Social Media and Christianity - Part 2

Over the last couple of weeks I have discussed the topic of social media with a few different groups. It has been interesting to note that almost every group is concerned about some aspect of social media. But, more importantly, that most people had not previously to our conversation given in-depth consideration to the effects of social media on their lives. In this post, I would like to discuss a few of the dangers that we discussed.

Echo chamber: Social media is an echo chamber where we are only confronted with our own ideas. These platforms are designed so that we mostly see the stuff we are interested in. If another person is offensive to you they can simply be blocked without any more interaction with them.  This gives us the impression that everybody agrees with us and removes the possibility of being challenged meaningfully on our own views. The greatest effect, however, is that it polarizes people making a toxic environment for any sort of mutual understanding of disparate gro…

Social Media and Christianity

The Bible never says specifically that we shouldn't smoke, drink, do drugs, or gamble, but most Christian's discourage participation in these activities because of the harmful effects. We need to add one more to the list, social media.

Social media apps targets reward based behaviour which activates the brain's dopamine pathways, which are the same pathways that are hijacked by drugs, but are normally used to reward eating, sleeping, etc... The intended goal of these social media giants is to have you buy things from the companies that advertise on their platform.  It is true that this kind of advertising has been going on for years, so why should we be concerned now?

The difference is that companies now know so much more about how to manipulate you. In a article by The Guardian, it was reported that,
Facebook showed advertisers how it has the capacity to identify when teenagers feel “insecure”, “worthless” and “need a confidence boost”, according to a leaked documents bas…

Amusing Ourselves to Death

"Amusing ourselves to death" by Neil Postman is a great book regarding our addiction to entertainment.  In this book he persuasively argues that we are living in a Huxleyan world where there is nothing serious and everything is for our amusement. At the time of writing this book Mr. Postman did not think Orwell's prophecies applied to America, but I think if he where writing today he would retract that statement. Although it is not a heavy handed Government controlling our lives, it is the corporate bullies who are stepping in to fill that place (The government of course is quick to support them). They insist that nothing stands in the way of our amusement and if anybody does they are quickly removed.
In Amusing ourselves to death, it is argued that the rise of TV is what made us into an entertainment based culture. The reason is that it is the medium of conversation that has the greatest influence on the types of ideas that can be expressed. And the types of ideas that …

Gossip is Playing with Fire

Gossip is one of those sins that people don't really take seriously. As long as we are saying factual information and we would say it to someone's face we consider it information sharing, not gossip. Admittedly, I have gossiped over the years without giving it much thought, but that all changed when the tables were turned and I was on the wrong end of gossip.

God is very clear on what He thinks of gossip by the sins He compares it to:
They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents (Rom. 1:29). Gossips and haters of God are found in the same sentence which shows God's classification for that particular sin. We also know that gossip can have profound effects from reading the book of Proverbs.

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.(Pr…

Grace or Apathy

This summer has been full of the usual business but two situations have caused me to wonder at the state of my heart. The first situation involves someone killing their baby and the other sexual assault of a vulnerable child. In both cases the criminal has claimed the forgiveness of God and expressed repentance and desire continued fellowship in the church.

Part of me wants nothing to do with them, but the other part wants to know if I should be extending them forgiveness of some kind. Biblically speaking they both deserve death for their actions (Gen. 9:6, Deut. 22:25-27), but they both will get off with far less than that. Since killing a baby is not considered a crime that person will receive no punishment from the state, and since a statement of repentance is all that is needed to convince Christians of remorse there will be no further consequences from the church or their friends. The person involved in the assault has been punished by the state and similar to other one who state…

NO - It is not okay to be angry with God

Over the last decade or so I have heard it said many times that it is okay to be angry with God. Anger is a "strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility." The problem is that God never does anything to deserve your anger, which means that whenever you are angry with God you are sinning. Although, many people use the Psalms to defend their position, it does not support their perspective. Let's look at one.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide you face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Ps. 13:1-2) These verses are not displaying displeasure or hostility or anger in any common meaning of the word, rather they are a cry for understanding and longing for God. This only is confirmed in the verses that follow:
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, "I have preva…

God Speaks

There is a song that plays on our local family radio station that drives me crazy. Originally our family radio station was branded as a Christian radio station, but over the years and presumably for marketing reasons they changed their branding to be family radio. The content of this radio station is Christian in the broadest sense, including Catholic, Charismatic, and Evangelical content, but lacks so much discernment that it is not really Christian in the real sense. The song is written by Todd Agnew and is called "Written on the Wall." The chorus goes like this:
And I wish You still spoke through burning bushes
And I wish You still wrote on blocks of stone
'Cause the sound of this world's deafening
And I'm having a hard time listening
And I wish Your will was still written on the wall  Essentially, this is a call to return back to the Old Testament, which is step backwards, not a step forwards.
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with su…