This is Pastor Tim’s article that appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, Jan 17, 2022
If you happen to be a regular reader of my articles, you know that I hate social media. It has nothing to do with me being a pastor because there are plenty of pastors on social media, and there is nothing wrong with that. My hate of social media is a personal hatred. I had a Twitter account about 5 years ago and deleted it. I had a Facebook account almost 10 years ago and deleted that as well. I currently have an Instagram account to follow the Babylon Bee, the funniest account on the internet. Someday, I am going to write an article on the Babylon Bee, and if you think that satire is as funny as I do, then you are in for a treat.
Today, I want to give a little explanation of a change that took place recently, and I want to show you why this change could be dangerous. You may have heard that Facebook recently changed its name to Meta. What the former Facebook Company wants to do is go to the next level of social media by introducing virtual reality. Sure, on the surface, this sounds like a bad sci fi movie from the 1980s, but that is what is happening here. The entire world is planning to go virtual.
The claim is that in the Metaverse, you can do everything that you can do in reality. You can go to a shopping center and have the sensation that you are in a store. You push your cart down a virtual aisle, select products, pay your bill, and then all of the products are shipped to you. You can hit the mall yet never leave your couch. You can have virtual social interactions by creating an avatar and going to virtual places without ever taking off your pajamas. You can make your virtual character look anyway you want. We can all be a 25-year-old stinking rich super model living the high life, driving a cool car, and just being perfect. It is possible to have physical encounters of many different kinds with people while being all by yourself.
Did you notice how many times I used the word virtual? Do you know what the word virtual means? Oxford dictionary defines the word virtual as “almost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition.” Can I simplify this definition for you? It means NOT REAL.
I know that as a pastor, I am supposed to oppose all new ideas and be a stick in the mud, but can we all just agree that this is a terrible idea? The Metaverse is the next logical step because so many people are living virtually through screens anyway. Most of us are to the point we would rather text someone than talk to them. With the Metaverse, this divide is going to do nothing but get worse.
My greatest fear is that when the Metaverse opens to the public it will be billed as a safer alternative to reality. There is no risk of COVID, no danger that is associated with things like driving cars, playing sports, or going to church. That is how this will be promoted; it is a safer alternative to reality.
This is dangerous. We are already too dependent on screens as it is. For us to give up what little humanity we have left, to live our lives as pixels in a computer program, is to give up this wonderful life God has given us. It is too much dependence on technology and has ton of risk involved that you will never be told about. Not only will it rob you of anything real in your life, but it will also open you up to dangers we are not even aware of yet.
Don’t give up the life you have been given to go live as a cartoon. What the Metaverse will become is an incredible fantasy, and we are already losing too many people to addictions today. To be able to be a character in someone’s fantasy will offer a level of addiction that will cause people to give up their own identity, choosing instead to be a personality they created. Everyone you meet will be a character played by someone who is nothing like their real self, and no one will know who you are either.
The risk of this experience is simply too great. Please don’t let your kids on it, and please don’t you be a part of it either. There is no chance the Metaverse becomes a positive thing for people. Save yourself the heartache.