You would have to be living under a log in the forest or in some remote backwater of the world to not know anything about the current conversations concerning free speech. This issue has gained momentum with the Tech Giants releasing their hounds of “fact checking” upon people’s posts. This fact checking is seen as censorship; censorship is viewed as wrong; the antidote promulgated is free speech – the inalienable right of every human to express their opinion without repercussion.
What do we make of such conversations, particularly from a Christian perspective?
This question is relevant. I have had debates on Social Media over this topic. Other Christians I have listened to hint at the fact that the absolutist position on free speech is necessary for the Church to be able to evangelise. Along with this, the question of censorship is raised and it is always viewed negatively.
So, what should be the Christian’s view on this free speech phenomenon?
Well, it is my contention that we should have no part of it. It is an evil to be shunned. It is anti-God. It is unBiblical. It destroys, it does not build. It is one more of those wolves in sheep’s clothing that will lead to the gates of Hell and not to the arms of God.
To say such things, I will immediately be labelled as the right-wing, fascist, red-neck. After all, such a position runs counter to the impetus of the modern-day culture and to those providing the catalyst for that movement. Herein, though, should be our first hint that something is wrong. Labelling language is universally condemned, is it not? One cannot pigeon-hole another. That is a supposed absolute of modern debates. Well, yes, maybe – unless, of course, you dare expose the erroneous aspects of the philosophy and actions of those pushing the current bandwagons-of-change. At that point, there is no amnesty, rather pigeon-holing, defamation, and a no-holds-barred approach are demanded. As stated, this should be our first hint that something is wrong. When those doing the demanding cannot and will not live by their own mantras, alarm bells should ring.
The real challenge is where to begin in critiquing this error. It has become so pervasive that no one questions the legitimacy of the statements anymore. Thus, as a Christian, I find once more that the only place to start is with God and the attributes of His being.
In the beginning, God spoke. In speaking, God created the world. In creating the world, God imposed His order upon that world. For the good order of its inhabitants, God revealed His Law and his standards so that Man could and would live in fellowship with God and each other. Man rebelled against God, which brought about a state of war. On one side, God and is people. On the other side, Satan and his people.
At this point, two divergent views come to the fore. Those standing with God, proclaim what God has revealed. These proclamations touch every area of life, but they always begin with God’s absolute sovereignty and His inalienable right as Creator to be Lord of His creation. The others, following Satan, have two primary lines of thought. The first, is a subtle suggestion, as Satan did in the Garden, “Did God really say?” and thereby questions not only God’s right to speak and reveal, but the very veracity of these actions. The second line amounts to much the same thing, but this is the ramped-up-on-steroids version. Here, the reality of God is vehemently denied and, therefore, those who speak on God’s behalf are ostracised as “loons”, “myth hunters”, “remnants of a bygone era” or, as we see at present, ‘those who are so dangerous that they must be silenced’—yes, all in a climate of “free speech” and “tolerance”!
With this said, let us look at the current debate and draws some lines from what we have said above to the things being pronounced in the free speech debate today.
Firstly, and this will seem bizarre to some, we need to look at the conjoined topics of definitions and the authority by which those definitions are made and on which they stand. I have started with some definitions and a basic summary of my worldview. This is the worldview, the interpretive paradigm for looking at and making sense of reality, that God has revealed in Scripture. This is where I stand, and I can do no other. Yet, as my summary shows, there are those who oppose. There are those who question not only God’s right to speak, but His right to exist.
Thus, and this is very important, the Bible states that God alone, as King and Creator, has the right and authority to define, to name, to delineate, to demarcate, to delimit, and to determine, and so forth, as He sees fit. As an example, God determined to make Man in His image. This Man, He did make in his Image. God named him Adam. God defined Man as head of creation and different from the animals. God also made another Man, thus God delineated between male Man and female Man. On brining female Man to male Man, Adam was given the privilege of naming his wife and he named her Eve. He had the right as head to use a derived authority to do so. However, God placed a demarcation on Adam. Adam never was God. He had a derived authority that was rightly his to use, but it was never an absolute authority by which he could challenge God or determine his own norms for living.
