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Is Facebook the cause of sin?

November 22, 2010

Rev. Miller wants married people off Facebook. He believes the temptation to reconnect with old flames is too great to resist.

I have to admit that it bothers me that people from my past can find me on Facebook. After all, they are in my past for a reason. Why do they want to be my Facebook “friend”? It seems a curiosity thing more than anything else. And I think we all know the adage about curiosity. Something about killing the cat, I think?

So sure, if you are going to go down the road of memory lane with an old flame, and you are not too bright to understand that as a married person you probably should not do that, then there may very well be trouble.

But is your stupidity (or should I say lack of prudence) Facebook’s fault? I don’t think so. And I don’t believe Rev. Miller is saying Facebook “caused” the marriage problems of couples in his congregation. But in his genuine concern, he is letting his alarm cloud his judgment.

Adults with weak wills are a danger to themselves no matter what they do, whether they are on Facebook are working in an office around members of the opposite sex. And if you add to that any marital problems or discontent, you have a person ready to fall regardless of the method.

Perhaps it is necessary that a Facebook account be closed. But that is up to the individual to decide based on knowing themselves and their habits. Flirting with disaster by befriending an old flame and getting chummy with him or her should be enough to awaken an adult who has common sense that it should not go further. But when you meet in person? That’s something else altogether. Facebook is the least of your worries.

To act on our temptations is the problem. And it is a problem of the will, not the origination of the temptation. We have too many weak-willed adults with questionable habits and character traits in the world causing problems for themselves and their marriages.

Single people, work on strengthening your wills and developing good life habits that are compatible with the vocation to marriage. Date those doing the same. Your love and marriage will be great, and no temptations will hurt them beyond repair.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. Dennis permalink
    December 8, 2010 8:44 pm

    I have a friend at work who was contacted on FB by a girl he knew in high school (she was single at the time). He politely replied something like “I’m happily married and I’ve been married for over 15 years”. She got the message.

    I have attempted to contact people from my past, mostly through phone directories and alumni associations. I’ve reconnected with a few, but not as many as I would have liked, and there are a few out there that I would like to forget.

    Over 10 years ago, I ran into an old fraternity brother. I really did not want to be around him, so I really just gave him the brush off to let him know that I’ve tried to forget part of my life. Last year, my old fraternity sent me an invitation, and I mailed it back with a polite “remove me from your list”.

    Basically, we just need to use discretion on who we communicate with. I’m not on FB, but I’ve been told you can set the controls (contact information) and be careful with what you post. I’ve been asked by at least 30 people to sign up on it, but I’m hesitant to do so.

    Some people use it to communicate with relatives and close friends, some use it for work and school assignments, and some news shows use it for informational purposes. I’ve also been told by friends that people often get “friends of friends” invites, and oftentimes, people ignore those because they don’t officially know you.

    As far as photographs and celebrity fan pages, I don’t know how the “filtering” works to reduce pop-ups and blocking certain profiles. That’s something I will have to check out. I know controls need to be set to keep out “spammers”, and I know at least two people that had their FB account hacked into.

  2. Ken permalink
    December 8, 2010 8:45 pm

    If you do not want to be seen on Face book then don’t have a profile. If you want a profile and don’t want temptation, then do what Nancy Regan said about drugs: “Just say no”.

    Christ resisted the Devils three temptations. Everyone else can as well. It is called being responsible for yourself.

    FB is not the cause of sin, it is what rests in our mind and hearts. If FB temps you disgorge it from your life as should be done with any sin.

    Why not spend time on AMS and find a cure for that heat that God will accept?

  3. anon permalink
    December 8, 2010 8:45 pm

    I just wanted to add one other comment that I thought of after reading the article that you linked to on this site;
    since I don’t have an extensive dating history because I chose NOT to date until I was ready for marriage, this is one complication I don’t have to deal with on fb.
    I can see how couples with EXTENSIVE dating pasts and whom have been in numerous relationships might very well have a serious problem.

    Makes the idea of courtship (that is dating only when you are ready for marriage) instead of having many, many relationships seem very wise indeed.

  4. anon permalink
    December 8, 2010 8:46 pm

    I don’t think this problem is restricted to just facebook. Ithink it’s simply part of the social networking that now exists in our society and a little care is needed just as it was needed in society 50 years ago.
    I am involved in commenting regularly on certain prolife blogs but use a “handle” after being stalked by someone online and threatened. From one blog I followed a link to another new prolife blog and began commenting there. Before I knew it the married author of the blog sent me his telephone number and asked me to call him! I quickly emailed him back and told him that I felt this was inappropriate since I was single and he was married. I am certain his intentions were completely innocent. But the action was inappropriate and to me seemed due to his lack of experience with social media and how this might be perceived by a woman.
    I think, that despite the fact this was innocent on his part – he wanted to connect with various prolifers to develop a network- I did the correct thing. I did have him on fb but have since defriended him.

