Our Soul is Murdered… Electronically!
To be a Christian means to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbour as yourself (Matt 22: 37-40). In practice it means that Christianity is a communal Faith, one that requires its followers to be actively involved with others. The worship of the Church is communal. We gather on Sundays together to celebrate the mystery of the Eucharist. One cannot be “saved” in a vacuum, but only as a member of the body of the Church. And our love of God alone cannot save us, if we do not love others: “If someone says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he sees, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 Jn 4:20).
Given the communal nature of the Church, it is alarming indeed to see increasing numbers of people isolating themselves from others. Many have turned to the internet as the primary source of interaction with others; finding “friendships” with people who will never be met in person, so real persons are rejected, only to be replaced by “phantom friends”. The importance of frequent social interaction with others is of vital importance, for the development of a stable character and enjoyment of life. This may take various forms, e.g. talking to neighbours, even across the fence, or groups of friends meeting in a coffee shop for coffee and discussion about personal or communal problems, or people involved in common activities which they do together, whether it be sport or charity work.
Isolated from others, the communal nature that is an important element in what it means to be human, is lost. It is imperative that we guard against the temptation of spending too much time in front of the computer or the TV, and too little with others. The sight of young people sitting in a group together, yet apart, is disheartening. Mobile phones, text messages, iPods, smart phones, tablets, e-mails, and countless hours on facebook, accentuates the isolation of the person and is murdering the soul.
For a large proportion of generation Y, the electronic screen controls their life. A famous psychologist called such people, “the book people”, since the screen is now like the pages of the book through which they communicate with others and also see the world!
If we desire to be Christians, to feel in our hearts the presence of God which fills our being with His peace, His power and divine enthusiasm, then we have to be involved with others, and care for their wellbeing, and their needs. The greatest gift we can give to our fellowmen is the knowledge of the will of God, to help them find the road to salvation. But this cannot be done ‘Electronically”: we have to be involved with them personally. To come to know them, to speak to them, to help them in their needs, to sacrifice ourselves for them. Because Christian love means to voluntarily abdicate from what is rightfully ours, if this is to help our fellowman.
As humans, we are meant to be together, for it is in our lives together that we grow in mind and spirit. It is in community that we learn to love God, and one another. For friendships to be limited to on-line chat rooms, is a tragedy of major proportions, one that will ultimately be the ruin of Society. And Society cannot afford to suffer such a catastrophe!!
Source: August-September 2014 Lychnos Edition