Does digital communication encourage or inhibit spiritual progress? As I wrote in a recent essay for Big Questions Online, I think that answering this question in binary form—help versus hindrance—is inadequate. The relationship between digital communication and spiritual progress is a both/and equation.
The current communications revolution—like those that have preceded it—widens available options to learn about soul, spirit, God and religion. It also presents new opportunities to deepen spiritual practice and to grow in loving community. Yet notwithstanding the potential for spiritual progress, digital communication comes with caveats. Its democratic nature can reinforce individualization to the detriment of community. Its openness challenges religious authority and devalues spiritual apprenticeship, the ongoing, long-term commitment to mastering esoteric knowledge. Its accessibility yields to the demands of a competitive marketplace; commercialization creeps in, if not from providers than from users.
But our explorations in digital spirituality are not passively dictated by the medium. The responsibility for spiritual progress lies, in our unfolding digital world as always before, with the seekers of spiritual progress themselves. Read the full piece here.