No doubt this may seem a bit heavy to some, but the salient points are these: A. Words have meanings and definitions – despite the airy-fairy world of the nondescript being forced upon us – and that for any conversation, act of speech, to happen, clear definitions must be present; B. Acts of speech require a degree or an element of authority for them to be credible. This authority can be innate or derived, but it must be present.
If we look at the current statements regarding free speech, we will see that, for the most part, there is a lack of specific definition and there is a lack of genuine authority. For example, when someone flies the free speech flag today, are they arguing for a person’s right to speak or to say or both? This is a vital question. To speak, looks at a person’s right to engage their mouth. To say, focuses upon the content flowing from the mouth.
Let us look at a real-life example of the conundrums. To do this, I would like to look at a small portion of a video posted on Facebook by Marcus Somerville 05/03/21. Marcus is the moderator of the Paul Murray Supporters Group, which, I will clarify as Marcus does, has nothing to do with Paul Murray the television presenter.
On the above date, Marcus posted a video in response to some clamour on the site. In that video, he gave a brief outline as to the purpose of the group. He noted that PMSG concerned itself as a “Conservative Movement” with “Conservative Concepts”. It was a platform for Conservatives / Libertarians / Patriots who want to get together and have free speech.” He went on to outline his concerns that some were “being attacked for sharing their views.” He then stated that, “I am a free speech absolutist. I believe in everyone’s right to speak their minds without fear or favour.” He added, “You might think they’re and idiot. You may think they’re a moron—maybe they are!—but that does not give you the right to silence them.” At this point, the discussion turned to laud the internet as the ‘best idea for destroying bad ideas’ because all the relevant information for decision making was out there on the Net.
The first thing to note is the declaration. On what basis is one a ‘free speech absolutist’. The above text gives a definition, but the aspect of authority is never addressed, it is merely assumed. It is at this point that we encounter the first deviation from the Christian worldview outlined above. God is no longer the one true source of authority, no, this now belongs to fallen, autonomous Man for he has stolen the King’s crown or so he thinks. Autonomous man, as an individual, now has the self-appointed right to make any proclamations he so wishes, on any topic he wishes, for whatever purpose he so wishes, and any such proclamations are non-contradictable.
Second, ‘everyone has the right to speak their minds – now addressing content – without fear or favour.’ This content, too, is above contradiction and judgement, even above mere assessment! Again, this attacks the Christian worldview. God defines. That is His right and His alone. God defines truth, for God is Truth. God defines ethics and seeks from Man a moral life; one judged to be so by God’s Law. Is it then acceptable that a person can speak falsely without being held to account? If this speaking without consequence is indeed correct, how then do we have defamation cases, as just one example?
Thirdly, one of my favourites – which has been raised several times – “You might think they’re an idiot / moron; maybe they are!” Please grasp this point. Here, one posits, straight faced and without a single guffaw, that not only perceived idiots and morons, but actual, bona fide idiots and morons, have the right to hold the public’s ear without any consequence. Seriously? Unless I have utterly lost the plot, the terms idiot and moron are pejoratives, speaking of those whose ideas may not necessarily be in the public’s interest, yet we will let them speak!
It is at this point that we must see the utter nonsense of this unfettered free speech bandwagon. We have, here, a relatively smart man espousing the fact that idiots have the right to be heard in the public square. However, he is not alone. Arguments of a similar vein have come forth from other social commentators and it beggars belief!
The irony here is that we have people in the public square complaining about the happenings in society and how certain forces seem to be at work for the deconstruction of our society and our way of life; yet these same people are defending the rights of idiots and morons to be heard, read ‘sow their destructive ideologies.’ If this were all, it would be beyond the pale, but … these people then engage on social media sites with the idiots and take part, not in edifying conversation, but slanging matches. You see, in this scheme there is no truth, there is not an arbiter of truth, the whole argument is about Humanism – the right of one man to espouse whatsoever he will. In this system, words, speech, conversation, edification, enlightenment, truth, justice, education and more, give way to an argument that is really about nothing more than someone’s right to exercise their pterygoid and digastric muscles. Content and definition are gone. Authority means nothing. It is, therefore, when all is said and done, the simple right of the individual to flap his or her gums for which we are arguing.
