Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reasons Why Not to Have a Facebook Account

Update: Here are a few other related articles that have been brought to my attention.

Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook

How to Quit Facebook Without Actually Quitting Facebook

Fed Up With Facebook? Delete it, and Here's How

Reclaiming Privacy

Kent Brandenburg is someone that I rarely agree with. I once was a fundamentalist as he is. But I still share some concerns that they have about worldliness. I don't always agree on their specifics of what constitutes worldliness. But here he gives good reasons why not to have a Facebook account. Certainly, some of these reasons can be applied to other orbits of the Internet (I don't even believe in Powerpoint Preaching).

Facebook (and addiction to it) is pervasive in the Evangelical church. My first concern about it happened when I attended seminary. Yes, I said seminary. I noticed that scores of seminarians were addicted to it -- spending 2–5 hours a day on it. I have no idea how they managed their studies by being consumed by this social network. I never asked. But maybe I should have. That was over three years ago. I cannot imagine how more prevalent it is today. Should seminaries crack down on facebook addiction with students? Should God's people finance tens of thousands of dollars to send their young men to seminary so they can play on facebook all day and night?

I think we can have a beneficial discussion on this topic. What are your thoughts after you have read all of Kent's reasons.


  1. I disagree. His reasons don't have much to do with Facebook itself but with how people use (or rather, misuse) it. I guess if you find yourself using it the way he describes, then it would be a problem.

    Personally, I find Facebook useful, because most of my family lives about 800 miles away, and I have other casual friends and acquaintances that I otherwise would not be in touch with. Facebook is good for maintaining those kinds of connections.

  2. louis,

    What about using the telephone or email to keep in touch with them? They are more intimate means of fellowship.

  3. Yes, different levels of communication for different purposes, I guess. There are people that I wouldn't call, that I might e-mail, and those I wouldn't even e-mail, but I "talk" with on Facebook. The problem is when you confuse those things.

    Facebook doesn't substitute for calling my mom. Phone conversations don't substitute for actually spending time with friends who live in the same city I do, etc. On the other hand, I have cousins I hadn't talked to in 10 years until Facebook came along.

    It is true, though, one has to keep these things in balance, and many people don't.

  4. louis,

    Thanks for your point. I should had made a qualification in my post: there may be legitimate ad hoc reasons to have a facebook account. But I don't want the exceptions to overshadow what seems to be the norm: overuse to the detriment of the Christian soul.

    As a disclaimer I do participate in a theological chat room at times. And I am a member of a myfamily, which I view rarely. But I don't see any moral equivalence between these Internet programs and facebook. Facebook is an animal unto itself.

    The parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 is a salient teaching from our Lord on stewardship (of time). Not that wasting time is the only reason not to have facebook. Kent lists 19 reasons.

    One day many Christians will have to shamefully say to our Lord that they spent more time on facebook than spending time working in the Kingdom and being in his Word.

  5. Thanks for the reminder, Alan. Now come support our church plant effort on..... Facebook! lol!!/pages/OPC-Louisville/110579995644391

  6. I personally find very little good about facebook. I use it so I can have contact info for certain people, but other than that I see nothing good.

    I have to agree it definitely cheapens what it means to be a friend, which is why I unfriend people I don't communicate with and have never really communicated with. Maybe it can foster a friendship by connecting two people, but that is it.

  7. I love Facebook for the same reasons Louis says, and I agree with his assessment of Kent's hand wringing preferences he is trying to smuggle into the conversation as biblical principles. His arguments run along the same reasons why self-appointed, IFB champion, David Cloud, deplores contemporary Christian music.

    I have enjoyed using Facebook since I started an account 2 years ago or more. It is handy to keep in contact with people I haven't heard from or seen in over a decade. I have had many opportunities to minister to folks I was friends with in high school and college, and even one in grade school, who I otherwise would have never found if it weren't for Facebook.

    Alan asks,
    What about using the telephone or email to keep in touch with them?

    Because I don't have time to call everyone via telephone and email doesn't offer the best platform to share photos of family I want others to see. Plus I really have no reason to email the guy I knew in 9th grade on a regular basis, but Facebook is a good location for him to check periodically and see any updates I may have added that I don't mind sharing with him.

    Lookit, people abuse and misuse lots of neat things other folks are benefited by. Heaven forbid we over react as Christians and turn it into a "vice" that is to be avoided.

  8. People have been belittling or demeaning the meaning of friendship since before the age of computers. If Job's friends had stuck to Facebook for their comforting words he could have saved himself trouble by not signing up on Facebook but they showed up in person. :)

  9. The most common justification that I have heard from people to have a facebook account (not just from here) is that (1) people can see my photos and I can see their photos (2) Relatives and old friends can see updates in my life.

    Do these reasons really outweigh the cost of Kent's 19 reasons? Is it that critical that family and friends have to see the latest photo? I have had people admit to me who have facebook that when they "reunite" with a past school mate or friend, there is this initial "Wow, how are you doing." Then after the next 1 or 2 exchanges there is surface level interaction.

    Our Christian youth is addicted to facebook. The ramifications are tremendous, and Kent lists 19 ramifications. I think facebook is more sinister than we care to admit. Just my humbly opinion.

    It would be interesting to see a seminary disclose the stats of the percentage of students and the time they spend on facebook during an entire week. It would be frightening to see the results.

    I understand that people can abuse a good thing. But I don't see the nature of facebook as a neutral entity. By nature it corrupts, and I don't believe the rare exceptions can justify its use. I am just trying to sound an alarm that is unpopular.