When decisions about what to say and when to say it are conditioned less by slow, deep, Spirit-led discernment than on what will drive page views, greed rules the system.
When we consume such messages and, through our likes, shares, views, and downloads, request more of the same, greed becomes a natural logic.
They supply because we consume, and we consume because they supply. There is no particular end toward that which we are aiming for because “accumulating more” means we never have enough.
But what are we greedy for? It seems we are greedy for the security that comes from stories that confirm our beliefs, reduce or eliminate ambiguity, and remind us that there are people out there who are far worse than we are.
We are greedy for information that reinforces our experience, allows us to go about our day-to-day activities, and confirms our preferred understanding of God. Media, even some Christian media, can form us into the image of something other than Christ.
Christians seem willing to accept such an assertion when it comes to pornography, violence, or other such vulgarities, yet we don’t often consider the idea that other forms of media are capable of distorting reality and cultivating misdirected desires.
If we become greedy for such media, we may find that we have engaged in a sort of idolatry in which the god presented in the media becomes “real” while the real God is increasingly lost in the noise.
To put it differently, greed does not have to involve an increase in material goods. It can also involve the accumulation of information that allow us to live comfortably.
As theologian Jürgen Moltmann notes, while wanting to be like God is only one side of sin, “The other side of such pride is hopelessness, resignation, inertia, and melancholy…Temptation then consists not so much in the titanic desire to be as God but in weakness, timidity, weariness, not wanting to be what God requires of us.”