"We’ve become addicts to the god of information."

Catholic Exchange catholicexchange.com/2009/03/07/116539/

Taking a Sabbath from Technology

Posted By Mark Earley On March 7, 2009
Note: This commentary was delivered by PFM President Mark Earley .

Try this experiment: Shut down your computer, turn off your cell phone, unplug your iPod, hide your Blackberry, and click off the television. Then, pick up a book. Read for an hour. When you’re done, pull out a sheet of paper and write a letter. And then, go for a walk outside.

If you find this scenario difficult, you’re not alone. Mark Bittman, writing in the New York Times , describes taking a break from technology for an entire day: “I woke up nervous, eager for my laptop . . . I was jumpy, twitchy, uneven.”

According to a 2005 survey, most Americans—including children—spend at least nine hours a day watching TV, surfing the web, or talking on their cell phones. Of those hours, one-third of the time is spent using two or more of those media at once.

Amen to that!! What a great challenge. I think I will comply.


We are not addicts to the “god of information.” This is just another attempt for Catholicism to portray itself as being persecuted, even though that is nowhere near the case.

We’re not addicted to technology, just become too reliant on technology. But that’s not the case for everyone, of course.

Reading a book, sure, but how could I write & print out the letter with my PC turned off?

What I don’t get as people who complain about how addicted we are to the internet and tv and cell phones, but think reading and writing are great. I enjoy all of those, and I don’t buy into the fact that reading is oh-so-much more intelligent and worthwhile. I love a good book, and I love a good TV show, and I love a good fanfiction online. I don’t like being told I’m awesome for liking to read but an idiot for watching a bunch of TV.

I enjoy handwriting letters to family and friends. I like getting creative by using different kinds of stationery, stamps, stickers… And I think it really makes a difference for the recipient to receive a handwritten letter instead of a printed letter, it makes it that much more personal and unique (at least it does for me). I definitely think handwriting letters has become a lost art.:coffeeread:

Here is an article to peruse: The Lost Art of Hand Writing hyper-info.com/pages/essay/the-lost-art-of-hand-writing.html

I have to agree with siamesecat on this one. Entertainment is entertainment…reading a book isn’t different from reading articles online or reading short stories online or watching tv or anything else. There are good things you can do online, like research or reading articles or whatever…and there are bad things. But you can also read a good book or a piece of trash. I like watching TV and movies and I do it with my family…we would be more isolated if we were all just reading different books in our rooms or something…instead of watching tv shows together and talking about them during the commercials or after the show is over.
I think knocking the net or tv is a pretty easy thing to do. But there’s nothing wrong with either.

St Paul has a couple of insights for the issue :slight_smile:

“Have nothing to do with the pointless philosophical discussions and antagonistic beliefs of the ‘knowledge’ which is not knowledge at all; by adopting this, some have gone right away from the faith. Grace be with you.” [1 Timothy 6 20-21]

“The time is sure to come when, far from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to myths.” [2 Timothy 3:3-5]

I enjoy coming here and to other sites to discuss news and ideas with other intelligent people with varying points of view. Cellphones are another way to keep in touch with other human beings. Human beings need contact with other human beings, and in our fast paced society the internet is one way to meet that need from the comfort of ones home. Cellphones are great ways to keep connected with family and friends. My teenagers love to text and have turned me on to that! I’ve grown to love it!

One of the things I gave up for Lent was my four hours of NPR every morning. Instead, I listen to chant or ren-music while I’m doing my morning tasks at work.


:bigyikes: Holy cow! And that was 4 years ago! :eek: I love my days when I’m “disconnected” :slight_smile:

When our computer broke for 2 weeks last year, it amazed me how often during the day I thought, “Oh, I need to go look that up on the internet,” and then I realized I’d just have to wait to find out the answer to my question. :smiley:

In today’s world, it is impossible to avoid the temptation brought on by the idolatry of information, so it must be managed. One technique to combat corruption and acedia brought on from information overload is to spend time contemplating God as He is present in nature. I picked this up from taking the Prayer and Life Workshop by Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga.

It’s really simple–grab a Bible and go outside! Finding a quiet outdoor place these days can be hard, but it is well worth it. Turn off the cell phone and just contemplate the creatures, and how much God loves you–even more than them. If you find your mind wandering, that is what the Bible is for. It goes a long way. :slight_smile:

I “tune out all electronica” at least once a week. I live near a park so sometimes I go out in the woods to the creek. I will take my cell phone just in case God forbid a freak of nature accident happens, but it is turned off.

I love to read too.

The most I ever went without the internet was one week.

I cracked up when I saw the comment about writing letters and one commented…

Reading a book, sure, but how could I write & print out the letter with my PC turned off?

Now on that? I agree! lol :thumbsup:

Additional article posted March 13, 2009 from Catholic Exchange regarding this topic:catholicexchange.com/2009/03/13/116678/

**Examining our Consciences Regarding Use of the Internet

*When the Vatican called for Catholics to abstain from their high-tech world of social networking, Internet surfing, and texting during Lent, I could hear a collective gasp reverberate through the Catholic community — and even though I couldn’t relate, I knew this was a near-impossible task for many.

This isn’t to say there aren’t times where a burst of energy and enthusiasm for the endless possibilities of technology don’t propel me to make a new connection here and there, but, for the most part, my efforts are paltry at best.

There is, however, an ever-growing trend for Catholics to become addicted to their daily forays into cyber world. Thousands upon thousands of people depend upon the social interaction that they experience through the Internet. Bloggers and Tweeters have a large number of followers just waiting for the next post, eager to login and “chat” or comment.*

Here’s one from Catholic Culture:

The Lean Clean Culture Machine
by Dr. Jeff Mirus, March 13, 2009

*But the obvious response is: “So what?” Apart from certain kinds of information (like weather reports, emergency broadcasts, critical news, and of course this column), one may legitimately question whether we really need mass media at all. Are we going to be somehow imperiled or impoverished if we don’t get our regular heavy dose of supine entertainment?

It is beyond dispute that television, movies, the Internet, radio, and video games sometimes have positive value and can frequently be innocently entertaining, offering legitimate forms of relaxation. But it is equally beyond dispute that the vast majority of us would be better off if we spent less time absorbing what these diverse media have to offer, and more time on disciplined activities which, in the long run, are more useful, more deeply enriching, and more fully human.

In other words, we generally do not need this stuff and we are often noticeably better off without it. Moreover, unless we’ve successfully done without it for a significant period of time, we will never know how dependent we are on it or, to put it another way, how under-developed we are as human persons because of our constant exposure to it.

That is such a lovely idea! And you know, I find that when I do spiritual reading outside, it doesn’t even have to be that quiet. I can watch my kids at the playground (which is fenced in, and usually we’re the only ones there) and sit and read my Lenten spiritual reading and feel SO much more refreshed! Or I can even go out on the deck to do a little reading or praying while my children nap inside, even though we are close to a main road and hear traffic sounds (and frequently hear sirens–an extra prayer intention!). Just being unplugged from technology and plugged into the “real world” once in a while makes such a difference! :thumbsup:

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