Being Godly Pilgrims On The Information Superhighway [1]

Integrated CircuitThe digital age opens up a new world of possibilities for Christian service, but it also presents challenges and temptations that must be addressed. Like it or not, the internet is here for the foreseeable future, and believers must learn to navigate in cyberspace for the glory of God.


Some Pitfalls to Avoid In Our Digital Behavior:


1. Wasting time online or with electronic devices


Opportunities to squander minutes and hours on the internet are legion. Social media use must be carefully regulated (e.g. Facebook & Google+.) As more than one Why We Web conference speaker pointed out, we need to strategically think about our testimony on and usage of these popular sites. Video games, chat rooms, unrestrained news reading, and celebrity gossip sites all pose enormous detriments to purposeful stewardship of time. How many quiet times with the Lord have been disrupted by checking our friends’ Facebook status? Does “Angry Birds” use up time which would be better used praying or reading the Bible?


2. Feeding the flesh


The proliferation of filth on the internet such as pornogrsphy on the web is a well-known epidemic. Many testimonies are being ruined, families are being damaged, and marriages are being wounded by men (and some women) who regularly view porn on the ‘net. Christians must remember that sanctification does not end when we power on our laptops. We must be holy in cyberspace as well as in the physical world. Having said this, the internet can feed the flesh in other ways: gambling sites play upon covetousness and the love of money; social media sites may encourage us to be vain, immodest, and narcissistic. It is perilously easy to pass along gossip or libel through blogs or personal e-mails.


3. The web-generated illusion of omniscience


Prior to the onset of the world wide web there were many things that one did not know off the top of their head. If one wondered what the GDP of Rwanda was in 1982, they needed to go to a first class library and comb through dusty tomes on international demography and economic data. Nowadays, one need merely google “Rwanda’s GDP,” and presto, the answer is at your fingertips. Such easy access to seemingly endless data and factoids gives one a false sense of omniscience. We get the mistaken impression that with the right broadband connection, we can know anything; after all, we are on the “information superhighway” right?. Christians must remember that the web is merely a tool. To really possess wisdom, they must seek it from the Lord (Proverbs 1:7.)


The next post in this series deals with more pitfalls to be avoided in using the internet & digital tools.

This series of four posts are based on Keith Keyser’s final keynote address at the recent Why We Web Conference.

Photo flickr/Creativity103


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