Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Prayer in the Facebook Age

by Mark Bauerlein
First Things
At the same time, the more you socialize, the less you follow Jesus into the wilds and prove the psalm’s promise, “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer.” You build your life upon sand, and when the sand shifts, you add more sand . . . and more . . .
This may explain the findings of a recent study showing a correlation between Internet use and religious disaffiliation. Using data from the General Social Survey, computer scientist Allen B. Downey concluded that Internet use accounts for 20 percent (5.1 million people) of overall decreases in religious commitment since 1990. The science is fuzzier than Downey allows, but the trend matches our assumption that more social media means less prayer. People spend fewer minutes alone with God, and, more damaging, they acquire a sensibility less inclined to seek him out.

That disposition has hit most strongly among the young, the heaviest users. To reverse it, my advice to parents, ministers, and other mentors is not to speak to them of God’s greatness and love, nor to assure them, “God is with you always and best felt in solitude.” Young people trust most the evidence of their own experience. So, give them a spiritual exercise to perform before each session of social media begins. When you buy your ­seventeen-­­year-old a new tool, hand your charge three psalms, or the Sermon on the Mount, or the Nicene Creed, and say, “Here is your gift, but you may have it on one condition. When you sit down in Starbucks, before you open the tablet, you must recite these words. When you walk home from school, before you text your friends, you must recite these words. Say them slowly and mean them. It will only take a few minutes. I want your promise.”
the rest image


Post a Comment

<< Home