Digital Resistance: Three Routines for the World wide web Age

For much of the earlier handful of a long time, I have been reading and contemplating about the formative electricity of World wide web know-how on our mental, emotional, and spiritual lives. As I have shared with persons the ideas in my e-book Electronic Liturgies, one issue arrives up additional typically than any other: “What do we do about this?”

This is a tough concern not only mainly because identifying challenges is simpler than producing useful remedies, but also for the reason that our first instinct in chatting about the effects of electronic everyday living is frequently to try the not possible: switch back the clock, place the digital Pandora again in her box, stand athwart technological historical past, and yell “Stop!” Even if we could summon the will to delete all our accounts and get rid of all our products, we would not alter the type of globe we and our neighbors inhabit. Faithfulness to Jesus are unable to and does not necessarily mean time journey. “So,” folks will check with confusedly, “what must we do?”

My respond to is that we must consider not (largely) in conditions of retreat, but in terms of resistance. The undesirable news is that the thought designs of the world-wide-web are so embedded into modern day daily life that we are unable to efficiently stay clear of them. The fantastic news is that the similar responsiveness to the power of routine that tends to make online addiction so powerful also makes analog resistance powerful. If God created human beings as physical creatures who need to inhabit a physical, goal environment to dwell as he designed us to reside, then this inhabiting of the actual world is not a “hack” we should manufacture, but something deeply consonant with our created nature.

Analog resistance merely indicates practicing practices that accord with our elementary needs as God-produced individuals. Permit me, then, give 3 of these desires and a few corresponding behaviors.

Want #1: Permanent Terms

The Online age is an onslaught of text. The regular human being in the United States wakes up and, although rest still lingers in the eyes, reaches for a glass rectangle that will show new words. These terms may be about the newest scandal in Washington, DC, or the most recent gadget from Silicon Valley, or a everyday living-altering update from an employer, a mate, or a family members member. A individual can eat all a few styles of messages ahead of increasing from their pillow. There is no restrict to the sort of text a electronic age can speak to us.

Simply because the material of our minds deeply shapes the posture of our hearts, the abundance of online phrases produces an urgent want for some thing permanent: a bedrock of truth against which the most current novelties, temptations, and anxieties crash and shatter into the ephemera that they are.

Behavior 1: Meditate everyday on Scripture.

Scripture is that bedrock. The inspired phrases of the Bible, directly from

Read More

The New Age spirituality of TikTok, from prosperity gospel to manifesting

“It just doesn’t sit right with me,” begins a TikTok by a user named Evelyn Juarez. It’s a breakdown of the tragedy at Astroworld, the Travis Scott concert in early November where eight people died and more than 300 were injured. But the video isn’t about what actually happened there. It’s about the supposed satanic symbolism of the set: “They tryna tell us something, we just keep ignoring all the signs,” reads its caption, followed by the hashtags #wakeup, #witchcraft, and #illuminati.

Juarez, a 25-year-old in Dallas, is a typical TikToker, albeit a quite popular one, with 1.4 million followers. Many of her videos reveal an interest in true crime and conspiracy theories — the Gabby Petito case, for instance, or Lil Nas X’s “devil shoes,” or the theory that multiple world governments are hiding information about Antarctica. One of her videos from November suggests that a survey sent to Texas residents about the use of electricity for critical health care could signify that “something is coming and [the state government] knows it.”

Her beliefs are reminiscent of many others on the internet, people who speak of “bad vibes,” demonic spirits, or a cosmic calamity looming just over the horizon, one that the government may be trying to keep secret. Juarez tells me she was raised Christian, although at age 19 she began to have a more personal relationship with God outside of organized religion.

Today, she identifies more as spiritual, as an increasing number of young people do, many of them working out their ideas in real time online. They may talk about manifesting their dreams and faceless sex traffickers waiting to install tracking devices on women’s parked cars. Some might act almost as prophets or shamans, spreading the good word and guiding prospective believers, while others might just lurk in the comments. They might believe all or only some of these ideas — part of the draw of internet spirituality is that it’s perfectly pick-and-choosable — but more than anything, they believe in the importance of keeping an open mind to whatever else might be out there.

I asked Joseph Russo, a professor of anthropology at Wesleyan University, if this loosely related web of beliefs could ever come together to form into its own kind of religion. “I think it already has,” he says.

Call it the religion of “just asking questions.” Or the religion of “doing your own research.” It’s still in its infancy, and has evolved in an attempt to correct a societal wrong: that the world is a pretty fucked up place and it doesn’t seem like the current system of dealing with it is really working, so maybe something else is going on, something just out of reason’s reach. The religion of the internet has also already culminated in real-world violence, the most obvious examples being the QAnon-related coup on January 6 and the conspiracy theories surrounding lifesaving vaccines. Yet its more innocuous effects have been likewise transformative.

Consider the

Read More