Thursday, June 5, 2014

Technology and Communication and Purpose

If you have read the previous posts on this blog, you will have noticed that my sister and I like logic, rational thought, and order.  We like to think this is honoring and glorifying to our Heavenly Father.  But something I am finding more and more frequently in the world is a subtle, often undetected, dualism that is making people difficult to deal with.

The feature of today's dualism expose?  Technology and social media.

A friend posted this article recently and for those of you who will not read the whole thing, it is an article about the health ramifications of living in the 21st century.  I did skew that summary just a little because the author is trying to educate people about the way smart phones, computers, and their unsupervised use can adversely impact your life.

Ironically, at the end of the article, he throws it all to the wind by encouraging people to ignore everything he said when it comes to his website, Facebook, and Twitter.  So don't ruin your health over the rest of the world's body of knowledge but by all means, sit as long as you can physically in front of his website.  Good.  Thanks for nothing.

But the article got me thinking.  Granted, there are potential dangers in a lot of our technology.  There have been scares about cell phones frying your brain, televisions ruining your eyes, and an abundance of others.  Heck, my parents used to scold me for reading a book in the "wrong" light.  So right off the bat, we already need to throw out the type of technology as the culprit.  The problem must arise from somewhere else if people have been admonished for "technology" throughout history.

The problem must then be the user.  (For the sake of a coherent argument, I will acknowledge that content is a third element but that also can be thrown out because content has changed throughout history and culture but we still hear the same criticisms of "technology", from the printing press to the phone - smart or not.)

If the problem is the user, then we must drastically rearrange the way we view technology, communication through it, as well as the purpose for which we are using it.

For Christians then, the arguments surrounding the use and purpose of social media and technology should be the same as art and information.  Rather than viewing media as a thing to be feared and avoided, wouldn't the more Biblical approach be to bring it under the dominion of Christ?  Even more basically, technology/media must then be classified as either a tool or a phenomenon to be conquered.  Either way you choose to view the situation, it cannot be avoided.  As a believer, you are required to use it and use it judiciously or you are to subdue it re:dominion mandate.  The option I often see employed of only posting Bible verses is not viable.  Merely posting Bible verses on Facebook does not make it "Christian."  The presence of a Bible in a hotel room does not make it a church.

Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe I'm overreacting to the people who get on the Internet and proceed to tell me that I shouldn't be there.  Or maybe, just maybe, my attempt to engage it here and elsewhere, to take the beast by its horns, scares people.  Because it is work and hard work; unrelenting work.  But that only reinforces my arguments.  Abstaining or withdrawing does not fix anything other than letting it go unchecked.

So use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogs, videos, etc, and know that your use of them is a testimony of your life just as a face to face conversation is.  Be gracious, loving, and Christ-honoring.  Pursue peace with all people (Hebrews 12.14).  Be holy as Christ is holy (1 Peter 1.16).

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