Is Your Phone a Tool or a Weapon?

In the town where I grew up you could walk into the bank or post office wearing a bowie knife and nobody would take a second look. 

That's because back home a knife is considered a tool, not a weapon. 

If people started to use the knife as a weapon, that would be a problem, and no doubt, the ladies at the bank wouldn't let you in if you were wearing one.

Back home, we are at peace.  If we were at war, people would start using and considering knives as weapons, and they would be treated as such.

This relates to your smartphone how?

We are at war.

One of the biggest defenses people have against the idea of getting rid of their smartphone (yes, many people feel like they have to defend it) is that it is a tool. 

While the smartphone is indeed considered a tool by many, it can also be a dangerous weapon - and not one wielded by you.

We are at war with the devil.  The devil can use your smartphone as a weapon against you - and he will if you let him.

He can use most things as a weapon against you, but let's not talk about most things, let's talk about your smartphone.

Your smartphone is the devil's weapon when you are looking at your phone while driving.  Or when you are attached to your phone more than the people in your life.  I shouldn't have to say that your phone is the devil's weapon when you use it to view pornography or illicit material. 

Most people know what it is for them...

In my opinion, you have two options.

First, get rid of it.  That seems like the simple cop-out answer, but then why do we find it so impossible?

Second (because who is going to do #1?), use your smartphone as a weapon against the devil.  Beat him at his own game. 

Your smartphone is your weapon when you use it to remind you to pray.  Or when you use it to somehow keep your life centered on Christ and your calling.

This means being intentional about using your smartphone not as a tool but as a tempered weapon to keep you safe.

If you can't use it as a weapon, sooner or later you won't be able to use it as a tool, because the devil will be wielding it against you.

This means that the argument, "my phone is a tool" does not justify you keeping it.  Not for the Catholic Man.

If your phone makes texting and keeping up with world events easy, well, that's great.  But it's not enough.

I want to be able to say that my smartphone brings me closer into communion with God, in addition to the utilitarian part of it.

It sounds a little corny and pious, but it is practical and necessary. 

We are at war.

Now the confession.

I recently broke my smartphone and decided to go back to a flip phone.  I promise this post is not just written to make me feel better about breaking my phone.

The switch is taking some adjustment, but because I only upgraded to a smartphone a few months ago, I am doing fairly well without the convenience.

I'm not sure how long I will stick with the flip phone, there are some things that I just can't do with it that might become important someday.  But for now it's been a good change.

I go to the library every day or two to do "important" things on the internet.

Last week I came to the library and I had thirty-one emails.  Of those emails I read five, and of the five, only two were actually important.

If I had a smartphone, that is thirty-one times in a twenty-four hour period I would have been distracted and looked down at my phone.  That's twenty-nine moments that were a complete waste of time. 

And yet, knowing myself, I would have checked each notification as if it were an urgent matter.

And that's just emails.  What about Facebook notifications or anything else?

I was far from being addicted to my phone, but I was starting to notice some behavior changes that helped me decide to take a break from the comfort of the smartphone.

You know what those things are for you.  You might not be addicted (you also very well might be if you are being honest about it) but there are still likely areas of improvement regarding your smartphone usage.

Figure out how your smartphone affects your everyday life and adjust yourself accordingly.

Another argument I have heard a lot is that you should be able to live with a smartphone and not have it be an occasion of sin for you, rather than just get rid of it because you can't handle it.

That's true, I guess.  Except that it isn't really.

Sure, it shouldn't be an occasion of sin for you, and the hope is that someday it won't be.  However, as long as it is, you have the moral obligation to avoid it as an occasion of sin until it no longer poses a threat to you. 

In time of war, you shouldn't have a weapon lying around when you only know how to use it as a tool, especially when you know the enemy is at the door.

Likewise, in spiritual warfare, you mustn't use your smartphone as a tool knowing that the devil is trying to use it as a weapon against you.

Fight back and resist. 





Comments

  1. Smartphones are porn phones. I have never owned a smartphone but rely on a flip phone I bought in 2012. Stick with the flip.

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    1. You need to know yourself. For many people a smartphone is a beautiful tool and weapon and helps to cultivate grace. For many (probably most) this isn't the case though. There are pros and cons to both, and to me it doesn't matter which one you choose if you are strong enough to accept the responsibility that comes with each option.

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