Author Topic: Reading the Scriptures on an electronic device  (Read 693 times)

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Offline JLatimer

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Reading the Scriptures on an electronic device
« on: July 14, 2010, 12:20:24 AM »
Is reading the Scriptures online or using an iPad, Kindle, or other e-reader device equivalent to using a book? Can one use a kindle to read Scripture or as a prayer book, etc., during prayer? Would one kiss the e-reader as one would kiss a book?

I remember in Italy in a RC church I saw some electric votive 'candles' - put a euro in the slot and flip a switch. This seemed to me not as preferable as beeswax. :)

But on the issue of the e-reader, I'm inclined to say it's just as spiritually beneficial as a codex. What does everyone else think?
« Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 12:21:20 AM by JLatimer »
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Reading the Scriptures on an electronic device
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2010, 12:26:55 AM »
I would feel weird venerating an electronic device. I don't kiss icons on computer screens. As for Scripture reading, I prefer books in general, but if you have the Bible on Kindle, you can take it with you and read it and not worry about other people.
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Offline JLatimer

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Re: Reading the Scriptures on an electronic device
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2010, 12:32:16 AM »
I would feel weird venerating an electronic device. I don't kiss icons on computer screens. As for Scripture reading, I prefer books in general, but if you have the Bible on Kindle, you can take it with you and read it and not worry about other people.

I also prefer books. But I'm curious if there are any other reasons we might be hesitant about eBibles than that; Why more specifically would you feel weird about venerating an electronic device? if you don't mind my asking...
« Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 12:33:30 AM by JLatimer »
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Reading the Scriptures on an electronic device
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2010, 12:44:16 AM »
I would feel strange about venerating the electronic devise because it is not an absolute symbol of the Holy Scriptures. These devises can be used for good and evil, for Scripture or pornography. Because of that, I think veneration is inappropriate. A tangible Bible is a Holy object by virtue of its contents.

That being said, I think that such devises are perfectly acceptable for personal study and refection, and might likely become the standard in the near future. But veneration seems inappropriate.

Offline JLatimer

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Re: Reading the Scriptures on an electronic device
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2010, 01:33:21 AM »
I would feel strange about venerating the electronic devise because it is not an absolute symbol of the Holy Scriptures. These devises can be used for good and evil, for Scripture or pornography. Because of that, I think veneration is inappropriate. A tangible Bible is a Holy object by virtue of its contents.

That being said, I think that such devises are perfectly acceptable for personal study and refection, and might likely become the standard in the near future. But veneration seems inappropriate.

Human beings can do good or evil, yet we reverence eachother as persons bearing the image of God. If I don't show reverence to an e-reader when it is displaying the words of Scripture, am I not disdaining the Scriptures. Can God sanctify binary code?
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Reading the Scriptures on an electronic device
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2010, 02:05:19 AM »
Human beings have an intrinsic sanctity, as they are made in the image and likeness of God. Even when they are at their most evil, they still retain a vestige of that image. I don't think even a printed Bible has this privilege.

God can sanctify whatever he wants, but you won't find me venerating an electronic devise anytime soon. Sorry I can't be more insightful.

Offline LBK

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Re: Reading the Scriptures on an electronic device
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2010, 02:18:12 AM »
This is from the "Icons and Electronic Devices" thread:

Quote
well ok can a picture of an icon that is on digital media (cell phone and MP3 player) be venerated like a regular icon?
No. Such an image is a virtual image, not a "real", tangible one. See my earlier post:

Quote
Regarding digital images on a computer screen, or stored on a hard drive: such images are not "made of matter" as a printed or painted icon is. It is when the image is printed and therefore "made substantial", that it can be venerated as an icon. The common custom also is that any completed icon, painted or printed, mounted or framed, is blessed by a priest on the church altar, then it is ready for veneration.

Perhaps the most strident argument against the veneration of icons used by the iconoclasts was that of "worshipping matter", i.e. venerating things made of wood, paint, stone, or other earthly materials was idolatry. Of course, the iconoclasts were quite mistaken, as they missed the point that humble, fallen, earthly substances were sanctified through the incarnation of Christ. We do not worship the wood or paint, nor the paper and ink, but we venerate what (or who) is represented on the icon. The material, tangible nature of icons reflect the immaterial God becoming material, tangible flesh. A JPEG file on a hard drive or an image in a digital picture frame or computer screen is immaterial, a mere shadow.


http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,28278.msg445969.html#msg445969

Icons are made of tangible, material substance, and are made for the specific purpose of veneration as part of our liturgical worship and personal devotions. Likewise, a Bible or Gospel book is regarded as holy, by all Christians, not just us Orthodox. (Spit on or trash a Bible, or even place it on the floor, in front of even a sola scriptura Calvinist, and see how far you get ...) It is a book of specific content, printed and made for holy use, and it is, like icons, chalices, and other such holy objects, real and tangible.

I have no objection to reading scripture off a Kindle for convenience's sake, but I would draw the line at venerating the device - no. Alveus put it very well:

Quote
I would feel strange about venerating the electronic device because it is not an absolute symbol of the Holy Scriptures. These devises can be used for good and evil, for Scripture or pornography. Because of that, I think veneration is inappropriate. A tangible Bible is a Holy object by virtue of its contents.

That being said, I think that such devises are perfectly acceptable for personal study and refection, and might likely become the standard in the near future. But veneration seems inappropriate.

Quote
Human beings can do good or evil, yet we reverence eachother as persons bearing the image of God. If I don't show reverence to an e-reader when it is displaying the words of Scripture, am I not disdaining the Scriptures. Can God sanctify binary code?

Why not simply cross yourself as a sign of reverence to the scriptures after finishing your reading?  :)
« Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 02:20:41 AM by LBK »
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Offline JLatimer

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Re: Reading the Scriptures on an electronic device
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2010, 04:31:35 PM »
Quote
Why not simply cross yourself as a sign of reverence to the scriptures after finishing your reading?

That seems like the best approach to me.

As to your earlier post, I've already read it, and I disagree. The only thing virtual, in my mind, is the distinction you make between real and virtual. Of what is an electronic image or text composed if not matter?
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.