Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jesus Knew Her Name

What is happening to the world? This story out of Korea is tragic at so many levels. Acouple who went through 9 months of anticipating the birth of the first child, allows that child to die of starvation without even giving her a name. Why? They became addicted (there is not other word more appropriate) to an internet game.

O Lord save us! She died without a name and yet not to You. You knew her name. You gave her a name and knew every hair on her head. O Lord, help us to preach and live the gospel in such a way that these stories disappear. Make us men and women who fight this darkness in our culture, our world and in ourselves. In Jesus name I ask it, Amen.

War of the Worlds: The Dangers of
Online Escapism
March 17, 2010

This commentary was delivered by Prison Fellowship president Mark Earley.

The irony could not possibly be crueler. A South Korean couple let their 3-month-old baby starve to death at home while they spent all their time at Internet cafes -- raising a virtual child.

The British Telegraph reports, “Leaving their real daughter at their home in a suburb of Seoul to fend for herself, the pair, who were unemployed, spent hours role-playing in [a] virtual reality game, which allows users to choose a career and friends, granting them offspring as a reward for passing a certain level.”

Kim Yoo-chul and Choi Mi-Sun would go home once a day to give their real baby powdered milk, and then go back to lavish care and attention on their online child. The virtual daughter was named Anima; the real daughter was never given a name.

Finally, they came home one day after a 12-hour session to find their baby dead. They were arrested after an autopsy showed that the unnamed little girl had died of prolonged malnutrition.

Tragically, on the other hand, the virtual girl is probably doing just fine.

Like me, you’re probably feeling a little sick to your stomach and outraged, and wondering what on earth could possess parents to do such a crazy thing. It’s tempting to write them off as just plain crazy, or some kind of extreme example of Internet addiction or other mental illness. But the disturbing fact is that every one of us who has ever indulged in any kind of prolonged escape from reality carries the seeds of this kind of addiction inside us.

William Saletan puts it this way in the online magazine, Slate: “Look in the mirror. Every time you answer your cell phone in traffic, squander your work day on YouTube, text a colleague during dinner, or turn on the TV to escape your kids, you’re leaving this world. You’re neglecting the people around you, sometimes at the risk of killing them.”

Saletan explains that gaming websites aren’t just games, they’re worlds -- and those worlds “are becoming ever more compelling.” When real life gets to be too much to take, we can now log on to a world where everything goes smoothly and circumstances are easy to control. So we become more and more susceptible to being lured out of the real world into the artificial ones.

And this latest story isn’t the only example of the tragic results of that kind of escapism. Saletan notes, “At least two Korean men have died of exhaustion after round-the-clock video-game marathons. Another man, nagged by his real-world mother, allegedly resolved the dilemma by killing her. The dead baby is just another casualty of this war between the worlds.”

Virtual community is no substitute for real community -- the kind of community we’re called on to help create in our families, churches, and neighborhoods.

These examples just show how dangerous it can be when we forget that responsibility. If it’s true that we’re facing a war of the worlds, Christians must take a stand for real life and real community. Reality may be messy and uncontrollable, but it’s a priceless gift given to us by our Creator—and so much more fulfilling than any fake world, or fake family, ever could be.

Copyright (c) 2009 Prison Fellowship


Rachel Grace said...

so sad....I get so angry and sad inside hearing about these cases of child abuse (what else can you call this?) not only at the perpertrators but also at the culture that didn't make laws and didn't care enough to protect life! For instance, why aren't there laws to outlaw abortions? Why do some child abusers get off with only a few years in prison? Why does most of the world (or at least politicians in this and other countries)not even give a care about these and other life issues? Oh, I pray to God that I would care enough to protect life and cultivate a sense of care in my home, church, and community! Oh, that I would not be tempted to spend hours on the internet to the determent of my relationships offline!

Rachel Grace said...

oh, and please check out my blog: if you have time. thanks!

ChosenRebel said...

Your blog encourages my heart. Keep writing sister. You are a model and leader for your generation.