Addicted to CAF?

I am amazed when I look at some profiles here of how much time people spend on CAF. I see statistics of some people averaging as many as 10 to 20 or more posts per day. That means there are days when they post much more than that. I counted one person’s posts, and this person had over 40 posts in one day over several hours time. I can’t imagine how anything else gets done.

Is there a point when posting on CAF becomes too excessive and something that is actually taking the place of real spirituality in our lives? Don’t we need to use discipline when we come here?

I will readily admit that I too have been guilty of this, and I think it’s something we all need to watch.

CAF is, in fact, on of the major elements of my own spiritual growth, so it’s not about spirituality or CAF, it’s spirituality through CAF.

I don’t come here just to get warm fuzzies. I come here for specific reasons, some of which I know and some of which are known only to God. I know I’m supposed to be here. What’s wonderful, in 2005 I had grandiose and wonderful dreams, based on certain coincidences and thought trajectories I noticed, and announced them. Well, it’s coming true now and it’s better than I ever imagined, and I’m here to continue in my part of it, as I’m watching it unfold in other posters. The dream is for a massive movement toward spiritual unity. Not just Catholics, but others as well. I predicted that a major epicenter for this activity would be this web site. Now every day I’m seeing signs of people getting better at the way they look at things, and in particular other posters.

You see, CAF can be thought of not as a spiritual “self-gratification” method, but as a laboratory of living, willing, human beings, ready to show you what your seeds can grow into if they are planted in a wide variety of soil – that is of course their minds.

So it depends on what you’re here for. If you are here to:

  1. Learn a few things.
  2. Argue with people and try to show them they are wrong.
  3. Get personal advice for issues in my life.
  4. Play fun word games in the clubhouse section.

Then I’d say that it is easy to spend too much time here.

But it can go far beyond recreational. Here are SOME of the reasons I come here.

  1. To challenge myself to be charitable not only in words but in my heart.
  2. To perform spiritual acts of mercy.
  3. To learn to put difficult things into words that are not misleading or threatening.
  4. To become better Catholic and all around person for myself, others, and the Lord.
  5. To enjoy points of view other than my own that I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere.
  6. To receive valuable criticism that I don’t find among others for many reasons – most people aren’t deep enough I know few “real” people who know or care enough to discuss their faith beyond when they have to get the cookies to the bake sale.
  7. To learn things.
  8. Etc.

Another thing is we tend to talk about Internet as if it were not “real people.” Though you can pretend it isn’t, it IS real people. When you write on these forums you’re touching REAL hearts, not talking to bots. You’re getting REAL human response. This is a wonderful technology that Jesus had, and now let me call others to action. Jesus showed us the way, but He said “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

How is that possible? How can we do greater works than He? Watch this now. We are not greater than He, but we have the technology and the situation He never had to work with. First of all, Jesus didn’t have an army of people who believed in him over 1 billion strong like we have today, so the harvest is ready. Jesus didn’t have mass communications. Did you know there are actually brothers who post on CAF as part of their assignment? It’s because we can sit here at a keyboard and perform remote-control spiritual acts of mercy (REAL acts of mercy, not phony) and touch dozens, or even thousands at a time. And of course if the early church had YouTube, I can just see a gazillion tutorials by St. Paul online.

Anyway, that’s my story as to why I’m here so much, and for the moment I’m sticking to it. :stuck_out_tongue:

Alan

Some of the “excessive” post counts involve posting prayers.

I’m not on the “excessive” list, but I come to CAF to grow in faith and understanding. Catholic Answers was the probably the largest factor in my converting to Catholicism, and I still visit regularly.

CAF played a big part in my conversion as it was my first contact with real Catholics (who actually go to Church).

Also, it’s part of my daily routine now. I always go on CAF after getting back from mass, so that’s at least once a week. I am very interested in current affairs so I regularly post news articles and I like to check to see what people’s opinions are.

The game threads you see in the forums account for a lot of the posts for some people. I saw a discussion of this once. Someone was trying to reach 10,000 posts and someone asked how he could get so many.

I come to CAF almost every day. I think I have helped some people; and I know some people have helped me in my spiritual journey.

I tend to be blunt; and I think some have been offended by that. However, sometimes we have to chance people being offended by the truth. I have learned here to be a little more tactful in some situations. My confessot once told me that he believed it is possible to always be truthful without offending people. Hopefully I am learning some of that here.

I hope I’m not being too excessive. There is a religious community on my campus and they hold weekly lunch sessions for the students to engage in dialogue about their faith. But I still get a sense that people are afraid of “crossing the line” and offending someone. The fact that there is a large body of international students also adds to the anxiety.

I’ve talked to the director of the religious community. She is a Catholic but I always get the sense that she has some unresolved issue with the Church, particularly when it involves the role of women in the Church. She brought up the subject a few times and when she does, she looks like she’s ready to break down into tears. I’m not sure what to think about the priests who visits the campus either since they share the same views as well.

