Stephen McGarvey Christian Blog and Commentary

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Technology and the Church

How should Christians address the technological changes going on around us, especially the advances in communications technology, ever present in our homes, churches and communities? How do we know when to embrace a change before us, and when to hold on to what is familiar and traditional?

Here's a feature I wrote for byFaith magazine last year:

Ours is not the first generation to question the morality of new technologies. Two hundred years ago the Luddite movement sprung up in England when disenfranchised workers tried to destroy the factory machinery that was making their jobs obsolete. The April issue of WIRED magazine, in its defense of video games, chronicled what people said about several emerging technologies in their day: In 1909 movie theaters were described as a place where “depraved adults with candies and pennies beguile children … GOD alone knows how many are leading dissolute lives begun at the ‘moving pictures’.” In 1926 the Knights of Columbus wondered if the telephone made men lazier, disrupted home life, and discouraged the practice of visiting friends.

Christians have the added task of asking not only would new technologies benefit society as a whole, but can they be used in a way to glorify and serve God. Quentin Schultze, a professor of communication arts and sciences at Calvin College, believes a thoughtful Christian approach to new technology starts with avoiding a knee-jerk reaction.

“The key for believers is adapting new technologies faithfully to their lives,” says Schultze. “Not merely rejecting the new technologies as if they are entirely evil, or adopting them mindlessly the way the rest of the culture is using them.” What questions should Christians ask themselves about their use of new technology? “What is ‘different’ about our use of technology? What ‘marks’ us as more discerning, careful, loving users?”

Read the complete article: Technology and the Church