Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” – Genesis 11:4
Recent studies by Pew Forum state only 20% of Americans are sharing their faith online weekly; less are Christians. Ironically, the amount of time spent on social media has consistently increased. Naturally, the question arises “What are we doing online?”
Studies have shown that the billions of social media users are increasingly addicted. The most prominent studies have demonstrated that these addictions are rooted in the deep longings for recognition and relationship. For many, social media has little to do with friendly interaction and intellectual engagement. Instead, much of our need for social media is fueled by our urge to register up likes, shares, and retweets. Research shows we respond to the validating rush of new “likes”. When this phenomenon happens our brain’s “reward centers” light up. In connection to this validating satisfaction, studies also associate social media addiction with lower self-esteem and poor self-worth in subjects.
It appears that what we do on social media actually has much to do with God regardless of the 20% statistic quoted earlier. It may not be the God of Israel, but it surely may be the “god” we see in the mirror or shall I say “selfie”. Notice the strange dynamics of constantly checking blog statistics, retweets, shares, and follows. We constantly wonder how we are being worshiped, adored, respected, admired, or followed through our Social Media Kingdoms.
The fearful yet prideful cries of Babel echo through Redemptive History to teach us an important lesson about human intelligence in the absence of giving God the Glory. “Come, let us make a name for ourselves” (Gen 11:4). Like social media, the building project itself did not represent humanity’s sin. However, the sin was demonstrated in the purpose for which the advancement of human intelligence would be used. Human hubris had taken human intelligence and used it to “make a name for ourselves”. Scholars state the word name here refers to reputation or a memorial. Therefore, it becomes even clearer that the community was seeking to establish a memorial or testimony for themselves in exclusion of God. This colossal pride is very paradoxical. Instead of becoming boastful and fearless they become weak and paranoid. They look to exalt themselves in fear that they will become dispersed.
The Tower of Babel is the epitome of human sin and a complete reversal of the Bible’s story of redemption. Instead of God coming down to man in redemption, Man builds a tower to God in rebellion. They sought to make a name for themselves! They used technology to exalt themselves over God. Social Media and technology is ultimately a tool that demonstrates what we really worship, like treasure, time, and talent. Those things are morally neutral; its how we use them that makes them good or bad. Social Media can be used to enhance God OR enhance us.
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SOURCE: H.B. Charles Jr. Ministries