I know it’s good to foster religious dialogue but I fear that the Catholic community on campus is rather liberal. The same religious director sponsored organized a talk given by Matthew Fox who wrote The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved. I looked up on Matthew Fox and he is nothing short of a heretic. :mad: If anyone’s wondering, I attend a women’s college and there is a pressure for people to bend their religious beliefs for the sake of accommodating others.

I hope I’m not going off into a tangent. I don’t want this thread to break out into some debate.

In short, I like CAF because it’s an outlet for me. I can talk about Catholicism with people who have a strong conviction in their Faith. Plus, I like reading the viewpoints of atheists and other theists on the forum without being afraid that I mind offend their sensibilities.

I like this. God bless:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

I think you’re all sort of missing my point here. I’m not asking whether CAF is a valuable forum or not. I wouldn’t be here if I was questioning the value of CAF. This forum was very helpful to me when I came back to the Church, I’ve gotten a lot of valuable resources here. And as has been stated, it has helped more than one person come back to or convert to the Church.

My question is, is there a point where we can spend too much time posting to this forum? Is it excessive when people spend 2, 3, 4 or more hours per day on this forum? Yes, the people who post are real people, and we can do a lot to help others. But when we are here, we are not interacting with family or friends or anyone in our real world. When people spend hours on this forum, something else has to be neglected. We only have so many hours in a day. Is this time we could be spending in prayer or spiritual reading? Let’s face it, not everything posted on CAF is of the highest spiritual level.

Someone mentioned that a lot of the “excessive” posting is prayer. I have seen a little of that, but not that much. Just check out the profiles and you can see that for yourself.

My question is, when does posting on CAF become too much? Or do you all think it is impossible to post too much on CAF or become addicted to it and use this in place of personal spirituality such as prayer or spiritual reading?

In my case this site offers fellowship, something I can’t get outside of the internet except when I’m in church. If I ever came to the point where I skipped church in order to post here, then I’d think that’d be a problem.

Everyone’s life is different. Not everyone has a family, not everyone has friends, not everyone has a Catholic community in real life to turn to. If you have those things in abundance then yeah, some people activity here would seem excessive, maybe, but it doesn’t mean they’re addicted.

Newbies like me rely on the people who are frequent posters to answer our questions, so I think it’s a good thing that not everyone is ‘too busy’ to be here helping out. :slight_smile:
Just my 2 cents.

The only thing I worry about on CAF is getting misguided information and contradictory responses. It’s interesting to get personal opinions at times but other times it can seem like two versions of the truth. Its nice to be able to reach out though on the internet but would be even nicer if people reached out this much at Church. I’d say the same thing about facebook too. My own family barely even talks anymore unless you are on facebook you are out of the loop. :frowning:

At least for me, it’s not too much. The only time I get to see my family is once a week when our schedules don’t conflict. As for my friends, they’re usually busy studying or making their own preparations for graduate school. I have to schedule a time when I can meet up with them. I usually interact with my colleagues but I spend the bulk of my personal free time alone. Even then, I would use the time to attend Mass or to volunteer.

And no, I don’t use CAF in place of prayer or spiritual reading.

I know I don’t post or always read the most intellectually stimulating things on CAF. But even the more mundane topics are useful to me. I spent a lot of time in real-life talking to a shut-in senior who’s Catholic and talks about everything under the Moon. It’s fun to just joke around.

I have been coming to CAF for about a year now, and I have noticed that I spend alot of time on the site. For the most part, it is very helpful and beneficial, but is also a time consumimg habit, when I could/should be studying scripture, books and/or other related topics. So I am trying to limit myself to 1 hour a day.:gopray:

God bless,
Ruth

NEI. Every situation is different.

But when we are here, we are not interacting with family or friends or anyone in our real world.

I want to know what you mean by “real.” Does “real” mean without Internet, and if so, how is that the “real” world?

When people spend hours on this forum, something else has to be neglected. We only have so many hours in a day. Is this time we could be spending in prayer or spiritual reading?

What, pray tell, kind of reply are you trying to get?

Yes. People can spend time on CAF and then regret having spent so much. Do you think we should be able to come up with a formula for how to tell if it’s getting to be borderline?

Let’s face it, not everything posted on CAF is of the highest spiritual level.

Hee hee. What is the “spiritual level” of a thread whose entire purpose appears to be to say, “yes, it’s possible to focus on one thing too long?”

My question is, when does posting on CAF become too much? Or do you all think it is impossible to post too much on CAF or become addicted to it and use this in place of personal spirituality such as prayer or spiritual reading?

Posting on CAF is too much, when a person takes 168 hours in a week, subtracts out commitments, meals, and sleep, and spends more than 39.7% of the remaining time on CAF.

It is possible to become addicted, but it is not possible to do in place of personal spirituality such as prayer, because mystical theology tells us that this posting IS the prayer of a person and both reflects and shapes their “personal spirituality.”

Alan

NEI. Every situation is unique.

But when we are here, we are not interacting with family or friends or anyone in our real world.

I want to know what you mean by “real.” Does “real” mean without Internet, and if so, how is that the “real” world?

When people spend hours on this forum, something else has to be neglected. We only have so many hours in a day. Is this time we could be spending in prayer or spiritual reading?