This point must be understood. When this current argument is couched in these terms, it is nothing less than a pernicious evil that will lead to destruction. How so? Well, the best answer that can be given comes in the form of a question: Is all speech truth, edifying, wise, and correct? In other words, looking at our world and all the hurt, mayhem, and disfunction that is present, we must ask, ‘What role has evil speech played in bringing about these current circumstances?”
At this point, we are back to worldviews. Having denied absolute truth in our culture we have begun spreading poison under the guise of free speech. This poison seems liberating to many because it ostensibly empowers them to raise their voice and be heard in the big, wide world. Yet, this often leads to more poison being spread, and before too long, that big, wide world outside begins to wither and die.
Think here, for analogous purposes only, of how Hitler made the nation feel important by putting people into a uniform. As a more relevant example, we may think of the French Revolution and how the term “Citizen” was used to bring about a similar feeling of importance. In the same way, Social Media has made people feel important. People feel that their voice can be heard and is heard and from that fact alone they derive some sense of worth; but it is all smoke and mirrors. To exercise one’s pterygoid and digastric muscles does not give a person worth; it does not legitimise their position; it does not give them a true standing of importance; it does not give them respect; and it most certainly does not give them meaning.
As stated, the oxymoronic status that is evidenced in this free speech debate is bewildering. People are arguing for everyone’s right to say what they want, then scrambling about in a vain attempt to undo the mess caused by those very words. The absurdity can be seen in this illustration: Society allows a certain proportion of the populace to light fires on hot, wind days, precisely so that the rest of society can run around attempting to put out the spot fires before they become uncontrollable and burn down everything that those people hold dear.
This is the sad reality that must eventuate when absolutes are denied and rejected. Instead of unity, we have disunity. Instead of building, we tear down. Instead of safety, we expose to danger. Instead of understanding, we have confusion. Instead of peace, we have chaos. Instead of life, we become lovers of death. Instead of prosperity, we have want. Instead of friendship, we have hatred—and a house divided can never stand.
If you are confused by my point, ask yourself these questions: What does it mean to tell a lie? What does it mean to deceive? What does it mean to defame someone? What does it mean if something or someone is false? How does one commit perjury? What does it mean to prevaricate? What is mendacity? Maybe, we need to make the language more colloquial. What is a Porky, a Whooper, a Fib? What is implied when one ‘fudges the facts’, gives someone a ‘bum steer’ or ‘yanks someone’s chain’?
All these terms, well most, are used by our society on a regular basis and they have to do with a blatant untruth or the manipulating of truth. Let me now ask, “How many of you take joy from being deceived or being on the receiving end of a lie?” Scene. Mother ringing father while dad is at work. “Oh darling, please pick up a new toy for Johnny on your way home. I caught him telling his first lie today. Isn’t it wonderful! I know, I should have waited till you got home, but I just could not contain my excitement.” Yeah, right! So not happening. Yet, in this fool’s paradise of Modernism, we deny truth so that people can lie to us and deceive us.
Back to worldviews. This country was never truly a Christian country, but there is no doubt that this country was founded upon certain Christian principles. Those principle gave us meaning, purpose, and cohesion. Prime among those beliefs were the existence of the God of the Bible, truth, justice, and punishment. If you do not like these terms, substitute right and wrong. We knew that there was truth. We knew that there were errors, lies, and falsehoods. We knew that avoiding lies and deceit were good things. We knew that telling the truth, despite some consequences, was always the right and noble thing to do.
Fast forward. We have now jettisoned God. Absolutes do not exist. There is no definition of right or wrong, good or evil, apart from what the State tells you—but that is another article! In fact, you cannot even use the terms “good” and “evil” anymore, because that might impinge upon someone’s individual choices, robbing them of personal peace, and making that one feel poorly about their choice. In this environment, we are back to ‘gum flapping’ for gum flapping’s sake. Words and content do not matter. The consequence of those words is downplayed. All that matters now is that we, too, get our ten seconds of fame by being able to respond on Social Media with derogatory terms, diatribe, and vitriol. There are no cogent arguments, precisely because truth and knowledge have been murdered.
