Social media should not distract people during worship


Gone are the days when the only thing that Church   leaders    had to worry about was television and radio. Social media   has  now  proved to be a bigger distraction now, especially on millennials.

While   this could be a heavy accusation, allow     me     to explain it with the help of Narcissus, of    the famous Greek mythology. Narcissus was a hunter known for his beauty.

One day near a pool he saw his own reflection     in the water, and he fell in love with it, not     realising     that       it was only an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus       lost his will to live and he stared at his reflection until he died. It has also been said that his name is the origin of the term ‘narcissism’, excessive interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.

For   anyone  who has ever been a victim of    addiction  to social media, there is a  parallel to this. Social   media is    a big spoon constantly feeding individualism, which does not allow a person to turn to God in times  of need, but  rather to turn  to oneself.

The     2001 Oxford University press dictionary defines individualism as ‘dependence and self-reliance’. When you analyse a smart phone, all the apps, programmes and functions within revolve around the owner/user. This has allowed young people to create their own  little world where all  the experiences are tailored to what they like and desire   the most; leaving no room for God.

Dr Jean Twenge, a psychologist and author of Generation Me, explains  that, “Individualism is an uncomfortable fit with religion. Whereas religion typically emphasises   social norms   and  appeals to a higher authority, individualism focuses on the self and personal choices. The need to belong has not changed. What   has changed is how people fulfil  it.”

Facebook, Whatsup, Instagram, Twitter and the likes are alternatives to religious groups, bringing me to the commonly asked question by the youth today, “What does going to church have to offer me that I will not find online?”

Many youth are slowly slipping away in a world where they equate their self-worth to the number of likes they get on a post, which would explain why they are busy texting during service instead of listening to the sermon.

Social media is not all evil. It has done exceptional work in spreading the word of God and encouraging Christianity. A scripture in John 12:46 clearly tells us that, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”

Therefore, the youth need to stop living behind the phone and see the world. They need to get out of a virtual world and realise the goodness of the Lord ‘in the land of the living.’

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