All Saints of North America Orthodox Church (Hamilton, ON, Canada)

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July - August 2006

ORTHODOX LIFE: Internet Addiction

The rise of the Internet as a combined tool for media, communications, and information is unprecedented in human history. Yet for all its benefits (including benefits for evangelism), the Internet bring with it enormous spiritual risks. The Church Fathers speak volumes about the seeds which images of all kinds plant in the memory, which become fuel for the passions, even decades after the images have been seen. Even in cases where the faithful individual takes great care at the use of the Internet, unsolicited images are easily brought before the eyes of the user, even on mainstream websites, and take root in the interior mind.

The potential for the Internet to consume huge amounts of time, doing nothing in particular, is a great sin in itself. This, along with the temptation to view sinful images out of curiosity or addiction, becomes an even greater temptation when the Internet is used in isolation from other people, and without the benefit of counsel from a spiritual father or confessor.

Father John Romanides writes, "Naive are those who think it is possible to keep only good thoughts in the brain by getting rid of bad thoughts. Not only is this impossible but one is obliged to know exactly how the devil manipulates human thoughts (even "good" ones) from the environment in order to defeat him at his own game."

All faithful are encouraged to use the Prayer at the Use of the Internet before logging on. A monitor-topper prayer card is available from the parish bookstore, or as a colour download at http://www.asna.ca/resources/internet.pdf.

- FrG+

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