I had joined facebook without really thinking about what I was doing. Sometimes I make picks for the games of the NCAA basketball tournament. I decided to make them on the CBS sportsline website. I liked the way that my choices looked in their proper place on the bracket on the computer screen. To use their bracket I had to join this "facebook" thing I had vaguely heard of. This was several years ago. After I signed up, I started getting requests in my email box, asking me to be a friend. I always said, "no," and deleted them. I hadn't even looked at my facebook site. About six months ago, I decided to become more active at facebook because it was something my son was going to be involved with and I wanted him to have accountability.
I learned a little about facebook. There were many aspects about it that I never liked. I was always uncomfortable there. Everyone in our family has now deleted his facebook account. I'm going to tell my problems with facebook. This will give someone reasons why to delete a facebook account. I'm not expecting that any one of these reasons will be enough to persuade someone to drop it like I did, but all of them combined should at least get you thinking. Once I deleted my account, I have not only not missed it, but it has been wonderful to lose it.
1. Facebook hinders scriptural values.
Facebook wasn't around when David Wells wrote No Place for Truth, but if it was, I think he would have written about it in that book.
Having turned inward in a search for meaning, we turn outward in a search for direction, scanning others for the social signals they emit regarding what is in and what is out, what is desirable and what is not. . . . This person is oriented not to inner values but to other people. It is in the peer group that acceptance is found and outcasts are named. . . . Where once people took pride in accomplishments and in their character, [they] think only of how they stand with others. . . . Once people worked to achieve tangible ends, to accomplish things. Now, such accomplishments are of far less significance than one's "image." Once people worked; now they manipulate. Once people sweated; now they seduce. Once people wished to be respected, to have their accomplishments recognized; now they wish to be envied, regardless of whether they are envied for anything they have actually accomplished.
This characteristic of modernity does not orient itself toward God, but toward people. It influences away from judging based on scriptural values and toward judging based upon a societal norm.
2. Facebook alters the biblical understanding of friendship.
To be a friend at facebook, just click. Normally I'm careful with whom I choose as friends. I might be able to be a friend to someone, but someone can't be a friend to me without fulfilling certain characteristics. James tells us (4:4) that friendship with the world is enmity with God. I can't have enmity with God, so I can restrain myself in my choice of friends. I'm to have no company with certain people and mark and avoid others. People in your "friends" list at facebook might be people that would never join my church. We don't believe or practice the same. I don't want to call them my friends. In so doing, I believe I'm just dumbing down what the Bible says about a friend. Here's something else that Dr. Carl Trueman said about it:
The way of connecting with people on Facebook is, apparently, to `friend' somebody. That the noun has become a verb is scarcely cause for concern; but the cheapening of the word surely is. Simply to be linked to someone on the internet is not true friendship; yet the use of the word creates the image that such is the case, or at least blurs the difference between casual internet acquaintance and somebody for whom one might have real affinity, affection, and concern. . . . Further, as the language of friendship is hijacked and cheapened by these internet social networks, this cheapening itself is part and parcel of a redefining of intimacy based upon the erosion of the boundaries between the public and private.
3. Facebook sets wicked things before your eyes.
I can't control the content of what I look at on my facebook page. I not only look at things I don't want to see, but I invite others to look at them when they look at my facebook page. Pictures, advertisements, and statements show up that I don't want to see or have others see either.
4. Facebook causes people to stumble.
I might be able to handle some of what my "friends" believe and practice, but not everyone can. I'd rather not introduce people to other people that I'd rather they didn't meet.
5. Facebook hinders real discernment.
If you were to judge each of your friends based upon a scriptural standard, you would probably lose a large number of them. But you don't. Why? You want to be sociable. It encourages you to make decisions based upon how you feel instead of what the Bible says.
6. Facebook wastes time.
I know you could argue with me on this one by pointing out other ways I waste time. You may think that I'm doing that by writing this blog. Fine. I think it's different but I'm not going to take the time to defend my blog writing right now. Here's how facebook uniquely wastes time. You open yourself up to social activity that you wouldn't choose as a good use of your minutes. You have a friend who isn't much of a friend. That friend writes on your wall. Now what do you have to do? You have to write something back to him. Don't you want to keep your choices about communication under control? You have created new things to take away time from something productive. If you have facebook, you've got to maintain it. Is it worth maintaining?
7. Facebook encourages busybodying.
I've had people ask to be my friend whom I know don't care about me. I know they don't really want to be my friend. What is it that people want? They want to find out what you're doing. I'm not ashamed of what I'm doing, but I believe that this kind of voyeurism fits the biblical criteria of the busybody. It influences others toward being one. "Why did so and so become his friend and not mine?" "I wonder why he has so many friends or who those people are."
8. Facebook hinders real relationships.
Do you think that a real relationship is sitting in front of a computer screen at 11:00 at night? When you could be talking to a real person either in person or by phone, you are constructing your facebook persona.
