Helping you to know the Bible, defend your faith, and walk with Jesus
In this article, “Christianity in the digital Age-Part 2-The Bad”, I will continue talking about the effect the digital age has on Christianity. In the last article (here), I talked about some good benefits of the digital age for Christianity. In this one, I need to balance the good with some possible negatives these benefits can bring.
There are three main ways in which the benefits I spoke about in the last article can turn into negatives:
In a study that looked at parents playing with children with either electronic toys or non-electronic toys, it was found that parents using electronic toys interacted with their child using fewer words than those with non-electronic toys. I have heard stories from friends in which their children sit in the same room, but yet text each other to communicate. Go to any restaurant and you will see families sitting together, but staring at their phones. And yes, I am guilty of it at times, as well. Digital communication is a great blessing when it connects people over vast distances. However, Christ calls us to love one another, not text one another. The church needs to be the example of caring for each other as people, not as screen names. I believe when we default to electronic communication instead of getting up, getting out, and providing for the needs of our brothers in sisters in Christ, we are guilty of doing what James 2:15-16 warns us about. We are telling our brothers and sister, “I’m here for advice. Let me give you some websites for some government programs.” or “Here’s a book about ten ways to defeat depression” instead of going over to their house and physically being there. There is nothing that can make up for the presence of a Christian brother or sister.
The Internet has been a wonderful tool since its inception to allow access to more information than a person could ever want. However, the ease at which information can be put online has caused some issues.
First, there are people giving information or, more precisely, misinformation. This is especially important when it comes to Christianity. Anyone with a domain name and a Godaddy account can set up a website in moments and spew any kind of “Fake News” or teaching that they want. It was once the case that a person had to spend some money and go through some kind of editorial process before they could publish their words. That is not true anymore. Just because it is published on a website somewhere does not mean the person knows what they’re talking about. I will give a personal example of this. A person I was interacting with on Facebook was trying to say that Hell is not eternal because the Greek word translated “forever” really did not mean that. Since I am not a Greek scholar, I researched the word from well respected Greek scholars such as Thayer, Mounce, and the foremost universally accepted Greek lexicon BDAG. The unanimous consensus is the word (aionios or αιωνιος if you’re interested) means forever in those contexts. So I asked the person to provide me with a source for this information. He provided me with a link to a website. I found out that the person declaring this had expertise–but in interior design. In other words, if a person wants to contradict the majority of those who have put in the study, then they better have some study of their own to back it up. Please do not misunderstand me here. A person does not have to have schooling to be a good student of the Word. However, in those areas that he has no expertise, he has to lean on the expertise of men and women of God down through the ages.
Second, many a person’s Christian faith has been weakened and assaulted by things they have read online. It is very dangerous to go to the internet to determine what you believe about the Word. Learning the basic doctrines of the Word is determined by a study of the Word in context with the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Internet is ultimately like the Wild West. Great caution is required
As I stated in the last article, computer-enabled Bible study is a great help. However, it is no replacement for the guiding of the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that the things of God are spiritually discerned. Just remember that there are many atheists that are more familiar with the Bible that most of us are. The difference is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives. So don’t go to your Bible study program until you have prayed and asked the Lord to guide you Through His spirit.
In our next article, we will look at some of the very ugly things that are a huge danger to our lives as followers of Jesus.