In contrast to this “Land of Confusion”, as Phil Collins put it, we have the Biblical statements. It may surprise some Christians, and non-Christians alike, to realise just how much the Bible has to say about speech and especially the tongue.
Let us start with the Ten Commandments. Most Christians will hold to the fact that these Commandments are still binding upon men. Others, who have only a tacit allegiance to Christianity, will also recognise some authority here. Would it surprise you then to realise that two of these Commandments deal with speech?
Commandment 3: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
Commandment 9: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Both these Commandments are in fact saying much the same thing. The main difference is in the object of the command – Commandment three focuses on God; Commandment nine on man. Both are saying that empty and vain speech, derogatory speech, defamatory speech, and outright lies are evils that are condemned. Now, please understand this point. Many think that to take God’s name in vain is simply to use His name when one, say, hits their thumb with a hammer or when Jesus is invoked in a moment of rage. However, this is an overly simplistic approach to the matter at hand. Vain speech and blasphemy may include those aspects, but they reach farther and deeper. These terms really mean to speak lies about or concerning the being that is the object of your speech. Thus, to misrepresent God or man on any matter means that you have breached these laws. The bearing of “false witness” also carries with it the connotation of deliberately trying to sabotage a person’s life or property by deceit.
If you are reading this as a Christian who believes the Ten Commandments, can you really subscribe to an absolutist position on free speech? If God has said that you do not speak lies regarding His nature and being or that of your fellow man, how then would you justify a position on free speech that not only allows false witness, but encourages it?
Let us now consider some wisdom from the Book of Proverbs:
A worthless person, a wicked man, is the one who walks with a false mouth.
Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious lips far from you.
For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech.
The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverted.
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.
There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.
The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly.
One from Ecclesiastes:
Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him; the beginning of his talking is folly, and the end of it is wicked madness. Yet the fool multiplies words. No man knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will come after him?
One from the Prophet Isaiah:
For a fool speaks nonsense, and his heart inclines toward wickedness, to practice ungodliness and to speak error against the Lord, to keep the hungry person unsatisfied and to withhold drink from the thirsty. As for a rogue, his weapons are evil; he devises wicked schemes to destroy the afflicted with slander, even though the needy one speaks what is right.
When these texts are analysed, it can be clearly seen that Scripture draws a clear line of demarcation, one which touches not only the speech, but the speaker. There are the wicked, the fool, the rogue, and the adulteress. Together they speak smooth words that are folly, madness, wickedness, deceitful, and devious.
Again, the challenge is put forth. If you believe yourself to be a Christian who reverences the Bible as truth, how do you reconcile these truths with the idea that anyone can grab a microphone and enter the public square? Even if you are not a Christian, there must be a tacit acknowledgement of the Scripture’s truth on these points, namely that there are those who speak both foolishly and foolishness. In which case, the question still stands: “Do you want foolish people filling the airwaves?” Even in the quote from PMSG there is reference to morons and idiots. Do we want such ones giving counsel to the naïve in the public square or anywhere for that matter?
Recognising that there are some within the sphere of Christianity who think more highly of the New Testament, let us look there, too, for guidance:
And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.
But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.
Let no unwholesome (rotten, worthless) word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment. … So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
With this survey complete, we are able to see that the Bible speaks with one accord – there is such a thing as evil, worthless, and destructive speech and we are warned, nay, commanded to have nothing to do with it.
Of interest is James’ warning that not many should become teachers. Granted, this is, in the first instance, spoken to the Church, but it has wider application. The teacher as the speaker is warned not to be one who spreads untruths. To inculcate a generation with errant words and ideas is extremely dangerous – it is the spark that starts a bushfire. Combine this with Jesus’ words and we have two warnings about being held to account for careless words and for teaching with worthless words. I will leave you to make application to the idea of free speech as it is peddled today.
Before concluding, something needs to be said concerning the topic of Censorship.
With the absolutist free speech position being pushed in our society, it has become equally important to slam the idea of censorship. Censorship is an evil. Censorship is the immediate enemy of free speech. No society can be truly free, if censorship is in play; and to make the point, countries like China are highlighted.