9. Facebook doesn't like bold, biblical Christianity.
Watch your "friends" list shrink when you confront people about something sinful on their wall, in a photo, or in a comment. Facebook isn't designed for confrontational Christianity, the kind we see Jesus do in the Bible. Typical facebook brings up something essentially secular, earthly, or temporal. You then interact on the same level, training yourself to do more of it. It is a bastion of compromise.
10. Facebook redefines biblical community.
In a real community people do things for each other. Facebook isn't about doing anything to help anyone. I'm not saying that nothing can be done, but it doesn't encourage that. It encourages a fake community. You can join a cause, but what does the cause really do? When you're asked to join a cause, for instance, against internet pornography. That is good. That's a wonderful thing to be against. I'm even for being in a group that is against it. It might even make me think more about being against it. But how are you helping get rid of pornography? What you could do is talk to someone that has an immodest picture up and ask him to take it down. And I really am part of a group that is already against it---my church.
11. Facebook offers way too much acceptance.
Much of what is on facebook should be rejected. However, facebook is all about affirming. You affirm people that really need confrontation. Since very often you can't really know the person you're talking to, you could easily be reaffirming someone with a lukewarm, worldly brand of Christianity that isn't honoring to Christ.
12. Facebook is too public.
Yes, too public. What do I mean? It offers people an opportunity to snoop around and get information. I recognize that you have means on facebook to control that, but it still is a place for trolling perverts. I don't want to be on the same playing field with them or encourage others to be there with me....and him.
13. Facebook preys on fleshly tendencies of man's nature.
Facebook makes you think too much about yourself. Your status shouldn't matter. Someone shouldn't have to return a comment just because you've made one. Facebook fits the narcissism of our day in which men have become lovers of their own selves. What difference does it make how many friends you have as long as you have the friend of sinners Himself, the Lord Jesus.
14. Facebook breaks down decent language.
You can talk right on facebook, but it doesn't encourage it. What it encourages is drivel. We should want to elevate one another, to bring up the level of discourse. That doesn't occur when these abbreviations and slang are used. Young people even feel pressured to bow to talking like this. It attacks spelling, grammar, syntax, and cogent thought. It's lazy speech and many times gutter language.
15. Facebook spawns fraudulence and hypocrisy.
You don't have to be who you are on facebook. You can create a whole different persona of yourself that is a lie. It spawns this kind of activity. Here's what Trueman wrote on this:
On Facebook, I can be anybody I want to be: an eighteen year old Californian with a six-pack, good teeth, a sun tan and a pilot's license; or even a 25 year old blonde beauty queen from North Carolina with a degree in astrophysics. I can become the ultimate in self-created beings - a factor which, I am sure, also partially explains the massive, if little noted, popularity of role-playing video games in the modern world. In virtual world, be it Facebook or the undersea city portrayed in Bioshock, I can be anyone I choose to be. I am the Creator; or at least, I have the potential to think I am.
Even if you sort of know who you're talking to, the person can take advantage of the anonymity of it.
16. Facebook tempts toward infidelity.
I've seen married women talking to younger men on facebook, legitimizing this kind of relationship and giving a false boost to the boy's ego. Her picture might be the most inviting, even a little risque, putting thoughts in his mind that he shouldn't have. Men like to hear someone boast on them, and perhaps they're not getting enough of that at home. These places and others stimulate that kind of activity. Men and women mix in unhealthy ways that would be discouraged in a different setting. Her husband may not be talking to her like she is talked to. She doesn't have to work at it. She can just go to her facebook to get what she needs.
17. Facebook makes you a consumer in a day when we need more producers.
Facebook is a company. They sell ads. They make money off of you. You may not buy anything, but you are another statistic for them to use to sell ads. In other words, facebook is using you. You may think that you are using facebook, but I would say that the owners think otherwise, especially as they laugh all the way to the bank.
18. Facebook is an easy temptation when you need to be getting something done---really done.
You need to write. Go to facebook instead. Homework not done. Gotta do facebook. Need to memorize some Scripture. Facebook is there. Haven't exercised. Oh well, let's facebook. Trueman again writes:
Well, the virtual world is new but it is here to stay; and it will no doubt continue to shape human behavior and self-understanding. We cannot ignore it but neither should we simply allow it to dictate to us who we are and how we think. Thus, we must teach people by precept and example that real life is lived primarily in real time in real places by real bodies. Pale and pimply bloggers who spend most of their spare time onanistically opining about themselves and their issues and in befriending pals made up of pixels are not living life to the full; nor are those whose lives revolve around videogames; rather they are human amoebas, subsisting in a bizarre non-world which involves no risk to themselves, no giving of themselves to others, no true vulnerability, no commitment, no self-sacrifice, no real meaning or value. To borrow a phrase from Thoreau, the tragedy of such is that, when they come to die, they may well discover that they have never actually lived.
For myself, I rejoice that I grew up before the web and the videogame supplanted the real world of real friendships, real discussions, real lives. I did not spend my youth growing obese and developing Vitamin D deficiency in front of an illuminated screen, living my life through the medium of pixels.
19. Facebook causes more facebook.
Very few people could handle facebook in a scriptural manner. It offers so many temptations. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
Nineteen might seem like a lot. I could have named more.