Thursday, November 12, 2009
...the growing obsession with social networking websites, such as Facebook and MySpace, is leading to dangerously "transient relationships", is "dehumanising" community life and, as a consequence, we are "losing social skills"."Dehumanizing is precisely the word that I would use. We talk a lot about world views, the lack of a divide between the spiritual and the physical - about the essential integrity of the whole of our person, mind, body, spirit. And yet, virtual networks, useful as they may be, separate those things. They, by definition, exclude the physical.
Christians must tread very carefully when adopting these technologies.
A case in point. As I write, the wildfires here in Southern California are at their peak. We had to open the church to house evacuees. We coordinated the effort through Facebook. But, eventually, I had to get up out of my chair and head over there. There were limits to the ministry I could offer that way, and it is no substitute for the real thing.
A text message can never substitute for a hug when someone is displaced from their home.
The call to be a Christian is not, in some sense to be a better person, but to be a person at all. We are called to discover our essential, created humanity - setting aside the perverted and less than human caricature sin makes us.
Being a "virtual" human falls very short of that mark.