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Reality can’t be found in a virtual world

Proverbially speaking: Philippa Smale takes a look at some of the Proverbs from the Bible

Online friendships can be terminated at the click of a mouse

IT is alarming to read how many hours children spend every day in front of a TV, computer screen or smartphone. If they spend the bulk of their leisure time in front of a screen, they are missing out on socialising and exercising.

There is also a trend for children and adults to have a whole host of vir­tual friends on social media sites but very few flesh-and-blood, real-life, tangible relationships.

Friendships that exist only online can be terminated at the click of a mouse. Virtual friends aren’t available for dog-walking, house-sitting or even a cup of coffee and a chat. People in online romances still have to meet in the flesh sometime if the relation­ship is to progress.

Another virtual realm is that of computer gaming. Some people spend so much time in their fantasy world that their own avatar and those of their fellow players seem more real than their family and friends. They resent any time they have to spend in the real world and can’t wait to get back to their fantasy kingdom where they have power and control. All sorts of areas of life suffer – work, relationships, health.

The problem comes when people spend so much time in their fantasy worlds that they’re too tired or distracted to do anything productive in the real world. And being productive, of course, is not necessarily about ‘working the land’.

Some people say that Christians live in a fantasy world that has no basis in reality. Their idea of a Christian seems to be based on the dithering cleric of TV dramas who would run a mile if confronted by, say, a person experiencing homelessness, a drunk, someone who feels suicidal or someone high on drugs.

Faith in God is not a crutch – nor is it fan­tasy. Followers of Jesus find that knowing him gives them the strength to live the right way in the real world and to reach out with a flesh-and-blood hand to all people.

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