Facebook isn’t the problem – you are

In the last 6 months I’ve heard a number of seminars, and read a few pieces, about how Christians should engage with social media. The general tone has been negative – Social media (particularly Facebook and Twitter) encourages narcissism, shallow relationships, idealized (read false) self presentation, gossip etc etc. I hear little commending the positive uses to which social media may be put – such as encouraging others, sharing news and information, promoting a Church and their upcoming events, linking friends to other helpful resources. For every negative use to which Facebook can be put, there is a positive. Add to this the ubiquity of Facebook among Generation Y and below, and we need to stop fighting against it and start thinking about positive use of it. At the end of the day the problem is not Facebook – it’s you. Sin is the reason we’re self-centred, proud, and nasty, not Facebook. Any Christian who has a strong doctrine of creation and common grace will see that with all things there are positive uses to which humans can put things and negative (the wider internet would be a good example), but at bottom the misuse of something is not a problem with the thing itself – it’s a sin problem in us. Let’s stop blame-shifting and externalising like little Luddite Pharisees, and let’s start thinking about positive ways to use and redeem creation and culture.
Incidentally, if you want a helpful read to start you thinking see Tim Challies The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion. His theological underpinning in the first chapter is excellent in spelling out in clear terms the doctrine of creation, the imago Dei, and the effects of the fall. Overall I’d have liked a few more suggestions on positive engagement (again the tone is slightly negative) but that’s a personal opinion on emphasis rather than any disagreement with the content.

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