Since the advent of modern media, social and mass media indeed make the world a global village. It means there are higher and easier possibilities of interaction with people, even of far distant places and of a wide variety of cultures. An open mind to other people’s idea and culture becomes indispensable, so that people will learn from others that which is ‘’good, true and beautiful.’’ This is a great advantage to evangelisation. Few years ago, in his Address at the Meeting with the World of Culture, Belem, Lisbon, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI notes that the Church must enter into dialogue with the world in which she lives.
He says ‘’The Church becomes word, she becomes message, and she becomes dialogue.’’ It is in this spirit of dialogue that Christians, like other people in the society who hold different views, must also approach the social network to share their convictions, their faith, in the message of Christ, with others, and the values of human dignity which His teachings promote.
The Church possesses the elements of the digital world
The combination of images and sound is a vital element of the digital world. As such, the digital world should not be too strange to the Church, since the latter is already rich in the use of signs and symbols. This is evident from the Cross, icons, images, stained glass windows, stories of saints, pictures in our churches and the various hymns and prayers. The Church has for ages used these forms to convey the truth of faith. What needs to be done is to translate these to the language suitable for the new ‘’agora’’, the new ‘’marketplace’’ the social network, so that Christ and His message will be presented to the modern man.
The true modern disciples are those who are able to introduce religion into the on-going social dialogue. Effective discipleship today will be largely defined by the witness to and sharing of faith, even when not specific, through the media networks. One of the ways this can be achieved is through posting of positive messages on Facebook pages and display banners and messages on WhatsApp through contributions to discussions in the social network whereby one speaks on the side of truth and justice. These are some ways Christians can witness through the social media.
The document says that: A particularly significant way of offering such witness will be through a willingness to give to others by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence.
• Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins is the Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos.
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