So, let us navigate our way gently through this sensitive topic. These combined topics must be one of the biggest loads of bull fibs ever dumped on our society. They are nothing less than an extravagant lie, dressed in fancy garb, so as to fool the onlooker. As with most of these issues, the populace is caught in the emotion of the moment and never takes pause to ask questions or to break the idea down to it base concepts.
Let me ask you this: Is it an absolute evil to guard something that is precious? Should, say, a Dutch Master be hung on a lamp post in the rain so that the clamouring hordes of one age might catch a glimpse before it is irreparably damaged or should it be hung in a guarded space so that generations might gaze upon and appreciate the vista?
The more relevant question, “Have you ever drawn a line of demarcation, physically or verbally, in order to protect the vulnerable?”
The point here is very, very simple. Censorship, in its etymology, really denotes the quality of assessing the worth of something and making a decision as to whether it promotes good or not. It does not mean, as so many take it to mean, oppression. As a parent, did you allow your children to drink roundup, down a bottle of aspirin, or attempt to cure their constipation with a good-sized helping of draino? Methinks not. In such situations, you used your knowledge to make the wise choice and, in essence, became a censor to you child. Did you let your child play with fire, hot stoves, or poisonous reptiles? Same answer. Every time you interjected your will and knowledge into such situations, you were acting as a censor. You were guilty of the high crime of censorship or so the moderns would have you believe. What you actually did was protect and enrich both your life and the life of your child. You turned the young and naïve away from harm, pain, suffering, and, yes, even death. Not such a bad thing, methinks!
At this point, we are back to that clash of worldviews. Since the Sixties, Humanism has been on the rise. This is the idea that God is dead or, if He is not dead, He created a closed system and has no personal interaction with His creation. On this basis, Man and his reason become god; these standards become the measure of all things. In this view, Man is unaffected in any way by sin or any concept approximating sin. Man is mature. Therefore, he is able to make correct choices in the moral realm. He can function in an unbiased way. He does not require, in anyway, an external source to guide or guard.
The end of this philosophy is the rampant and indulgent individualism that we see around us today. It culminates in the demand for ultimate freedom for the individual. Society falls from view. Each man becomes king over his little kingdom, the individual life. Concomitant are demands for individual expression; the supremacy of personal choice; ironically, the demand for society to recognise, uphold, and abide by my personal choice; the death of truth as individual opinion must now hold sway; the denial of censorship as the opining individual can never be wrong; and the list could continue.
Over and against this chaotic and anarchistic worldview, we have the Biblical worldview outlined above. God’s worldview says that there are evil speeches and there are naïve people, the combination of which can, and often does, end in disaster. Therefore, I am to be my brother’s keeper. I will not speak evil in his presence nor allow him to hear evil. That is my duty before God as a godly censor. This is not oppression. It is not infantile. It is not treating my brother as a child. It is keeping him safe in a world where there are dangers and pitfalls, many of which he may not be aware. Equally, putting any hint of arrogance to bed, he does exactly the same for me!
We have mentioned worldviews throughout, precisely because they are the nub of the matter. If you listen to the Devil, you will deny God, absolutes, and the idea of man as deficient in any way. Putting this worldview to the test, particularly if you have walked this earth for more than a couple of decades, ask yourself the simple question: “Is life better now”? An honest appraisal must answer, No! Has the Social Media phenomenon of everybody shouting into a microphone brought us to utopia or the edge of the dystopian zombie apocalypse? Is our society or country unified, expectant, prosperous or are we rent, downcast, bankrupt – and I do not just mean fiscally.
We once had a way of life, given to us by God, in which we recognised the dangers and pitfalls that are extant in the world. We were willing to build little fences in order to keep people safe. We did not want people to suffer, as per our analogies above, so we built those little fences; we shepherded, guarded, guided, and we worked hard to keep people from danger – yes, even the dangerous ideas. We did this because God revealed His truth to us in Jesus Christ. We learned to be servants, one of the other, and we benefitted in kind—I cannot be happy if my brother suffers. We learned from the Bible sayings like: Do unto others as you would have done to you.
