Technology Distracts From Our Natural Religiosity

Human beings are naturally religious. Despite the various good or bad opinions about organized religion, every man and every woman is a religious animal. Those who detest religion with a passion are avoiding the longing they feel in their hearts—they are angry not at religion but at failing to rid themselves of their natural and inevitable religiosity.

This experience is widespread in today’s secularistic culture, and it is often aided by the relentless technologizing which modern man has given himself over to—indeed, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has been put away for the false god of Apple, Amazon, and social media.

Because so many are seeking to avoid God, they have created their own world, a virtual reality, of which they are the creator. In this act of pride, this act of enthroning oneself as new “creator,” man seeks to further deafen his ears to the cries of the Good Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine for the sake of the one. It is time to turn away from the idolatry of technology and turn towards the worship of the true God.

I recently had the opportunity to drive through parts of the beautiful mountainous regions of Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Having grown up in Florida, the experience of mountains is completely novel to me. I looked around with the awe of a child who wakes up to snow on Christmas morning. The tangibility of the Creator through the witness of His Creation was incredible. The beauty cries out and fills each soul which takes the time to behold it.

I was struck by a sad sight, however. To the left and to the right, cars that passed were filled with adults and children alike who were completely oblivious to the grandeur all around us. Rather than spending time peering out of the windows in contemplation of the work of the Great Artist, so many preferred the false reality created by human hands projected onto the screens of their devices. Their eyes lifeless and their seemingly anesthetized minds were focused in zombie-like fashion on the pixels projecting things which do not exist. All around them was rich food for their souls, and yet they chose to feast on their technological cotton candy alone. Their hearts and their souls, numbed by their virtual realities, are longing for contact with Truth, with authentic Reality, and yet they have no taste for what they really desire. They are naturally religious creatures with no taste for the things of God because they have created their own god and desired him more ardently.

To be sure, I am not at all claiming that I have somehow escaped the technocratic regime plaguing our age. I grew up on gaming consoles, Apple products, and YouTube. However, I am proposing that we are living in a world that so desperately craves the Transcendent God, and yet we prefer to be the creators or at least the controllers of our own little virtual realities instead. We prefer VR goggles over contact with the beauty of Creation. We escape into the non-existent world of our virtual entertainment in order to escape the darkness we feel within our very souls. Rather than filling ourselves with authentic Truth and Goodness, we fill ourselves with flashes of light designed merely to stimulate our dopamine receptors, leaving us empty and craving for more.

Those who grew up during the time of the technologization of the world were rather excited about the unending possibilities of technology, yet now we know better—in fact, many young people know better. Having grown up in these virtual realities, many young people have been given the grace to experience authentic reality in order to desire it more than any virtual world. We are seeing a movement away from the golden calves of our man-made worlds and self-contrived social media personalities back toward real contact with God, His Creation, with others, and with ourselves.

It is a good exercise to ponder why it is that our ancestors, who lived so long ago and without all of our modern devices, even in the midst of wars and famines, lived psychologically healthier lives than we do today. We propose device after device meant to urge humanity onward in the current of “progress” in science, and yet human beings are undergoing a very visible regress in spiritual, psychological, and social health.

St. Bonaventure once said:

“If there is anyone who is not enlightened by this sublime magnificence of created things, he is blind…If there is anyone who, seeing all these works of God, does not praise Him, he is dumb; if there is anyone who, from so many signs, cannot perceive God, that man is foolish.”

Catholics today, in our mission of restoring Christian culture in the secular world, should first drastically limit the time they spend in their virtual worlds in order to come back into contact with the creation that witnesses and points to its Creator. Put down the screen in order to behold the grandeur of the mountains. Pull out your air pods in order to hear the sound of the wind and rain. Put away your social media personas and put forward who you are as sons and daughters of God. Dethrone the golden calf of your virtual life in order to meet Him who gives life in abundance.

Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash

Avatar photo


Matthew Uzdavinis, originally from Tampa, Florida, is a graduate of Ave Maria University with a B.A. in Philosophy. Before his time at Ave Maria, he attended Jesuit High School of Tampa, where he first encountered the splendor of Truth and the beauty of Catholic tradition, especially the traditional Liturgy. He enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, and writing on edifying topics.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage