Most of us would admit to spending a little bit too much time online. We curate our lives through our online experience. Our work, socialization, shopping, and entertainment is all conducted through the safe, controllable façade of a screen.

Read Schuchardt is a professor of media at Wheaton College. Over the course of the next two episodes, we will dive into what Read calls the seven vices of virtual life and the dangers of separating body and spirit.

In this episode, Read discusses how the realm of virtual reality is starting to impinge on true reality in ways that could spell spiritual death for our minds and our souls. With the Metaverse on the rise, gaming at an all-time high, and isolated lifestyles becoming the norm, have we reached a tipping point, a point of no return?

Read argues the seven vices of virtual life derive from disembodiment, the separation of spirit and matter that happens when we spend more time online than we do mentally present in our own lives. From there, he cites six more vices of the virtual life:

  • addiction
  • impatience
  • desensitization
  • goallessness
  • narcissism
  • ignorance

In his view, desensitization happens when we are overexposed to the bad news of the world, leaving us spiritually numb due to our emotional reserves being completely dried out.

He also states that narcissism goes hand-in-hand with social media, especially when you consider the myth of Narcissus and his tragic fate of drowning in his own image. Can we consider it just a coincidence that most accidental deaths caused by selfies are drownings?

After working 10 years on his dissertation, Read suggests we are running the risk of taking a pass on the real life that God has given us in order to become the tiny gods of our own fabricated, pixelated universes — spiritually dead, physically weak, and mentally numb.

Join us for part one of this eye-opening discussion and be sure to keep an eye out for Read’s new book to be released later this year.

Share this episode