A lawyer asked Jesus a question: “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment (Matthew 22:35-38).
If we are devoting ridiculous amounts of time to our phones and social media, how can we keep this commandment? The Lord is to be first in all we do. In his book, The Soul in Cyberspace, Dr. Douglas Groothuis makes several interesting points of how iphones are changing us:
We are becoming like what we behold. To worship an idol is to become like the idol, to worship Christ is to become like Christ. What is happening to our souls when we spend so much time beholding the glowing screens of our phones? (Romans 1:18-27)
We start lusting after the forbidden fruit of limitless knowledge. The serpent told Eve the same lie. If you eat this fruit, you will be as God and know everything. There is very limited knowledge of God on the internet; it is mostly man’s knowledge.
We are losing interest in the gathered church. Hebrews 10:25: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much more, as ye see the day approaching. Churches with a strong online presence have seen it impact physical attendance. Technology is changing everything we do, including church. People are looking less to churches and leaders to help them grow spiritually. People no longer feel guilty about not being in church on Sunday. One pastor who left Facebook had this to say: “If my goal as a Christian is to be like Jesus, then is Facebook shaping me to be more like him? For me, I have to admit the answer is no. Facebook isn’t helping me achieve my calling as a pastor, husband, father or follower of Jesus. Facebook is shaping my heart in a direction that puts love of self before love of God and neighbor.” People check Facebook an average of every 31 seconds.
We are growing careless with our words. We are becoming bolder in criticizing others. We say things online that we wouldn’t say in person. We forget that people online have an eternal soul like us. We are overcritical. We are having an effect on other people’s destinies. (Proverbs 10:18-21)
The average college student uses their phone nine hours a day. That’s longer than most students spend sleeping! People are becoming addicted. Some phone users show the same symptoms as drug addicts. They let their smart phones lift their moods and losing a phone causes anxiety and panic. Larry Rosen says, “For the past 30 years I have studied the psychology of technology. We can’t seem to keep our faces out of our smart phones for even a minute or two. Some people call it addiction, others an obsession. But there is an important difference between the two. Addiction means you are trying to get your brain to release neurotransmitters that signal a pleasurable experience. Obsession also involves neurotransmitters but they are associated with stress and anxiety. We are fast approaching Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as a society with our cell phones.”
People are losing their grip on reality. Artificial intelligence expert and author of the book Love and Sex with Robots, David Levy, had this to say, “We have already seen rapid changes in human relationships thanks to the internet, mobile devices and social media. The next major advance will enable us to use our technology to have intimate encounters with technology, to have sex with robots and marry them.” The author of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown, said in the future that “global consciousness will replace our need for God. We will start to find our spiritual experiences through our interconnections with each other. Some form of global consciousness that we perceive will become our divine. Our need for that exterior god, that sits up there and judges us will diminish and eventually disappear.” He said that technology and artificial intelligence will someday change how we view God and religion. “Will God survive science?” he inquires.
Which brings me back to Romans 1:22-23, 25, 28, 30-31: Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man…who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator…And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness….inventors of evil things…without natural affection…