Online Algorithms

Online Algorithms can often crowd our life spaces with endless streams of images, information, and ideas. They have the power to decide the content we see(k) and engage with. 

Does this mean that our digital experiences are totally controlled by mere algorithms? Are we prisoners of a set of digital codes? We often forget that personalized content is based on browsing history, clicks, and likes. So, you see(k) who you are, and you are what you see(k).

Let us, then, explore how we can break free from their clutches. And more importantly, how we can harness their potential to bring content that aligns with our spiritual goals.

See(k) Spiritual values

In Philippians 4:8, Paul challenges us to see(k) – the real, the excellent, and the delightful in our thoughts,

“Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.”

We are urged to fix our minds on Paul’s long list of -the good, true and beautiful – and to continuously see(k) them in all our life spaces.

Embracing the Good, True and Beautiful

So, how can we see(k) these in our digital experiences?

Agreed, the online world promotes “unhealthy” images and ideas. Digital distractions and attractions are often just a click away. Algorithms do present us with spiritually inappropriate content. However, these algorithms only deliver content that caters to our individual interests, preferences, and tastes. 

We need to engage only with the good, the true, and the beautiful that reflect Godly values. Then such curated content will find its way into our life-spaces. 

In other words, right see(k)ing will lead to the real – excellent and delightful in digital spaces.

 Leverage the power of the Algorithm

Finally, algorithms have the power to bring personalized content to our digital experiences. Therefore, we need to immerse ourselves in online spiritual content such as worship songs, sermons, and podcasts.

We need to constantly see(k) the spiritual in all our clicks and taps. This will help us to curate spiritually “healthy” content if we use the power of personalised content.

If we keep our minds fixed on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper then what we see(k) will be a reflection of who we are.

Therefore, let’s embrace the goodness and truth of God in all of our digital spaces. This will help us to use the potential of algorithms to pick out content that aligns with all our spiritual goals.

Cultivating a Godly Digital experience

Digital spirituality involves nurturing online habits that align with God’s standards. In other words, we need to make choices that reflect Paul’s list of virtues. We can achieve this only by intentionally choosing that which is good, true, and beautiful. Only then, can we truly navigate the online world with purpose and a clear conscience.

Final Words

The digital realm is not without its own set of challenges and setbacks. However, within it lies stories of resilience and triumph. Therefore, Let us pursue digital spaces that value the real, the excellent and the delightful!

Samuel Thambusamy is a PhD candidate with the Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life.