Christians shouldn’t use smartphones

Kind of silly images aside, I thought this article was a very interesting read: https://medium.com/@marcjohnpaul/christians-shouldnt-use-smartphones-64cddc2b3527
Good quote -
“The owned skill of communication is replaced by the rented commodity of social media; an educated mind is replaced by the rented use of a search engine; the community-owned skill of entertaining ourselves with song, dance, and theater has long since been replaced by the rented consumption of digital entertainment; the capacity for commerce is exchanged for the rented convenience of Amazon; the owned habit of sexual arousal is exchanged for the rented commodity of pornography; in each case the capacities people have by birthright are gathered up by wealthy men and sold back to them as applications they activate through their smartphones; and in every case a new creature is formed who does not desire freedom, land, community, useful property, working animals, or an inner life, so much as the money required to rent life from the kings of the earth.”

5 Likes

A well known atheist in Australia, Philip Adams, pointed out that the Amish of America don’t eschew technology. They wait until it is deemed useful before considering it. Unlike Luddites, they aren’t against tech, they just need it to demonstrate an improvement over the current situation.

I think that is a reasonable and pragmatic approach, rather than adopting tech just because it’s new and shiny.

7 Likes

I am a part of a conservative mennonite community and most don’t own smartphones and don’t have access to the internet. You could clearly see the large contrast between the life of those in the community and the life of general society because of that decision. I’ve ordered the Mudita Pure and some are highly interested in seeing it when I get it because it would be considered a benefit over the obstacles of owning flip phones which have to be hacked and modified to be acceptable.

7 Likes

And even then, the Luddites weren’t against “technology” - quite the opposite, they clearly used it, or they wouldn’t have been weaving on looms in the first place! The followers of Ned Ludd were actually the first major political labor movement that fought against automation that the industrial revolution brought to the textile industry. In the end, countless skilled craftsmen had their work devalued and lost their jobs to the factories.

It was a noble cause in my book, and you can tell that they lost the fight because here we are in a society that practically uses “Luddite” as a slur.

2 Likes

Thanks for the reminder on Luddites origins.
I was being lazy and using the modern meaning. My bad.

2 Likes

@iota I agree with that approach. Mennonites do the same thing. They are open to the use of technology. They just do it very cautiously & make sure it serves a purpose.

1 Like

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything"—but I will not be mastered by anything.
1 Cor 6:12, NIV

I’m sorry, I lost track of that blogpost a few paragraphs in. His theology is not mine. I’m an Orthodox Christian, and even though we are weary of ANY medium (speach, books, tv, phones, newspapers) because they can carry any kind of information, sinful or holy, it is in the end not about the means. It is true that the internet (not only smartphones) and screens in general are very addictive, and for this we warn in the Church. Addiction of any kind is to be avoided. Moreover, every material good should be purchased with some thought: Do I really need this? Can I just buy the basic version? What’s the most environmentally friendly? Etc. The only unchangeable thing in the universe is God Himself and His Holy Church, but all other things (created things) in the world do change all the time. Buddhists agree with us: what doesn’t change is dead.

Whereas I myself chose not to carry a smartphone (not all the time) because I find it too addictive and it troubles my mind, there are many people who are fine. The Orthodox community members use a smartphone to broadcast the Holy Liturgy in times of pandemic. We use Facebook to communicate the times of prayer. We use Doodle to organise all kinds of stuff, including confession times. We listen to podcasts from important priests and go to Zoom-sessions organised by monasteries… In fact, the quickest way to get hold of the abbot of a monastery is usually through his WhatsApp :laughing:

2 Likes

I can see where you are coming from, and we are likely on the same page in more ways than not. However, I disagree that the means of accessing information from a person or medium doesn’t matter. Online or through telecommunication, it often matters a lot, exponentially more than it ever did offline in old times.
Let me explain.
The original post I made in this thread has a quote about rented commodities. Facebook is an example. The ends of using Facebook, in your case, are pure, prayer in times of separation. However, by using Facebook, you sell your information to a Masonic megacorp. Mark Zuckerburg was once an Illuminati Knight! That’s only going into a fraction of it. The dire fact is that most mainstream internet communication platforms are not just anti-privacy, they are explicitly anti-Christian.
Remember, just because it has no immediate consequences for you or your monastery does not mean there are none. By using these platforms in any amount, you only increase their power. Not only are you giving them money through your information, you ensure a monopoly on free Christian communication that can later be more easily manipulated and censored. In other words, continue supporting pro-censorship, anti-Christian platforms and your community may eventually not be allowed exist on them at all. This is why I so strongly encourage people to look into alternative social media like Pleroma.
As a side-note, I pray you see that the “pandemic” was planned and that the vaccine is to be avoided.
Do not take my words as a call to action, I understand you need communication with your monastery and Facebook, Zoom, etc. may unfortunately be “necessary” evils. The sad reality is few people will switch to Signal, Element, Pleroma, and what have you, despite those privacy respecting platforms having been easy to use for a long time.
Stay safe

1 Like

I found this quote in the article to be pertinent:

“The Christian cannot merely ask whether or not a technology is morally licit. If this were the case, the Christian response to technology would be about as boring as, well, about as boring as it has so far been — a kind of vague, “everything is great as long as you don’t use it for evil, and see, Christians are Relevant and please quickly look at our T W I T T E R A C C O U N T S.”
No, the Christian must ask what kind of world the universalization of a new technology creates, for his concern is, or should be, not merely his personal righteousness, world-be-damned; he is commissioned by virtue of his baptism to transform this dreary Wal-Mart world into the Kingdom of Heaven. He cannot take up the modern technological optimism which argues that innovation and progress are goods in themselves, whether or not they conspire to spit out the nuclear bomb or the GameBoy Color, or, more to the point, whether they build up a a world of compartments united by expressways or a world of villages. Knowing that each technological device shapes the world in which it is used, the Christian should ask whether that shape is one which Jesus Christ enjoys, or one to which He will say, with terrifying aspect: “I do not know you.” The smartphone, I would argue, does not tend to build up the Kingdom of Heaven, but a global city ruled by the wealthy; a city which Christ hates — or, if we shrink from the term, which Christ would charitably smash with his sceptre of iron, as in Sodom, as in Tyre.”

1 Like

Because of moral concerns, our parish tried to shift from Facebook and Whatsapp to MeWe and Signal, but that shift completely failed. Unfortunately a lot of parishioners are not very tech-savvy. A lot of them are actually not on social media, some don’t have computers. Of those who are online, Facebook is the only way to reach them. We need to choose our fights wisely. In the end, it is up to our presbyters and metropolites, guided by the Holy Spirit, to find the middle way to guide as many people as possible to the Kingdom of Heaven.