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News – Adultery online

January 2011

Adultery online

A pastor in the US is coming under fire for suggesting that worldwide social network phenomenon Facebook is encouraging adultery.

     According to Associated Press in America, Rev. Cedric Miller of Neptune, New Jersey, asked his congregation to delete their accounts, after 20 couples at his church ran into difficulties after a spouse reunited with an old love interest.

     Rev. Miller also called upon 50 married church leaders to delete their Facebook accounts or resign, claiming that Facebook was a cause of adultery and could only lead to trouble.

     However, according to CNN reports, religious correspondents are unsympathetic to Rev. Miller’s campaign. Anthea Butler, a columnist with Religion dispatches magazine, said that Rev. Miller was just ‘invoking an old theme in fundamentalist and conservative churches: that any new media – like movies, television and radio – is a sinful activity’.

     Her criticism may not carry much weight with Mr Miller, as he has growing evidence to suggest the internet site can lead to severe marital problems. Already there are websites that actively encourage ways to carry on illicit affairs via the social network.

     One US site claims that 41 per cent of people involved in extramarital affairs did so through Facebook. A divorce statistics site in the UK revealed that 20 per cent of all divorce papers in 2009 cited the word ‘Facebook’.

     While, of course, Facebook itself is not to blame for the sinfulness of the human heart, Christian users of the site must weigh up if they can use it for good, without it becoming a weapon used against them, whether through false accusations or powerful temptations.

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