This year, some Christians are considering giving up Facebook for Lent.
Lent marks a 40-day period between Ash Wednesday — when Jesus Christ began a time of fasting in preparation of his Crucifixion — and Easter, when his resurrection occurred. As a general rule, Christians give up activities of vice during the Lenten period. So considering whether to stop using Facebook presumes that the social network is an overindulgence,.
“When I tried to think about something that I truly overindulged in all the time, the only thing that really came to mind was Facebook. I spent an awful lot of time on there,” Ann O’Connell said to CNN, explaining why she stopped using the social network during Lent last year.
While 40 days off from Facebook might not bring us closer to God, it could bring us closer to those around us. In the rush to stay connected to others through the social network, many people out there may forget the value that can come from being with others face to face. With the site now available on every device we own, unplugging might, at the very least, bring us closer to the people we can see in person.
“I want to see my friends, like actually in person. I definitely want to keep in touch with people that really matter to me,” Paulo del Mundo said to CNN in explanation of his plans for a Facebook fast this Lent.
Giving up Facebook for Lent seems like a large sacrifice even for a Lutheran reverend like Travis Scholl. He explains his decision to give up the site for 40 days:
I have tied up so much of myself – my identity, my friendships, my connections – to Facebook that to give it up feels like I’m giving up a part of my very self. And that is the hardest thing to give up of them all. And so, this Lent, when I give up Facebook what I’m really giving up is my self-absorption and my self-deception. I’m giving up my self-indulgence and my over-indulgence. I’m giving up my blindness to others and even my hatred of myself. I’m giving up all the ways I try to control all those things I cannot control.
Do you think Facebook is a form of overindulgence. Would you consider giving up social media for a religious holiday?