Why I Don’t Have an iPhone, and Why My Life is Better Because of It
I just came across a great article by Chris Haw, a writer for Relevant Magazine and co-author of Jesus For President with Shane Claiborne. The article is called “Just a Phone?” (you can read it here on p. 27) and in it he explains why he has held out this long in refusing to purchase an iPhone. He lists some compelling reasons.
He explains that “for many, the iPhone easily answers this: the problem with the world is lack of information and entertainment, and the Internet conveniently (and slickly) located in one’s pocket is the sacrament of the eschatological answer.”
He goes on to reference Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza, a Catholic theologian who explains that “in the least, the Christian should often be a late or slow adopter. They should not be magnetized by the hype. Many technologies are not created out of a genuine need but a profit motive. These inventions are followed by advertisers telling us what we need–and they just happen to have it on sale! And these technologies often harry us with promises of how they are solutions to our problems.”
Haw’s article has made me think about my own reasons for not purchasing on iPhone. And as I processed this article, I came up with four reasons of my own:
#1 – I can’t afford it!
#2 – I know my own proclivity and preoccupation with fluff and time-wasting activities, and the iPhone would be one more tool in the belt of idleness, futility and vanity. (For this reason I have, up to this point, also refused to involve myself in Twitter, though I’m quickly discovering that Facebook’s status function accomplishes the same purpose. Furthermore, to think that people really care about what we’re doing at every possible moment only fuels the narcissitic flame that is enveloping our culture. God help us! If you can convince me of any redeeming value for Twitter, I’m listening, but I’ve yet to discover it.)
#3 – I also know my inclination toward idolatry. God knows I already struggle with checking out Craigslist multiple times a day to see if there are any great deals on guitars, guitar pedals and music gear. I don’t need another gadget to capture territory in my heart. Nor do I need to listen to the lies of the advertisers telling me that I have a particular need and void in my life that I didn’t know existed in the first place and can only be filled by the iPhone.
#4 – Finally, there’s the instant gratification factor. And I don’t even need to say anything about how internet pornography has grown exponentially with the onslaught of the iPhone. Porn in the pocket. How convenient. Why should I willingly submit myself to yet another temptation when I’m already bombarded on every side?
At this point, you iPhone users are already organizing yourselves in haste ready to burn me at the stake. But before you do that, you need to know my heart. Am I only picking on the iPhone? … Of course! … No, I’m kidding. I’ve made the application in my own heart in areas not involving the iPhone. And I encourage you to do the same. Make the application to whatever gadgets or ideologies have taken up some area of residency in your heart. What is it that you think you need? What is it that you just have to have?
I’ve heard numerous people in my circle of friends speak of how they need an iPhone. And it makes me laugh inside. No, it actually makes me sad. Especially when I spend a few hours with them and in the course of that small amount of time, I rarely see their face because it’s buried in their phone. That’s sad. That might be idolatry. Or is it just multi-tasking? You make the call. (no pun intended)