The Death of Meme Theology
By: Cam Triggs
I've had it happen a dozen times. I respond to a Facebook post or Twitter thread dismantling some false statements about Christianity, and then someone responds with a MEME. No, not a book, reputable quote, article, or peer-reviewed research… but a meme. These memes often depict stereotypes, characterizations, and blatant fallacies concerning the Christian faith. Sadly, they are also the worst of quality… fuzzy memes with shallow logic. It's the worst. Even scarier is the blind allegiance and trust someone has towards these viral graphics.
I understand this cultural phenomenon. Of course, it is easier to run with a two-second message rather than listen to a two-hour lecture or read a two-hundred-page book. However, these memes are not good sources for intellectual exchange. They add absolutely nothing to most conversations. When challenged with research, history, and logic, many memes crumble like dry cornbread.
A few questions could actually save you the intellectual embarrassment of relying on such poor sources. Simply think and ask:
- What is the origin of this graphic?
- Can it stand the test of peer-reviewed research?
- Are there any scholars who agree or disagree?
- Is it logical?
- Is it historical?
- Where is the burden of proof?
- Is it biased?
- What presuppositions are left unfounded?
You can't make good arguments with sound conclusion relying on a picture produced for propaganda. No, not all memes are false or malicious. Some may actually point to truth and promote accurate information. Regardless, no meme should be a foundation for rejecting or accepting a belief. There is too much left uninvestigated or researched. This leaves people unable to accurately and adequately articulate what they believe.
Family, if there really was a malicious conspiracy theory out to destroy us all, I fully expect it would be hidden within the confines of a book versus fuzzy memes and poorly produced YouTube videos. Think about it; where would you put secret information? Online, where people are passing off poorly cited information? Or in a book, where few people are reading and actually fact-checking sources?
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently did a study that indicated “fake news” travels faster than facts. This is why we need to truly research the information we access online. More importantly, we need receipts for every claim made.
Ladies and gentlemen, let's not amuse ourselves to death with inaccurate presumptions being created by someone with troll-like tendencies and endless time to waste. We need to reach deeper and research widely. Take a look. It's in a book. Read widely and critically. It’s bad practice to get your worldview from a meme.
As lead pastor of Grace Alive Church, Cam has a heart for Jesus and for the city of Orlando. He hopes to see people discover the greatness of Jesus through Grace Alive.
He graduated from the University of Central of Florida as a religious studies major and also received additional training at Reformed Theological Seminary-Orlando. During his time in Orlando, he made great friends and developed a passion for ministry in the Beautiful City.
More importantly, he is married to his beautiful best friend Tymara Triggs and the proud father of Cameron Triggs II and Charis Triggs.