by Aaron Earls
What does it mean to be a faithful Christian in this digital, social-media driven age?
While I think we should definitely use social media to discuss and live out our faith in culture, there are dangers associated with technology that were not present in previous generations.
Other generations had their own time-specific temptations. We have our own in a society often driven by faceless communication via computers.
There are major, often times hidden, dangers of expressing and engaging our faith in the context of social media.
3 Social Media Dangers
Reducing faith to meaningless gestures
What does it mean to like “Jesus” on Facebook or follow “God” on Twitter? Not much beyond just that.
Just as the word “love” loses much of its significance when we say we love Jesus and we love our favorite shoes, it’s not exactly an act of devotion to “like” Jesus on Facebook when you just did the same for your favorite snack food.
Too many Christians believe they are being faithful and obedient followers of Christ if they retweet a Bible verse or challenge all their Facebook friends to share a picture to show they are “not ashamed of Jesus.”
Somehow the irony is lost on many who would never actually talk to their friends about Jesus.
Opened up to sheep-skinned wolves
Anyone can start a Facebook page, Twitter account or blog claiming to focus on Christ. Do you actually know the people behind the places that are influencing you spiritually?
Atheists and non-Christians have parodied believers online and pretended to be something they are not in order to stir dissension and create doubt.
Being able to see a teacher or pastor in person, or even hearing their voice, can often help you determine the type of person they are. That is removed when you simply read words on a screen.
Devaluing real, biblical community
Too many individuals are using social media as a substitute for being involved in an actual church family.
Listening to a sermon by podcast or entering into a Christ-centered discussion online are great things, but they are not biblical church. They are listening to a podcast and discussing Christ online.
God has created us to function best in community where we share troubles and encourage one another in life and faith. He sent His Son to establish the church as His means to reach the world. He has also sent the Holy Spirit to gift believers who can in turn exercise those gifts for the edification of the local church body.
Moving Beyond the Screen
Use Facebook, Twitter, and social media in general to discuss your beliefs. By all means, like Jesus on Facebook. But don’t let that be the extent of your devotional life, commitment to Him, or your biblical teaching.
You have been called to love Christ and to do so by taking up your cross and following Him. That cannot happen exclusively online. There’s only so much a thumbs up icon can do.
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.