I have been speaking to young people recently about technology and social media. Truthfully, the discussion isn't really limited to young people. Apart from a few exceptions most people use technology.
At one stage some intellectuals thought that the technology of writing had some major drawbacks. For instance they argued that writing things down reduced your capacity to remember and that wisdom was rapidly being replaced by the mere accumulation of facts! If this is true of writing then there definitely is some truth in it in relation to the many forms of technology we use today.
Neil Postman (1931-2093) an American author, educator, media theorist and cultural critic wrote a number of books addressing the issues that arise out of the use of technology. In one of his books, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (1992) he explains that we are in danger of losing our capacity to think through the over use of technology. To quote "the uncontrolled growth of technology destroys the vital sources of our humanity. It creates a culture without a moral foundation. It undermines certain mental processes and social relations that make human life worth living." That would be a tragedy!
It's quite paradoxical that the very thing that was designed to improve social contact, communication, education etc could actually work against us. The aim of this article is not to condemn technology or social media but to appeal for its wise use.
Did you know that we are the sum total of our thoughts! It is significant what we allow into our minds. Technology provides access to both good and bad things. Jesus Christ gave a searching commentary about our hearts and our minds. I don't think that he would have condemned technology outright as he taught that our problems stem back to our character. Technology is only as good and as bad as we are. Listen to his comments - 'the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.........For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts.....'1 Jesus then proceeded to list sins that are common in society, some you might recoil from (theft, murder, slander) and others a lot of people today think are quite acceptable in our society (fornication, adultery, coveting, deceit, sensuality, pride etc).
We have become desensitised to our moral state and one of the main causes is corruption through technology. I think Neil Postman's prediction of the effects of technology was pretty accurate.
So where do we go from here? Ditch technology? I don't think so. An awareness of our weakness and sin will cause us to look for the only viable solution that can be found - salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The bible teaches "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"2.
1. Mark 7:15,21
2. 1 John 1:9
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