    I have a few married men whom I met through blogs and even some priests as friends on fb. The relationship is friendly but we rarely communicate.
    I believe one needs to be careful. I have also been refused friending on fb by married friends and also a married priest who helped me through a difficult time in my life a few years ago.
    For the most part though, my friends are women.
    I use fb to network and to keep in touch. I think it is a wonderful tool.

  5. Lynn permalink
    December 8, 2010 8:47 pm

    I agree that there are many people out there with weak will. Many women are using facebook to seduce their friends of the opposite sex by posing in seductive ways, dressing scantily, even beach photos and they simply don’t care if the man looking is married or even a priest or simply a friend whom they can lead to sin. A good woman would never cause her male friends to sin. Some women even change their profile pictures as often as every two days or every week as to have that persom of the opposite sex get hooked or fixed or almost obsessed with looking at her. These women, and I don’t care how Catholics or Christians they say they are, are like a rotten fruit corrupting everything and every one, and men should remove them from their friend list immediately.

    On the other hand, we have those men who are very weak. (and every one knows his/her weaknesses) who don’t care staining their eyes and vission that God gave them for their future wife and only for her, by looking at these women.

    As a woman I find it beyond disgusting seeing a Christian/Catholic man on facebook flirting with these types of women and then say that they want Pure and holy wife.

    Like the previous person said, facebook is not a problem as long as the user knows very well how to use it and how to choose their friends. I only accept relatives and family members and closed friends from Church that I personally know and don’t represent a danger for my soul.

    I also agree that married people should get out of facebook, or have the same (joint) account or only one account for both such as for example Mr&Mrs. Smith. And don’t accept any old flame from neither of them.

    Just my thought

  6. Tobias Nathe permalink
    December 8, 2010 8:47 pm

    I believe Rev. Miller’s position to be more nuanced and frankly, helpful, than is being potrayed here. “I won’t mandate it for the entire congregation, but I hope people will follow my advice,” Miller says. Certainly FB doesn’t “cause” adultery, but it’s not a “neutral” tool which leaves to users the same disposition to refrain from reconnecting with former flames as they would if they were not to use it. He’s had 20 cases in his parish. That says something. It clearly presents for some an occasion of sin (if not a “near” occasion).

    While every sin is ultimately a matter of the will, using FB is also a matter of the will. We can strengthen our wills also by not using it in the first place.

    The larger point here is that the benefits of using FB may be disporportionate to its negatives (including time spent on the Internet itself; see Benjamin Wiker’s excellent article in a recent NC Register editorial), and the additional temptation of reuniting with former flames may be enough, certainly for his parish, to advise cancelling one’s account.

    I don’t have the temptation of note, but I’ve recently cancelled my FB account and I have to say the results have been quite positive.

  7. Mark Pennington permalink
    December 8, 2010 8:48 pm

    BRAVO! Anthony, thank you for not accepting the view that “its somebody’s else’s fault” (in this case, Facebook.) The one weakness I feel cannot be overcome easily is the weakness of not believing how weak we all can be any given moment. Speaking only for myself, I am not God. I am His subordinate, I am his son. I am not invincible. So why would I venture forth alone in the world, without following God’s teaching and sticking to the plan? If I am alert to what is the right thing to do I am far less likely to get caught up in doing the wrong thing. Facebook is a great way to communicate– I have used it recently to encourage my friends and family to celebrate the holy name of Christ this Christmas season. I need to take responsibility for my actions, not blame others (and certainly not blame technology such as FB.)

  8. Mike Patton permalink
    December 8, 2010 8:49 pm

    I believe that the greater danger from using Facebook, especially for men, involves the frequent display and allowance of pornography and provocative images/poses that appears on individual accounts and other pages. Additionally, unwanted pop-up ads of a sexual nature (mostly for secular dating services) are a constant source of temptation (at least for me.) Facebook can be a good communications tool but it’s use has to be carefully used such that pornographic images are not viewed.

  9. Disa permalink
    August 14, 2011 6:24 am

    That really depends on your motive. I use facebook to reconnect with good friends. I have a few people I dated 35 years ago but we are strickly friends and I have added their wives as well so it is clear there is no other agenda. Facebook is a healthy vehicle to become more social in the world when most of us work and come home. At least we are able to have at least a constant dialogue with girlfriends like the good ole days. Facebook friends seem to me to be quite supportive. I have actually spoken to about ten of my friends via telephone and it was just like no time had passed. So, I disagree facebook is a healthy venue to reconnect male or female. If one’s will power is so weak perhaps they need to pray for help from our Lord and put their focus on something else.

  10. Disa permalink
    August 14, 2011 6:33 am

    oh and as a finally note majority of my post are scriptural verses or uplifting thoughts and ideas. It is a great way to get the message out everyday. I love that and I feel it has a contagious affect on others with God for our focus morning, noon and night. I have met many Catholics and have established a bond as sisters in Christ. All of this is food for thought for opposed to the downside of this social media that will not go away probably in our lifetime. Might as well rise about and use it for the good. We spread the good news the best way we can as individuals must do. One soul at a time. Peace.

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