Sunday, November 27, 2005

God & The Internet

Over at Hirhurim, Gil has a post entitled "God on the Internet," about the article in First Things by the same name.
"On the Internet, those dissatisfied with what they find in their religious brick-and-mortar communities can simply retreat into a virtual world in which they are surrounded entirely by like-minded people."
Very true and very dangerous. Most people don't know about the VBM, the Tanach Study Center, 613, and the hundreds of various Torah sites. Unfortunately, teens, generally the most at risk, turn to sites like Frumteens (no link for him), which get plenty of publicity (relative to the rest). Don't forget all of the "Jewish" sounding sites. We get upset when Jews for Jesus come into our neighborhoods, dressed like frum Jews, and sell their wares. The Internet is no different. In attempting to find like minded individuals you run the risk of closing your mind, not having discussion. A teenager with questions who turns to Frumteens will never realize that there are other possibilities and better answers. Closing yourself off with like minded people can be dangerous.

Yes, people use the online world to find those like minded souls, with whom they can daven as well as speak. Unfortunately they can also use it to find those they can speak with who do not daven. Or those who seem like they're speaking but aren't. But hey, that's why we're here, to offer an alternative.