This is Biblical censorship. It is a censorship that recognises good and evil. It seeks to honour God and protect man. However, we need to recognise another totalitarian type of censorship, one that is prevalent today, but which is largely unrecognised. This censorship, which we shall label ‘suppression’ has no aim other than to silence. It is not interested in debate. It is not interested in truth. It is not interested in absolutes. No, this suppression creates silence amidst the clamouring hordes. “Hang on” you say. “How can there be silence and clamouring hordes?” Good question. First, the clamouring hordes are encouraged, e.g., ten seconds of fame on Facetube or Twittergram. Everyone becomes used to having a voice, but, subtly, certain messages are given more volume, so as to persuade the naïve and garner support. Then comes the silencing. Those not “getting with the programme” are turned down until they are turned off.
We noted at the outset the silencing by the Tech Giants. It has recently been revealed that one such company has a policy to deny the reality of your situation based on the promotion of its ideals. A simple illustration. You take a photo of your fleet of fishing boats. This company thinks fishing is environmentally questionable, so your photo is put in the rubbish bin. Maybe, you just have a fleet of ships, but this company’s ideal is air travel. Your photo is shredded. Your reality does not gel with their ideals, so you are silenced. Another example was the suspending of an account belonging to someone who did some research on voter fraud during the last US election. This person simply sent individuals to photograph the addresses of people who had voted. Many were vacant lots. For putting this information in the public domain, the account was suspended. This is tyranny and silencing. It is not true censorship.
Yet, these Tech Giants are not the only ones guilty of this. Our Governments are becoming more and more tyrannical with their use of suppression. In what is truly a cruel irony, we have people and governments extolling the virtues of free speech, yet at the same time demanding or implementing wide ranging measures for the suppression of speech.
As an unhappy Victorian, let me give some examples from my home State. The Andrew’s government introduced laws on religious vilification, supposedly assuring that I could never be vilified for believing what I do. It then introduced certain things on homosexuality, which run counter to my Christian belief. Now, we have certain conversion laws that make it illegal for me to explain my beliefs on certain topics, even if I am asked by someone for such an explanation. Suppression to silence!
This oxymoronic state exists precisely because God is denied. If there are no absolutes, then there can only be the arbitrary. If the arbitrary holds sway, then so does rampant individualism and fickle governmental policy – until the two collide. When this is the status quo, anarchy must be the outcome. When anarchy is present, society, however that is to be understood, will only be ordered by forceful, tyrannical suppression. In short, some man or government will play god; they will appoint themselves as the determiner of truth, right and wrong, good and evil – all the while denying these very points.
Before concluding, just a few words on Marcus’ statement that the internet is a great place for exposing lies. Again, I would have to respectfully disagree.
Once again, the presupposition of such a statement seems to be that men are willing to think critically about any given issue. This has not been my experience at all. Most people do not think deeply. As we have noted above, we do have the naïve in our society and these do not always show a propensity toward deeper learning. Moreover, the internet is full of lies and deceit. Take as an example two recent instances. One post was in regard to a speech given by Bill Gates to a class of 6th graders or some such. It may have some good points, but the common consensus is that Bill Gates never gave such a speech. Another recent example is of a quote by Cicero. This quote speaks against the enemy within and points out the dangers of the traitor. It is very apt for our day and makes a sound point. However, research suggests that it came from a fictional novel (A Pillar of Iron) based around Cicero and was written by Taylor Caldwell.
These are just everyday examples of the cut and paste methodology that so many people use today. Scan the Net. See something you like. Cut, paste, post, without ever stopping to see whether it is in fact true. Of course, if Bill Gates or Cicero said it, it must be true! Equally, no one is going to plagiarise and then falsify by adding someone else’s name, just to gain more traction, are they? I mean, the Net is above such things. It is a bastion of truth. Just like Leonard said so sarcastically to Penny, “Right, it’s not like they let anyone have a website!”
As a Christian, I can equally point to many web entries on Christian history and doctrine that do not represent the historic, orthodox position of Christianity.
