Is curiosity good for you?

June 4, 2014

I have always assumed that the answer to the question posed in the title of this post is “Yes.” Sure, curiosity can sometimes get you into trouble when you poke your nose in the wrong places. But in those cases it isn’t the curiosity itself that is at fault so much as a lack of wisdom, thinking that curiosity always needs to be satisfied.

There are lots of things that I am curious about but I know I don’t really need to know. Often I think of questions while I am driving. For instance, I’ll wonder about the etymology of a word, and whether it is related to another word that starts with the same few letters. Or I’ll wonder how something is made, or how some natural process works.

If I’m at a computer when I think of such questions, I often take a few moments to look them up. Or if I still remember the questions by the time I get to a computer, I’ll look them up. But more often they were “idle curiosity” and by the time I get to the computer I remember that I had a question but not what it was. Clearly those aren’t important matters to me.

A blog post on First Thoughts yesterday calls curiosity “a strain of intellectual intemperance opposed to studiousness.” I have always thought of curiosity as an impetus to study, creating the desire to know more. But Gregory Pine points out that “scholastic theologians saw curiosity as a wayward pursuit which impedes the studied application of the mind to worthy things.”

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Why blogs are better than Facebook

September 2, 2012

For years I have had a circle of virtual friends. We “met” at worldmagblog, later renamed World Community. We gathered daily, or as often as time or interest allowed, to discuss news, issues, events in our personal lives, faith, and anything else that we chose to talk about.

Some of us got in touch with each other directly through email. We sent cards (real ones, mailed from one person to the next for a genuine non-virtual signature) to someone getting married. Some of us have even met in person, when travel plans included a stop near where someone else from the blog lived. Gifts have been given. Many prayers have been sent up for each other.

It was a constantly shifting community, with new people joining and others drifting away. But it was tight enough that when one regular didn’t show up for quite a while, someone else became concerned enough to find out where she lived to make sure she was OK. It didn’t take the place of our in-person relationships, but when there were joys or griefs in our lives, it was one place we went to share our happiness and receive the comfort of knowing others cared.

I put all this in the past tense, because this past week, World Magazine informed our community that they were no longer going to host our daily gatherings. Their new site has a policy of comments by subscribers only, and no open threads (i.e. commenting is expected to be relevant to a particular news story). They suggested social media such as Facebook for the purposes we had used their open threads for.

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The ethics of blogging

October 1, 2008

Yesterday WorldMagBlog posted a list of 10 Commandments for Christ-like blogging that had been published at ChristianToday.com. For the most part I think their list is good, although I do not see a need to take one day a week off from blogging to honor the Sabbath, any more than I take one day a week off from reading. And even if I thought I might be tempted to use the web to commit or permit adultery in my mind, I see that as an internet issue but not specifically a blogging issue.

Like at least one other commenter at WorldMagBlog, I came up with my own list of ten, which I repost here:

Tell the truth. Do not misuse statistics, cherry-pick data, or otherwise use misleading information to make your point. Do not misquote others or take their statements out of context in a way which makes them appear to hold a view which is not theirs.

When you discover (or have pointed out to you) that you have made a mistake, admit it, apologize for the error, and correct it so that future blog visitors will have the correct information.

Use the blog to promote ideas, not yourself.

Oppose the ideas of others where you think they are wrong, but do not attack the other people themselves. Remember that our true enemies are not other people but spiritual powers (Eph. 6)

Do not post others’ ideas as your own, or post copyrighted material without permission (except to the extent normally allowed in any other form of writing).

Do not let blogging turn you away from direct personal interaction with people around you, distracting you from their needs, or from your need for those relationships.

Remember to look for the good and for laughter. There is much that is serious in this world that needs serious attention, but there is also much that is good to celebrate, and everyone needs some laughter in their lives.

Don’t try to get that laughter by making fun of others.

Remember to give thanks to God for the mind He gave you to think and to blog with, and for the amazing technology He enabled other minds to create, that lets us do this thing called blogging.

Whatever you do, on-blog or off-blog, do all to the glory of God.