American society and common life have undergone significant change in an extremely short period since the public advent of the internet in the early 90s (though the beginning of this change goes back much further). This transformation has happened faster than perhaps any period before in human history, and has had a significant effect on the modern sense of the self, community, and even raised anew perennial questions about what it means to be human in a technological age.
These are significant concerns that the church needs to address for obvious reasons. Our youth especially have grown up in a world where digital mediation has been a fundamental part of life, and all of us have been shaped by this reality. Students and families seem to be increasingly unable to cope well with technology. When used as encouraged by companies profiting from them, smartphones, computers, and tablets are often a hindrance to Christian formation, and frequently shape us in ways that distort our ability to bear God’s image as humans. Our political climate and social media domains are a perfect example of this. Christian virtues of charity, humility, empathy, forbearance, gentleness, and self-control take a backseat to building a platform, getting “likes,” and identifying with our particular tribes, often through insults, anger, and unwillingness to love others. Social media in particular has thinned out human communities and helped to produce lonely, depressed, and distracted people.
All of this raises important questions: How ought we to think about technology as Christians? What does it mean to live Christian-ly in a digital world? How can we flourish as humans created in God’s image as we attempt to incorporate rapidly advancing technologies into our everyday lives? And can we do all this without losing our souls in the process?
I’ll be writing a series of short blog posts considering some of these questions in the coming weeks leading up to school, and exploring them with students in Bible classes throughout the year. If these questions intrigue you or you find them significant, stay tuned!