Unintended Consequences


We all do or say things that later we may come to regret. At the time, we may believe we are doing the right thing, whatever it is, but come to find out that in fact, we hadn’t thought our action through very well before executing it. Some may actually apologize to whomever their target happened to be, others refuse, beliving that they were actually trying to do something good and that sometimes, bad things happen to good people.

What mostly bothers me are those in the later category. These are the ones that when there’s blowback, are often confused at first, then angry, and finally take on a martyr attu=itude as if they are indeed the victim in what they will come to believe is a conspiracy against them. What’s never taken into account are the lives affected, the livihoods possibly destroyed, or the reputations tarnished.

If the old addage, actually a bible verse that became known as the Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). I know it seems strange for an atheist to quite the bible, but there are some philosphical truths that are true no matter the source.

Of course, nothing we see today is new, it’s just that with the advent of global telecommunication (specifically, the Internet) it just seems that we have more bad actors around than there ever have been when all that’s happened is that their reach has bween extended and therefore they have the opportunity to do more harm, intentionally in some cases, than ever before. I make every attempt not to engage with these people. There only purpose is to drag everyone else down to their level and that’s where we enter into those unintended consequences of what we may say or do.

Of course, I‘m guilty of what I’m writing about, just as many reading this may look back and recognize something they’ve said online that may have been in a short fit of anger or frustration.  suspect that I will again, at some time, fall into that trap again. The difference is that I am becoming more aware of those traps that are set.

No one should be trying to destroy another life though based on rumor or uncorroborated  testimony and that seems to be where we are today. How many “news” stories have any of us read or heard about someone that later, after the damage has been done, turns out to be false?  Yes, atheists are as guilty of this as anyone else.

All I’m saying here is stop and  think for a moment or two before saying or doing anything online that may cause some harm to someone that’s not based on actual evidence. Ask yourself if what you’re saying is something you’d actually say to that individual in person if you had the opportunity. That’s  a rule I try to live by and if someone asked me that question, whether I would say the same thing to that persons face as I had say, tweeted them, the answer would be an unconditional yes.

To me, those that don’t consider the consequences are nothing more than sociopaths. We should all avoid those people like the plague because one of us may become their next target.

3 thoughts on “Unintended Consequences

  1. Right. I used the Golden Rule in my brochure on Atheism. The rule is older than the NT and a basic philosophy of many of us. Over 20 years ago, I learned to promptly admit when I am wrong and to apologize or make amends for any harm I may have done. Life got better just from that. The Bible has good stuff in it. Why not point to it? But so does a lot of other literature (without the ‘sin if ya don’t’ parts). I got an ‘adult’ sticker the other day, it says ‘I ignored the online Troll!” Yea, me. 🙂


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