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In Technology We Trust

January 20, 2007

America is a nation of idolaters. I know, since I am among their number. There are all sorts of things that this nation puts their trust and hope in, and I hope to make that an ongoing series here.

One of the things that we as a nation simply adore is technology. You can see it in the love of iPods, cell phones, and the countless gadgets we carry. You can see it in the movies, where the guy with the gadgets comes in and saves the day. You can see it in the breathless coverage a new technological invention gets in the media. You can a microcosm of this in Apple. Basically, there is a whole rumor culture around the company, which ramps up whenever the High Priest of Apple, Steve Jobs, gets up and says something. Apple currently defines the “hip gadget”, as can be seen by the hyperventilation over the iPhone. “What will it mean? Will it redefine cell phones forever? Most of all, where and when can I get one?” However, scientific technology is viewed in a similar fashion. People don’t think about the ethics of a situation at all if a new technology is involved – because the new, more technological way HAS to be better than the old way. I know this temptation well, being someone in the technology industry.

At times when we are tempted to buy into the technology worship culture, I think it is wise to remember that God is over everything. He commands us to trust in him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5) This verse in particular can apply to when we put too much faith in technological achievement. We are to trust in God and God alone. Technology will fail (very often with a blue screen of death these days). God will not. The verse “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Mark 13:31) is a reminder that anything we build will not last, and is not worthy of our trust and worship.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 16, 2007 12:25 am

    Unfortunately, I think your take on the American fascination with technology does often fall into the category of idolatry.

    I’ve been humbled by a technical failure during a Wednesday night study at our church. I was substitute teaching for our pastor that night. We had Powerpoints which we used for the lesson. I also had the Powerpoints loaded onto my Palm Tungsten E as a backup. Turns out that the Powerpoints were developed on one computer with some distinctive fonts and the PC I had to use did not have the fonts available. Our final discussion question got “wiped out” by the font being too big for the display. When I tried to use the Palm as a backup, the battery power failed and the screen turned into big block pixels. It was a rather vivid reminder that our dependence on technology, even when approached from the perspective of a useful tool, can prove unreliable. I was reminded that the artificial cocoon of technology in which we live only works ultimately by God’s grace. I suspect that our culture sees technology as giving us God-like powers in which we see ourselves as God.

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