Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias recently discussed the ramifications of social media on society and implied that the Internet phenomenon was like the Tower of Babel from the Bible.
He began his discussion of social media that is posted in a video at ChurchLeaders.com by answering the question, "Isn't Facebook bad?"
"I think that's a great question and I frankly think it is an enormously vital phenomenon," Zacharias said. "Most of us, particularly my generation, do not fully understand it because many in my vintage will not often use it to its full extent. I don't even understand the ramifications of it sometimes, but I will tell you what, we've watched recent movements in continents and sub-continents, watched demagogues overthrown, watched systems changed, [and] watched revolutions begin."
Zacharias, who wrote several books including Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth In An Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality, said the idea of commonality and coming together, which is found in social media, goes all the way back to the book of Genesis when mankind wanted to build a tower for its own glory and for its own edifice.
"They wanted to come together and all of a sudden the Bible says in an incredible way [that] the languages were confused and the people could not communicate with each other," he explained. "Well, the social media is the new Tower of Babel."
However, he said that anything such as social media that has such capacity is not intrinsically evil.
"It is how we use it that turns out either for good or for bad. That's true of any communication method. That's true of any entertainment. That's true of sports. That's true of any way in which we find fulfillment in entertainment," he said. "But the capacity that this gives is what we need to be cautious about because I want you to hear me carefully now. Where destruction is the motive, unity is dangerous. For example, if I have evil intent and I galvanize that evil intent with many others, the capacity to destroy is immense. Where goodness is the motive, unity is phenomenal and actually has some good issues to it."
In a worldwide survey done by the BBC three years ago, for the first time, the number one answer to the same survey question, "What is the greatest threat facing humanity right now?" switched from being either "poverty" or "environment" to "corruption," according to Zacharias.
"Corruption had displaced poverty and the environment as the number one problem facing humanity," he said. "Well, if the human heart is corrupt and the social media becomes the means you can see where that will take us."
Zacharias said the youth of today need to "take the same medium, harness the same medium, and use it as a builder of bridges for peace and good will and communication." He added, "The only thing you need to do to dispel the darkness is to turn on the light."
He said the same dynamics for communication happened with the printed page and photography. "Only now it can happen instantly. You can make one statement and it can go viral and it can be distorted or whatever," he said.
"Young people you have an incredible opportunity to be a witness because of the capacities that are now invested in you. Jesus said greater things of these you shall do. …Become a peace builder, a bridge builder, not a destroyer, and the way you do that is through friendships and relationships, and through authentic character."
He cautioned not to be "in-your-face" with what is said through social media. "Be wise, be careful, but harness it for good. It is here to stay and will only multiply in its capacity."