A Refresher on The Effects of Technology

What a wonderfully thought-provoking article, although I wish the title was more transparent because technology definitely affects more than just Christians in good and bad ways. It definitely enhanced my knowledge about how technology affects us. Technology can dramatically affect one’s faith or mental wellness—both positively and negatively. On the one hand, a few negative points the article stated that seemed noteworthy were that technology:

  • Changes how we think
  • Can become an idol in our lives
  • Can enable other idols, i.e. pride
  • Can be a distraction

I agree with all of these and I think all of them affect one’s faith. First, with the shows we watch on television or on Netflix, they can very easily manipulate our thought processes into a secular perspective so that everything seems okay (when it’s not ok, at least for the believer). Next, technology has definitely become the shiny idol of our generation—whether it’s being attached to our cellphone, which I am a victim to, or relying on a program on our computer to give us happiness—whether its Pinterest or winning a video game. This is also a slippery slope to enabling pride because of how technology, computers, phones, etc. have the ability to help people express their identity through social media platforms. Though these aren’t necessarily bad, they can be detrimental to our mental health and self esteem if overly used. Furthermore, this also leads to technology being a distraction. I think some of the main distractions for the 21st century dweller would most likely be their phone, tablet, computer, or television. However, on the other hand, is how helpful technology can be—from nifty bible apps, productivity apps, the convenience of texting, etc.

I think everyone knows the struggle of trying to resist the temptation to watch another episode of one’s favorite show or resisting to text back a best friend or a new love interest. Sometimes these distractions get out of hand and it seems like people cant resist because they rely on them to bring them happiness. We can avoid all the negative aspects of technology by simply taking a step back and asking ourselves if this technology or distraction is going to better ourselves or someone else and how so. Furthermore, I loved one of the questions in the article, which stated to ask the technology we are using, “What are you doing to my heart?”

Here, you can find my notes from the article because it is pretty lengthy. So feel free to either read it verbatim or just glance over some of the main points/ notes I got from it here:

  • Technology” is basically anything that is created by human beings to help us reach beyond what we would be able to do without it – whether that’s just doing an old thing more efficiently, or whether it’s doing something that was entirely impossible before. Technology is all around us, and it’s so deeply woven into the very fabric of our lives that we barely even notice it’s there. That’s precisely why it’s so important that we do take time out to consider it from a Christian perspective – because the technology we use always changes us.
  • The creation order is turned upside down, the things we created to help us master the creation now try to master us.
  • technology by itself is what we might call “amoral” – that is, it is neither overwhelmingly good nor inherently evil. Like lots of things in this world it’s something with great power for good but which is also deeply affected by the fall. What’s important is how we use that technology – what we use it to do, and what we allow it to do to us.
  • Technology is neither overwhelmingly good nor inherently evil – it’s how we USE it that counts.
  • technology can also very easily become an idol in our lives.
  • It can be that the technology is an idol in itself (the latest iDols from Apple, perhaps?) or they can enable other idols, such as my pride, as I project an image of living the most remarkable life imaginable on Facebook, or lust, in the form of Internet pornography and so on.
  • My goal here is to encourage us all just to be a little more thinking in our attitude to technology – not to reject it outright, nor to embrace it unquestioningly. Instead, to try to see beyond the superficial and to think a bit more about how it affects us, and why we feel about it the way we do.

Technology changes how we think

  • Because of the television, we’ve become a very visual culture
  • It’s really important to recognize that our technology has the power to radically alter how we perceive and think about the world around us.

Technology means we’ve redefined truth

Obviously there’s loads more we could say on that topic – plenty of further examples of ways in which our technology changes how we think. But in summary: be on your guard! Don’t engage with technology unthinkingly and expect to come away unchanged.

  • distraction. Our technology these days increasingly leads to distraction. If we allow it to, our technology can really begin to own us, with all of the beeps and buzzes and notifications that constantly vie for our attention and drag us away from the real interactions with the people right in front of us.
  • As a result of all this distraction, we’re less and less able to concentrate for long periods of time, we find ourselves less and less able to do something simple like just sitting and reading a book. It can even get to the point where we find ourselves feeling quite anxious and fidgety if we have to sit with our own thoughts and nothing to distract us. It can draw us away from the people we’re face-to-face with, and be a disaster for our working productivity.
  • I think if we’re going to be serious about putting God first in our lives, we have to be pretty radical with our technology.
  • It says a lot about my own priorities if I’m more excited to know if anybody around the world has sent me a nugget of novelty in my inbox, than I am to hear from the Creator of the Universe who has some eternal truth to share with me

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