In light of what I shared yesterday about the internet being down, I thought I would share this article with you all. It was published in 2011 in the Tyndale Student publication – The Canon 25.
We live in a technological spiderweb characterized by T.V.s, Blackberries, MP3 Players, and the internet. We live in a time and space where our morals, integrity, and values are heavily influenced by commercials and ads. We have so much high speed information right at our fingertips just by typing in a single key word on Google.
Our lifestyle has rapidly turned into a “three minute culture” which consists of surfing millions of websites at once at of boredom and a sense of wanting excitement. Never before have we been able to text our friends, listen to music, write a wall post, and talk on MSN all at the same time. Then again, never before have we found such delight in the unfortunate events of someone else’s life who we don’t even know. On top of all that, the internet is constantly drawing us away from reality by bombarding us with images on how we should look, feel, think, and act.
Technology has long been a topic of controversy and some people look at its merits with very sceptical eyes because they see it as a form of entrapment leading us along the path of sin. Their argument does hold some weight. Our generation grew up with the computer and so our whole understanding of life is characterized by it. The widespread use of the internet has rendered once valuable skills such as penmanship and mailing letters obsolete and has shaped the way we form our identity. Not to mention the fact that 30 years ago no one got in trouble for something they carelessly wrote on facebook, and everyone had to confront people face-to-face.
Technology has produced a few serious problems. Due to the widespread use of iPods and MP3s we have forgotten what silence is. Good friends should feel comfortable with each other even when no words are exchanged, but instead we just find silence awkward and feel the urge to fill the gap with jokes or meaningless words. Facebook also provides us with a host of problems. It determines who’s in and who’s out, and people without facebook are seen as an “inconvenience”. Sometimes they are even left out of social events. Facebook also provides us with the opportunity to be more popular than we really are by having “friends” who we never even talk to. It also gives us the chance to procrastinate when we should be writing papers. And then there’s my favourite technological peeve – texting right in the middle of a genuine dinner conversation or in church, and having the person tell you that they are still listening to you. If that’s the case, they should be looking you in the eye and focusing solely on what you are saying.
Having said all of this, technology has also provided us with a lot of unique opportunities. The internet has provided us with quick and easy access to a wide range of topics, and it’s also given us different venues for ministry and evangelization through a whole host of media. Facebook and other social networks are also great tools for connecting with old friends, staying in touch with current friends, and making new ones. Some of us might even meet our future spouse online! And who doesn’t get a laugh out of hearing their roommate play the same song at the exact same time that you are listening to it on youtube without either one of you knowing it?
Technology, like anything else, is a device that can be used for good or evil. The internet itself is not a bad thing, but it can easily turn into that if we allow our minds and temptations to go wild. If we choose to honour God in all ways, including when we are online, though, we may begin to understand that there is a point to this whole technological maze. It is through embracing this that we are able to continue to develop our understanding of what it means to be a Christian in this day and age.