The sacred and social media

Letter to the Big Issue, responding to the Editor’s Letter of 14 November 2022.

In his most-recent Editor’s letter, Paul McNamee made the connection between a decline in Christian adherence and quasi-religious fervour for social media. It put me in mind of a quote by Australian theologian Michael Bird, who contends that human societies never truly replace God but appoint new objects of worship. Bird writes: “Marvel superheroes replace saints. Sports stadiums replace cathedrals. Technologists are the new prophets… people become more driven to worship, and what they worship is what satisfies their desires”. The problem with this approach is it will never satisfy our deepest longing. The accumulation of money, possessions, experience, and esteem leaves us feeling strangely empty. What we truly need is relationship – with one another, but most-fundamentally with the one who made us, God. The good news is we can have this, through encountering Jesus and receiving forgiveness and new life. I pray many will this Christmas. Jamie Gillies

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