Technology Stifles Spiritual Growth

Chris woke up at the sound of his alarm. He turned off his alarm and with eyes half-open he checked if he has a message. After reading some of his text messages he got out of bed and headed towards the bathroom. Then he went to the kitchen and brewed coffee. While waiting for the coffee, he reached for his iPad and checked his Facebook. After a few minutes his coffee was ready. He went to the living room and turned on the TV. He was watching TV and checking the top trending topics on Twitter at the same time. He later realized it was already 7am so he started preparing for work.

            Chris is now ready to go. He was about to leave when he realized he left his iPod. He can’t leave without his iPod. He always listens to it when he’s driving to work. So, he went back to his room to get the gadget. Then he left for work.

Coming home from work, Chris turned on the TV and slouched on the sofa. He opened his Mac to check his e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. When he was finished he put down his Mac on the table and lied down on the sofa. He grabbed the remote control and started to search for a good TV program to watch. He settled on the evening news. After a few minutes, Chris nodded off to sleep.

Probably, most of us spend our day the way Chris does. From the moment we wake up our gadgets already interfere with our daily lives until we sleep at night. This has been the daily scenario for us living in this day and age of technology.

If technology has been present during the time of Christ, what would life be like then? I came across this article in my daily devotional titled Technology and The Trivial written by Mike Wittmer. He talked about how the life of the disciples would be like if technology existed during the time of Jesus. Let me share with you his thoughts:

If our technology had existed in Jesus’ day, our bibles might read: “Jesus asked His disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ but they were checking their e-mail and missed the question.” Or

”A third time He asked him, ‘Simon…do you love Me?’ Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time, but then his cell phone rang and he replied, ‘I’m sorry, Lord, I’ve got to take this.’ “Or on Pentecost, “Peter continued preaching for a long time, and a handful of people believed and were baptized while thousands more texted and sent out tweets on Twitter” (see Mark 8:27-28; John 21:15; Acts 2:40-41).

Technology can stifle our spiritual growth in subtle ways. The first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). None of these things come easily in our wired world. Who has the time or discipline to study the apostles’ teaching and pray when cable television and the Internet jangle with unimportant yet interesting diversions? Let’s face it, our lives would be little changed if we missed that latest score, review, or celebrity gossip. Yet filling our minds with such minutiae comes at some cost, for we may unknowingly project our reading of the virtual world upon the eternal truths of God’s Word. When everything is trivial, then anything is trivial.

Fellowship and community are thought to be the strengths of our new media, but busy texters ignore us and intrusive phone calls interrupt us. We often sit in the presence of bodies whose minds are elsewhere.

Lest you think I’m simply a hater of today’s technology, ask yourself this: When the Good Shepherd leads you beside “peaceful streams,” do you “rest in green meadows” or reach for your iPhone?

We cannot deny the fact that we are so much preoccupied with technology today. The moment our eyes are open, instead of thanking God for blessing us with another life, we tend to think of the text message we’ve been waiting for the other night. While waiting for the coffee to brew we browse our iPad to see comments and tweets instead of reading today’s gospel and having our prayer time. We can’t leave the house without the iPod but we can leave the house without a rosary. Indeed, Mike Wittmer is right in saying that “technology can stifle our spiritual growth.” Technology is eating up the time we should be spending with God. This should not be the case. God should always be at the top of our priority list. From the moment we wake up until the moment we close our eyes.

The world we are living in today is so fast-paced because of technology. The 24 hours we have in a day doesn’t seem enough because of the long list of things to do. And because of this we do not seem to have time for God anymore. There’s just too much on our plate that we could not even spend a minute to talk to God. At the end of the day we feel so exhausted, depressed, and frustrated. This is the kind of life we will continue to experience if we neglect our spiritual life.

Yes, God loves us and will continue to love us no matter what. But for us to experience His great love for us we need to stop and pay attention to the love He is selflessly giving us. We have 24 hours a day and He is asking only a few minutes of our time. Given our busy schedules, if we have time for tweeting then we should also have time for praying. After all, the reason you are still able to tweet is because God has blessed you with another life. So before you tweet, why not thank God first? And the best way to thank God is to spend quality time with Him.

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