Christianity in the Digital Age-Part 3-The Ugly

This is part three in the “Christianity in the Digital Age” series of Articles. If you have not read the first two, please check them out here:

In this article, I will take a look at some of the serious dangers that the digital age–specifically the internet–poses to our Christian walk.

The Ugly

Despite all the benefits of the digital Age for Christianity, there are some serious dangers that we, as believers, need to be aware of. In my opinion, these are three of the most dangerous ones:

  1. There are videos and images on the internet that can bring believers into sexual bondage
  2. On the internet, Christians can be exposed to ideas that not only wrong but cultish and antagonistic toward the Christian faith
  3. On the internet, we have a great potential to either show the love of Christ or to destroy our witness by ugly words to others from the anonymity of the computer

Watch what your eyes see!

The worst danger to disciples of Jesus Christ in the Digital Age is the easy availability of pornography on the internet.  According to a Barna Research Study, 57% of pastors and 64% of youth pastors struggle with it. What was once the domain of a seedy bookshop on the outskirts of town can now be browsed in the privacy and secrecy of our home. We have already been inundated with these messages on TV for years. Many times, it even comes up for those who are not in the least looking for it. I will telltiy  a  story that happened to me. I was at work and was trying to find a website for a local tv channel to check on a news story that someone had just told us about. Instead of searching for it like I should have done, I assumed that the website would be the call letters of the channel with .com at the end. After typing that and hitting enter, I was inundated with popup images of the most graphic and vile kind. I would close one out and 5 more would come up in its place. My only option was to actually power off the monitor and then the computer. Also, for many years, typing whitehouse.com instead of whitehouse.gov would bring up an adult site. Fortunately, that is no longer the case.

What is a Christian to do? First, we must understand what the Word of God says about sexual sin. It is not only what a person does outside their body, but what a person thinks. Jesus said whoever lusts after someone has committed adultery already with that person in their mind (Matthew 5:27).  Lusting after someone who is on a computer screen is no different to God than lusting after someone in-person. Also, lusting after someone on a computer screen has led some to contact and meet someone.

Second, I recommend a software filter for all of your devices. It should be the most restrictive for your children. Also, I highly recommend software that holds you accountable by reporting every site you visit on any device to someone like your spouse or a trusted brother or sister in Christ. Filters are far from perfect and things can get through. That is where the accountability feature comes in. Even if you uninstall the software, it will report on you. Take a look at the end of the article for some links to software to help block and report.

A mix of ideas

As I was growing up, I was blessed with immediate family members who were fellow believers so that shielded me from ideas that were antagonistic to what I already believed. In my opinion, that is a “thought bubble”. Thoughts inside the bubble are protected. With access to the Internet today, everyone is bombarded through social media to ideas and teachings that are either cultic or completely against Biblical faith. There is serious danger when a person who does not strongly know why they believe what they believe has access to such a mix of ideas. This danger makes it even that much more important for believers to know Biblically why we believe the doctrines we believe. Also, in my opinion, Christians should have a basic understanding of a field called Apologetics. Apologetics is the study of the evidence that is available to point to the truth of the Bible. For example, is there evidence that the Gospels were written by the apostles or associate of the apostles? Is there evidence that these writing have made it down to us without major copy errors or changes? The answer is yes. I will provide some links at the bottom to some of these sources. That is just one area of apologetics. Some study sciences to refute the theory of evolution.

Therefore, the internet brings ideas to us that can not only shake our faith but also lead us into doctrinal error.

Our witness

The last challenge we face as believers is to maintain the love of Christ as we interact with people online who may never know who we are. You can be sure that God’s not confused by your generic screen name. I’m sure you have seen comments on articles and posts that are simply mean and evil. Don’t be one of those people. God still calls us to preach the truth in love.

Filtering and Reporting Links

  1. http://www.covenanteyes.com
  2. http://www.accountable2you.com (Accountability only-No filtering)
  3. http://www.x3watch.com (Accountability only-No filtering)
  4. http://products.qustudio.com

Apologetics Link

The link below is a complete basic apologetics course on YouTube: