Just type in “Technology has ruined…” into the Google search bar, and you will see a whole list of the things we blame technology for—and that list is far from exhaustive. From conversational skills to psychological disorders to family dynamics to education to our vocabulary, we look at everyone around us, look at ourselves, and then conclude, “Technology has ruined us.”
Has it though? Sure, we look at the influence that technology has had on us in the past decade or so and we can observe that the effects are indeed far reaching. But has technology destroyed family dinners? Has technology made us vain? Has technology crippled our ability to use our mental faculties?
No, it hasn’t; people have. Technology is no more responsible for our inability to carry out decent conversations, as potato chips are responsible for making us fat. Just as we have the choice to eat those potato chips, we have the choice to control our own usage of technology. It’s not even about “not allowing technology to control us,” because technology has no ability to control. We are not subject to technology. It is not some super-power in the air that we have to fight against lest we fall victim to it.
Technology is not out to get us, and we need to get that into our heads. The trend of casting blame on neutral resources needs to stop. Like any other medium, it is a tool that we have complete control over. Like alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or food, we are completely responsible for how we utilize the technology that is available to us.
This is especially important to the Christian community because such a mentality often leads to the inability to take responsibility for our own actions. Instead of recognizing our human weaknesses and intentionally taking charge of our decisions as we seek to honor and glorify Christ with our lives, we prefer to point fingers and cast blame so that we are not the ones who need to change. It’s always someone else’s fault, someone else’s problem, and someone else’s responsibility to fix.
What happens when everybody expects everybody else to fix societal problems? That’s right, nothing gets fixed! All the mind blowing and earth shaking articles and videos in the world are not going to change anything if all we do is rally together and say, “Yes! This is a problem! It’s so sad!”
What is sad is that we recognize the problem, share these viral videos and articles that speak against technology overload, and then continue to scroll through Facebook while someone else tries to have a heart-to-heart conversation with us. The solution is easy: Don’t.
There’s nothing wrong with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, hashtags, or even Google for that matter. These things have advanced and enhanced human communication and creativity in ways that Isaac Newton and Thomas Edison never would have dared to dream. It is progress that human civilization has made with our God-given intelligence and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
However, we also possess God-given wisdom and discretion in our usage of modern conveniences, and we cannot neglect to moderate ourselves. While the advancement or technology undoubtedly brings about more challenges and dangers that we may see as “dehumanizing,” we should also remember that we can participate in social media and possess the latest gadgets without losing ourselves.
It is entirely possible for us to take #selfies and #wefies without getting consumed with our looks. It is entirely possible for us to enjoy our food with friends and family even though we took a picture of it before getting started on the meal, and it is entirely possible for us to spend time browsing the Net and still have time to take a walk in the park for a breath of fresh air with people we care about. So what if we type in acronyms on text? It does not mean that we have to lose the ability to speak in full sentences or spell out complete words.
Technology does not inhibit us from enjoying the little things in life that our parents and grandparents enjoyed. Our humanity is still very much intact. It’s just a matter of how we handle these things. Progress will continue to take place for as long as mankind makes its way down the timeline. We have more “threats” in the world today than our predecessors had fifty years ago, and our children will be faced with even more challenges.
Be that as it may, bare in mind that technology in itself is not evil; there is no need for us to stay away from it. Such an attitude would only lead to ignorance and close-mindedness. Even though there are more and more avenues to indulge in sin as technology develops, man’s sinful nature has remained the same throughout the centuries.
We were vain when Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, and we are still vain today. We were prone to substance abuse during the California Gold Rush, and we are still prone to substance abuse today. Sure, the devil will use technology to cause God’s people to stray, but he will use anything and everything that he sees as an opportunity to make us stumble. After all, did he not use Scripture against Jesus? That does not make Scripture evil, does it?
Human beings will always find a way to question and blame progress, because change is never easy, and with every new introduction of technology, new challenges arise. Way back in the 15th Century when the printing press was first introduced, books were considered a technology and there were people who pushed back against it. Today, we idealize and romanticize books. When the King James Bible was first printed, there were people who found the language coarse, uncultured, and even scandalous. Today, there are some who claim that version of the Bible to be the only true version of Scripture.
Regardless of which era of history we live in, the important thing for us to remember is that we cannot be robbed of our humanity, but we can lose it if we are not careful. Sin is at large and always will be, but we will always be responsible for our own actions before God. Stay alert so that you do not fall into the trap of oblivion, but at the same time, feel free to use the resources we have at hand, because whatever can be used for evil can also be used to bring glory to God’s name.
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