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Catholics and Technology
Posted By Eric Sammons On August 24, 2009 @ 9:17 am In Technology | Comments Disabled
The Wall Street Journal recently had a wonderful article about the dangers of modern technology , in which the author reflects on how technology causes us to speed up our lives unnecessarily. Too many of us are now living life at a breakneck speed, and there is no question that this could have dramatic consequences for us as individuals and as a culture. This is a good example of how technology often changes our lives in ways that were unintended and perhaps unwelcome.
Now I’m sure that there are some readers of this blog who find it a bit ironic when I write about the dangers of technology on our spiritual, mental and physical lives. After all, this is a blog. And I’m on facebook, for goodness sake. How can I write against technology if I obviously embrace it?
I don’t consider myself against technology. Instead, I like to think of myself as deliberate about technology. What I mean by that is that I do not think we should embrace every technology as it is released unthinkingly. Instead, we need to deliberately evaluate each technology on its own merits (and demerits) and determine if it truly helps our lives in a meaningful way. This deliberation should go beyond the surface impact of a technology to the more subtle and possibly harmful ways a technology changes how we live.
For example, in the 1950′s the television was seen as a marvelous invention that would unite families and educate our youth. Does anyone still seriously believe that this is the case? No technology has probably done more to divide families and dumb-down children than the boob tube. My own family decided a few years ago to get rid of our television . We found that, on the whole, it was more detrimental to our family life than it was beneficial, as we definitely watched more television than we really wanted to due to the easy nature of being able to just flip on the boob tube and be lobotomized by its programming. Not having a TV in the house was a great decision, as it has freed up a great deal of time for more enriching (and family-uniting and educational) pursuits, and frankly, no one misses it.
Note that I am NOT saying that TV is immoral. There is no technology that is inherently immoral – it is how one uses a technology that determines the morality of the action. However, that does not mean that every technology must be embraced by those striving for holiness. As Catholics, we should evaluate each new technology and see how it impacts our own personal path to holiness. Is it causing us to waste our time? Is it leading us to view immoral actions? Is it subtly harming our ability to think deeply? Just because a technology is not inherently immoral doesn’t mean that it is healthy for us as Catholics looking to be saints.
Each technology decision we make should be just that: a decision. No one has to be involved with blogs, facebook, television, twitter or any other technology. One can live a fruitful, holy and even evangelical life without any of them (let me tell you from experience: one-on-one personal contact, not modern technology, is still the best form of evangelization). There are many marvelous things available via these new technologies, but none are required for a holy life. Of course, these are individual, prudential decisions. What might be spiritual dangerous for one person might be fine – and even uplifting – for another. But I do think too many people unthinkingly embrace new technologies without determining if it will help them in their walk with Christ.
We as Catholics should be striving relentlessly for holiness, so whereas reading a simple tweet or blog post or facebook update might be harmless, it might lead us to a situation where following such updates begin to consume a spiritually (and mentally and physically) unhealthy amount of our time. Let us be deliberate about the technology we consume and make sure we spend more time directly interacting with our family, friends, neighbors and even strangers than we do on our computers, phones, and ipods.
Article printed from Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons: http://ericsammons.com/blog
URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2009/08/24/catholics-and-technology/
URLs in this post:
 wonderful article about the dangers of modern technology: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203550604574358643117407778.html
 get rid of our television: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2009/02/24/tv-totally-void/
 subscribe to my RSS feed: http://ericsammons.com/blog/feed/
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