Text: Revelation 21:1-8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20
Continuation of Seven Deadly Digital Sins (Part 2)
Digital Sin No.: 4 Cyber Monday Sales/ E-Shop (Gluttony, Greed)
As much as many love these cyber sales, the other end of the strand of the rope is that it leads to overbuying. The extreme case is meaningless hoarding. And yes, there is also digital hoarding. These overbought items and hoarded stuff are manifestations of sin greed and gluttony. Another form of digital gluttony is the compulsive adding or following someone famous online. People tend to like the thought that they have a connection with a certain person—most likely, a celebrity. It might be a second-hand connection but the more we create these illusions that we are “friends” with those we do not know, or that they “follow” us on social media, the more it leads us to stay in our dream world.
Digital Sin No.: 5 Pornography (Lust)
President of Barna Research David Kinnaman (2016) reported that 71% of adults, 85% of teens, and young adults who have viewed pornography did so using online videos. Moreover, John Fesko (2020) noted that “9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls have been exposed to pornography before the age of 18. 50% of professing Christian men and 20% of Christian women are addicted to porn, and sadly, the most popular day for viewing it is on Sunday” (p. 78-79).
Muyiwa Oyatogun, my seminary friend from KY said, “Porn is devilish. Porn is demonic. Porn WILL destroy you, IS destroying you. Porn not only degrades the people (most times victims) engaged in the pornographic acts but the person actually viewing it. If you are a man or woman who watches porn, I ask, no, beg, no PLEAD with you…. GET HELP!”
This is a challenge for everyone, even for married couples. Porn deceives you that what is happening there on screen is the norm of sexual acts. This is not how God designed sex within marriage. Within marriage, it is personal. Each intimacy is unique to each married couple. You are taking away the joy of this gift if you compare or make porn the standard of your intimacy. Again, flee from porn; ask help. You do not need to keep it to yourself. Let someone help you. Professionally, maybe, but it can also be through accountability or a person who can pray for you.
Digital Sin No. 6: Digital Media Addiction (Idolatry, Sloth)
Digital media addiction is a behavioral problem. It manifests in an uncontrollable urge to spend most of the day binge-watching on Netflix, playing video games, scrolling through social media, and other forms of staying online. In New Zealand, playing video games ranked second as the medium for getting through the pandemic (IGEA 2022).
Moreover, reported by Statista Research (2020) that in 2019, “40 percent of U.S. online users aged 18 to 22 years reported feeling addicted to social media.” While another study by California State University demonstrates that “individuals that visited any social media site at least 58 times per week were 3 times more likely to feel socially isolated and depressed compared to those who used social media fewer than 9 times per week” (Hilliard 2021).
Digital Sin No. 7: Identity Theft, Hacking, and Piracy (Stealing, Greed)
A report by Gallup found out, in 2018, that Americans continue to worry most about cybercrimes. 71% worry about the hacking of personal data while 67% about identity theft (Talalaev 2021). It climbed up from the 2016 report of 67%, former, and 66% of the latter (Reinheart 2017). Moreover, hacking, identity theft, and piracy are all forms of stealing. Greed can also be a driving force for someone to steal.
Nevertheless, for many, indifference towards this cybercrime is common. Yet, “70,000 jobs a year are lost in the United States due to music piracy” (Spajić 2021). Spajić went on, “More than 80% of global online piracy is attributable to illegal streaming services.” Torrent downloads are still prominent around the globe. Indeed, there is a need for awareness regarding the effect of those who are negatively affected by digital piracy, hacking, and identity theft. Either piracy of music, movies, books, software cracks, or password stealing, is unacceptable.
Redeeming the Digital World:
Christ commanded his disciples, in the Gospel of Matthew, to “Go,” not “come,” and make disciples (28:19-20). Paraphrasing 9:37, the Indigitous—a ministry arm of Cru (former Campus Crusade for Christ)—slogan, “the harvest is plentiful [and online] but the workers are few [and offline].” Again, Christian missions is not limited to geographical locations; the church needs to ‘go’ where the people are.
In my recent work (Arceno 2021), I noted: “The church has the duty, through the Great Commission, to evangelize—be the salt and light—in the dark realities of the virtual world. Just as the heart of man is corrupted, and the physical world is fallen, thus the virtual world is marred with the sinfulness of humanity which needs redemption by anchoring it in the gospel of Christ towards the ultimate restoration—the telos of Christianity” (pp. 87-88).
The church, as a whole, or at least 90% should commit to this vision. There is a wise saying, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov 29:18). Church, we saw the cultural gap, the reality of the post-truth age, and the presence of the next generation in the digital space, society, and their need. How many years have you been a Christian? (30? 20? Since birth?) Well, you have been partaking in the Word of God for many years. It is time for you to be the one feeding others. Let us all redeem, engage, and feed the next generation.
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
February 6, 2022
This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.