The world was a better and a kinder place in the age of clay tablets, according to a prominent Russian Orthodox Church figure, who believes modern ways of speedy data transfer serve the spread of evil.
“The main thing about the internet is that it’s quick, so everything bad in it also emerges and spreads very quickly,” Metropolitan Climent said at a press-conference on Thursday. “And creating bad things does not require much thought.”
Climent, who heads the Russian Orthodox Church’s Publishing Council, advocates taking time before disseminating information around the world.
Doing something “good, talented, and deep” even with the use of modern technology “needs effort and time, and a spiritual mood,” the priest said.
The internet is, according to him, not in itself an “incarnation of absolute evil.”
“It’s just a means of accumulating and passing information,” Climent said. “Like clay tablets, birchbark letters, papyrus, parchment, stonewalls or other things used to transfer information in the past.”
The Russian internet community has so far reacted mostly with irony to Climent’s comments, with many questioning the church’s expertise in digital technology issues.
“Just in case, I inform the honorable monk that all things "good, talented and deep” are spreading in the “high-speed internet” with exactly the same speed as anything wicked,” one internet user wrote.
It’s not the first time a Russian church leader has commented on the role of the internet.
The head of the Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, urged monks a year ago not to use the internet at all, in order to avoid temptations.
“Many monks act absolutely irrationally,” he said. “On the one hand they escape secular life to create favorable conditions for salvation and on the other, they take their mobile phone and start surfing the internet, where there are lots of sinful and tempting things.”