Spirituality & Peace in Our Digital Age

Spirituality & Peace in Our Digital Age

A recent Gallup article reported that 47% of Americans identify as religious, 33% identify as spiritual, and 2% identify as both. The pandemic certainly did not do Christianity any favors except for the fact that many church services are now readily available on livestream. You can now worship in your pajamas while eating breakfast on the couch. However, watching a livestream is certainly not the same as being physically present with the community.

Many people long for peace in their lives, but technology now presents a whole new set of challenges and opportunities that simply were not present fifteen years ago. Many would agree that spiritual growth, stillness, and reflection have become much more challenging in this noisy culture. Raising children and limiting their screen time is not easy. Every parent struggles mightily with finding the balance. Our adolescents now know when they are excluded or left out thanks to pictures posted online. Technology is constantly changing and evolving. Email, text messaging, social media, and the internet make our lives convenient in many ways. We also know that it is addictive and hard to turn it off. Our “smartphones” enable us to multi-task but seem to make spiritual growth, peace, and reflection much more difficult. Here are ten of the common challenges that I see:

1) A growing sense of anxiety and restlessness because we are constantly available and expected to reply right away
2) A complete loss of boundaries; work is never left at the office
3) Fewer face-to-face interactions and conversations
4) Difficulty being present in the moment without becoming distracted
5) Uncivil behavior and lashing out digitally when emotions run high
6) Highly addictive social media that makes us more anxious and insecure
7) A false belief that social media is an acceptable substitute for other types of community
8) Children and adults gaining easier access to pornography
9) Mindless web surfing that leads to a lack of productivity at work and at home
10) Increased loneliness and a decline in spiritual growth and reflection

Don’t get me wrong, I could write another article about the many advantages of technology and how it makes our lives easier and more convenient. Yet I find myself continuing to worry more about the dangers that are present if we are unable to keep the technology and social media monster in check. It is a double-edged sword.

We live in an age of information overload and people have become numb to getting constantly bombarded with updates and information. News travels faster than it ever has before, yet because everybody seems to be an expert on every topic, truth and facts are much harder to find. The secret to quieting the technology monster is to set limits and know when to turn it off. The secret is to let technology assist our lives but not run our lives. Setting boundaries has never been as important as it is today. Remember, there is still something very holy and profound about silence, turning the phone off and taking the time to be still, to be quiet, and to connect with God. Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”


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