No, the Net is not a bastion of truth and integrity. Just like every other tool man has created, it will be used according to one’s worldview and the ethics determined thereby. It will serve God or it will oppose God. It will speak truth or it will lie.
One last word. It is worth noting that Free Speech, like many other things, is a perversion of Christian truth. The Reformation sought to correct many errors that had come to the Church and World. Central to the Reformation was the fact that God’s Word is not only truth, but it is absolute authority. Consequently, the Reformation gave us the concept that one man armed with God’s Word could ably stand against the fifty-one percent.
In short, as we see today, the vote of fifty-one percent in our modern democracies does not always work for the benefit of a nation. Fifty-one percent are not always right. The governments elected by the fifty-one percent do commit evil and they do act foolishly. Consequently, the Reformation posited that one man armed with God’s truth could stand against the fifty-one percent. Indeed, such a man is under an obligation to stand for the truth and, therefore, has the right to speak out—not on his own authority, but on God’s, not with words and concepts of his own making, but with God’s. Authority to speak and God honouring content is the essence of speech that is truly free.
The modern infatuation with free speech and the opposition to true censorship only serves to prove two things: 1. The enemy has done an exceptional job with its smoke screen; 2. How the mighty have fallen.
Saying that you are a conservative and then saying in the same breath that you are a free speech absolutist just points up the confusion that reigns in our current day. All roads do not lead to Rome, just as all roads do not lead to freedom, peace, and prosperity. The pathway of absolute free speech is a path that will lead only to destruction. If you want proof, turn on your television, look out your front door, or look at the discussions (please read “rant-fests”) on social media.
Absolute free speech is a pernicious evil and it is time that we were awakened to that fact.
The Lord Almighty warned Man to be vigilant at all levels of society, “lest there shall be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood.” This free speech absolutist position is a poisonous root. The carnage caused by the consumption of its deadly fruit is on display for any with a discerning eye.
Lastly, we would do well to remember that, Biblically speaking, speech is rarely free. In fact, errant speech, in particular, is said to come at a great cost – it can cost reputations, it can cost lives, and, yes, it can cost you a positive eternity.
 Now, I wish to be clear here. Although I disagree with Marcus, I have not singled him out for attention because he is worse than others or any such thing. It just so happened that, as this article was bouncing around inside my head and the opportunity to begin writing was presented, this video came into my ken. Equally, when extrapolations are made from these statements, it does not mean that Marcus would subscribe, necessarily, to every option.
 In fact, when you listen to the free speech absolutists, you would think that they are reading straight from the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. In that document, free speech is espoused with very few limitations. Yet, the French Revolution ended in a bloody mess because it was never underpinned by God’s absolutes—but I digress.
 Ex 20:7.
 Ex 20:16.
 Pr 6:12. Literally, with crookedness of mouth. Emphasis added.
 Pr 4:24.
 Pr 5:3.
 Pr 10:32.
 Pr 12:22.
 Pr 6:16–19. One can legitimately infer that the ‘spreading of strife’ may well employ tongue and speech.
 Pr 15:2.
 Ec 10:12–14.
 Is 32:6–7. Note, here, how slander is used as a tool against the one who speaks truth. Have you seen any instances of this during Covid, for example?
 Mt 12:36–37.
 Col 3:8. Interestingly, the Greek term behind the word ‘slander’ is the same word from which we derive our word ‘blasphemy’.
 Eph 4:29.
 Jas 3:1–3:12. Edited.
 As an illustration of this point, think of our television ratings system. The Mature rating is at the extreme end. Porn, nudity, gambling, occult, drugs etc etc are allowable under this label. In short, the Mature are the ones who fill their eyes and minds from the toilet bowl of entertainment. Biblically, the Mature would be the one who knows that this is excrement and would turn himself and his neighbour away from this poison.
 So, for example, in Australia that means that society would have to uphold and abide by 20 Million plus opinions and somehow work through all the resulting conflicts. You can imagine what a nightmare that would be! No imagination necessary – You are living it in stereo baby!
 The true evil in this legislation is that it was premised upon a lie simply to legitimise governmental suppression. Once more, we are back to the topic of speaking evil.
 Deuteronomy 29:18.