83.6 F
Friday, June 21, 2024
HomeCommentaryIs digital affirmation taking the place of God?

Is digital affirmation taking the place of God?


Related stories

Foolishness As a Mirror

Explore the ancient spiritual concept of "holy fools" - eccentric figures who renounced worldly possessions to challenge society's norms and promote deeper faith across religions like Christianity, Eastern Orthodox, and more. Discover their radical role.

A Pilgrim Returns from Catholic Pilgrimage, Heart and Faith on Fire

A profound personal account of spiritual awakening and miracles experienced at the historic first Catholic National Eucharistic Pilgrimage in Idaho. The author shares how encountering the Blessed Sacrament in procession reignited their love for Jesus and the Eucharist, sparking a renewed hunger to deepen their faith journey.

Jewish Voices Protest Israeli Violence, Build Interfaith Solidarity in Spokane

Jewish Voice for Peace Spokane led an interfaith rally protesting the escalating Israeli violence against Palestinians and 76 years of ethnic cleansing and apartheid policies. The activists challenged local ties supporting the Israeli occupation, while building solidarity across Muslim, Christian, and diverse community groups against white supremacy threats.

Apology from U.S. Catholic bishops falls short for traumatized Indigenous families

Learn about the U.S. Catholic bishops' apology for the mistreatment of Indigenous families in American Indian boarding schools and how little it matters.

Machine guns and domestic violence: What is the future of gun control legislation?

Insights into the differences between two crucial gun control cases and their potential impact on future legislation. A must-read for those passionate about gun rights and public safety.

Our Sponsors


“I am beautiful; I’m exceptional; and I’m powerful; all because love is inside me calling me to be a daughter of destiny.”

These lyrics from “Daughter of Destiny” on the latest Ginny Owens album sum up the views of many religions. For perhaps thousands of years people have been affirmed by words such as these. From Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Mormonism, we have been told we are unique creations of the living God. In fact, we are made in the image of God. Our lives have a purpose. And if we go wrong, God will forgive us, wipe the slate clean, and call us back to destiny.

But now in the 21st century, a new institution has emerged. We are able to design social media pages that show us at our best. We can upload manicured photos of us laughing, singing and dancing among all our hundreds of friends. Our many accomplishments can be listed in our timelines. Our lives are significant and we have a purpose because it’s written right there in the captions. And if we go wrong, there is always the delete button. It’s like the transgression never even happened. Facebook still wants us back.

Catalina Toma, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, has studied the effect of Facebook on a user’s self-esteem. Her findings are published in a Media Psychology paper titled “Feeling Better but Doing Worse: Effects of Facebook Self-Presentation on Implicit Self-Esteem and Cognitive Task Performance.” A summary can be found on the website Science Daily, Facebook Profiles Raise User’s Self-Esteem and Affect Behavior.

“A Facebook profile is an ideal version of self,” the summary says, “full of photos and posts curated for the eyes of family, friends and acquaintances.” After people spent time viewing their own profiles, however, they performed worse in simple cognitive laboratory tests. “Performing well in a task can boost feelings of self-worth,” Toma says. “However, if you already feel good about yourself because you looked at your Facebook profile, there is no psychological need to increase your self-worth by doing well in a laboratory task.” In other words, we often get satisfaction by completing a task, but this satisfaction can be replaced simply by viewing our own Facebook profile. Toma cautioned that this does not necessarily translate into poor performance in other aspects of life. More testing is needed.

So how does this kind of affirmation compare with that which comes from a religious experience? If you’re feeling good about yourself because of your Facebook page, is there less of a need for God? And is this kind of affirmation healthy for us or society?


Bruce Meyer
Bruce Meyerhttp://www.dominsions.com
Bruce Meyer writes about the relationship between the physical universe and the pursuit of spirituality.

Our Sponsors



0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11 years ago

Interesting questions and insights raised in this post, Bruce. I cannot help but think that the way we view ourselves, either through social media or what others say about us, is an illusion. Or as the writer of Ecclesiastes says poignantly, “All is vanity.” Don’t you think it’s a universal struggle, perhaps even a temptation, to look good? Hence the one-dimensional side people choose to reveal on Facebook. Hence the anonymity of confessional, honest sites like postsecret.com.

Bruce Meyer
Bruce Meyer
11 years ago

Good points Lace! I wonder if we start believing the one-dimensional illusions we choose to tell on Facebook rather than the real messed-up me?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x