Yes. We can spend time on CAF or on other things.

Let’s face it, not everything posted on CAF is of the highest spiritual level.

Hee hee. What is the “spiritual level” of a thread whose entire purpose appears to be to say, “yes, it’s possible to focus on one thing too long?”

My question is, when does posting on CAF become too much? Or do you all think it is impossible to post too much on CAF or become addicted to it and use this in place of personal spirituality such as prayer or spiritual reading?

Posting on CAF is too much, when a person takes 168 hours in a week, subtracts out commitments, meals, and sleep, and spends more than 39.7% of the remaining time on CAF.

It is possible to become addicted, but it is not possible to do “in place of” personal spirituality such as prayer, because mystical theology tells us that this posting IS the prayer of a person and both reflects and shapes their “personal spirituality.”

Alan

What is the real world? You don’t think there is a difference between interacting with people in cyberspace as opposed to “face to face”?

This is what Pope Benedict XVI said about cyber relationships:

“The concept of friendship has enjoyed a renewed prominence in the vocabulary of the new digital social networks that have emerged in the last few years. The concept is one of the noblest achievements of human culture. … We should be careful, therefore, never to trivialise the concept or the experience of friendship. It would be sad if our desire to sustain and develop on-line friendships were to be at the cost of our availability to engage with our families, our neighbours and those we meet in the daily reality of our places of work, education and recreation. If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development.”

Yes. One is done primarily through the computer and the other isn’t.

Also, online, you don’t see the person suddenly start ignoring you and texting … so there are forms of rudeness available only to in-person encounters, with respect to technology.

And if you really want to get into “what is real,” maybe we should start a thread for that. I believe Jesus had a lot to say about it.

This is what Pope Benedict XVI said about cyber relationships:

“The concept of friendship has enjoyed a renewed prominence in the vocabulary of the new digital social networks that have emerged in the last few years. The concept is one of the noblest achievements of human culture. … We should be careful, therefore, never to trivialise the concept or the experience of friendship. It would be sad if our desire to sustain and develop on-line friendships were to be at the cost of our availability to engage with our families, our neighbours and those we meet in the daily reality of our places of work, education and recreation. If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development.”

Is this not your answer to the question, and if you knew this why did you ask us?

Sigh.

Anyway he’s right in a sterile sort of way, but the comments are biased and legitimate counterpoint is not referenced, and somehow I suspect the Holy Father is looking to others to feed him information here and is not basing the comments on personal experience.

As far as I go, though, his comments refer to people who are going online do not apply to me because I don’t come here “for friendships” although I have made a couple, my function here would have been complete had I never discussed anything with another poster here outside our posts.

So yeah, I don’t come here looking for friends; I come here for the reasons I outlined earlier in the thread, none of which are what the B16 seems to be talking about. That’s what Facebook is for. Oh yeah I forgot Facebook I keep track of my “real, flesh-and-blood friends,” and have made a couple new ones.

Alan

There is one point I would like to make, though, and that is the seeming presumption that “face to face” time is somehow “better” than online, with the seeming implication is that a healthy balance involves preference to the non-computer activity. To make such a blanket assumption, IMO, causes one to judge one over the other – so when you do one you feel guilty and the other, you feel antsy. Also for those who are truly Spirit-led, to make such an advance judgment interferes with His ability to guide us.

When my house burned down in 2005, Julie and I and our six kids lived in two adjacent apartment with a network cable between them (wireless wasn’t working right) and I thought about something. While I was sitting there chatting online with my kids next door, it occurred to me that from my observable and detectable experience in the moment, this is no different than if the kids move away and we were chatting across the planet. I nurture my “real” relationships every day on the computer for “real life” friends I can’t just jump in a Learjet and go visit but through the rich resources of the Internet, we can do what is second best.

In a nutshell here’s the mentality I’m trying to combat:

1.) Computer = BAD way to socialize
2.) Non-computer = GOOD way to socialize

By now you may be gasping because you are talking about “excessive” use. Well, “excessive” is vague and judgmental which gives rise to its own problems. If all we say it “excessive” use is bad, then every person doing it at all will feel guilty after the first five minutes.

You can go through whatever logical defenses you want, but if you attach “online” with “excessive” even if it be conditional based on the individual and the situation, but it automatically indicts computer as being an evil-brooding distraction – or at least a potential distraction. Now if the Church were to say (I know she won’t but hypothetically) that one hour a day is OK but two is excessive, then at LEAST people can feel “free and clear” for the first hour. That way we aren’t subject to a guilt trip from the second we log in to the second we log out.

Can people go online too much? Of course. Anything can be toxic, including religion. Do you think that somebody who goes to daily Mass at two different places, says 15 decade rosaries twice a day, prays the Liturgy of the Hours, does contemplative prayer 45 minutes a day, daily confession, and neglects family responsibilities because of all that time at religion, is in danger of the exact same issue you’re warning us about online? Funny there is a thread going right now on excessive Churchgoing. We should get you two together! :slight_smile:

Alan

Why are you so angry?

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