while in the public eye than they are in the privacy of their bedroom, and that may well be the case.

But what does that fact say about their communities? I was often reminded in Yeshiva that a person who is willing to do an averah [sin] in private that he would not do in public is illustrating his rejection of G-d. Such a person obviously either believes that G-d can not see him in a closed room OR that he is more afraid of what people think than what G-d wants! Either option represents a true rejection of belief in the power and majesty of G-d.

If the public use of the net is permitted because people will be embarrassed to access inappropriate things in front of others, shouldn't the Rabbonim be much more concerned about what that fact means than attacking the medium used to access the material? Address the disease not the symptoms. Acknowledging that the net poses a much greater danger in private than public IS acknowledging a FUNDAMENTAL lack of bitachon and Yiras Shamayim. If people would abuse the net at home and not at work, they, by definition, do NOT believe in G-d. If this is the case, why are we wasting our time attacking the net? We have a much more basic problem to deal with; an apparent widespread rejection in Orthodox circles of the belief in G-d!

This is the equivalent of attacking the concept of glasses because without them, shortsighted men couldn't see inappropriate material. The solution to such a problem is NOT to outlaw glasses.
I think this is a very good point, even if a bit exaggerated. What does it say about a community where the people are not trusted to make basic decisions regarding their own home, but rather the community feels it has to make the decisions for them? Everyone recognizes the dangers of the Internet, but that does not mean the community should ban it from individuals - rather, it should provide guidance in how to utilize the amazing powers for good that exist online.

Address the disease, not the symptoms is right.