“As in every age, God calls His children to stop, study what captures their attention in this world, weigh the consequences, and fight for undistracted hearts before Him. To that end, here are ten diagnostic questions we can ask ourselves in the digital age:
1. Do my smartphone habits expose an underlying addiction to untimely amusements?
2. Do my smartphone habits reveal a compulsive desire to be seen and affirmed?
3. Do my smartphone habits distract me from genuine communion with God?
4. Do my smartphone habits provide an easy escape from sobered thinking about my death, the return of Christ, and eternal realities?
5. Do my smartphone habits preoccupy me with the pursuit of worldly success?
6. Do my smartphone habits mute the sporadic leading of God’s Spirit in my life?
7. Do my smartphone habits preoccupy me with dating and romance?
8. Do my smartphone habits build up Christians and my local church?
9. Do my smartphone habits center on what is necessary to me and beneficial to others?
10. Do my smartphone habits disengage me from the needs of the neighbors God has placed right in front of me?
Let’s be honest: our digital addictions (if we can call them that) are welcomed addictions. The key is to move from being distracted on purpose to being less and less distracted with an eternal purpose.
The questions sting, and they touch every area of life—God, spouse, family, friends, work, leisure, and self-projection. But this sting can lead us to make healthy changes.”
—Tony Reinke, 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 51-53.
“We have entered on a new phase of culture—we may call it the Age of the Cinema—in which the most amazing perfection of scientific technique is being devoted to purely ephemeral objects, without any consideration of their ultimate justification.
It seems as though a new society was arising which will acknowledge no hierarchy of values, no intellectual authority, and no social or religious tradition, but which will live for the moment in a chaos of pure sensation.
Such a society is by no means inconceivable. It had its counterpart in the great cities of the Roman Empire, which lived for the games of the amphitheatre and the circus. But it is obvious that civilization of this kind holds no promise for the future save that of social disintegration.
Moreover, the fact that religion no longer finds a place in social life does not necessarily involve the disappearance of the religious instinct. If the latter is denied its normal expression, and driven back upon itself, it may easily become an anti-social force of explosive violence.”
–Christopher Dawson, Progress and Religion: An Historical Inquiry (1931; Peru, IL: Sherwood Sugden & Co., 1991), 176-7.
“Turn off the television. It is not necessary for relevance. And it is a deadly place to rest the mind. Its pervasive banality, sexual innuendo, and God-ignoring values have no ennobling effects on the preacher’s soul. It kills the spirit. It drives God away. It quenches prayer. It blanks out the Bible. It cheapens the soul. It destroys spiritual power. It defiles almost everything. I have taught and preached for twenty years now and never owned a television. It is unnecessary for most of you, and it is spiritually deadly for all of you.”
–John Piper, “Preaching as Worship: Meditations on Expository Exultation” (Trinity Journal 16 : 29-45): 44.
“All public discourse increasingly takes the form of entertainment. Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.”
–Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death (New York: Penguin Books, 1986), 3-4.