We believe that the pervasive presence of technology in our lives justifies a careful examination as Christians seek to appraise all things according to the mind of Christ.
This…typifies the kinds of questions and conversations we need to have in order to be salt and light in the world. First, Christians cannot sleepwalk through life unaware of the forces that influence and control them. Second, in seeking the wisdom of God, Christians should examine prominent cultural values and practices to determine whether they are consistent with a biblical worldview. Becoming biblically-minded means bringing biblical texts to bear upon all facets of our lives. This is more than the application of Scripture, it is an insightful understanding of the implications of biblical texts for our life in the world. Third, we must understand the implications of the decisions that we make in regard to our life in the world.
…we posed the question how this human-made technological world that we live in impacts our Christian thinking and living. We live within a creation created and sustained by God Almighty. We also live in a world built by human beings. Technology not only supplies us with tools to accomplish things, but, more importantly, technology constructs a world. Just think through your daily routine: alarm clocks, coffee-makers, television, radio, newspapers, cellphones, clothes, watches, cars, roads, street signs, power-lines, medicine, and food. For those of us who live in urban or suburban communities, the human-made world can so crowd out our connection with the God-made world that it is easy to forget that we are made in God’s image to serve Him in His creation. When you go to the grocery store and look at the plastic packaging and read the ingredients, is it difficult to remember that the Lord gives the fruit of the earth. At the same time, Marshall McLuhan showed us in the 1960s that technology serves as an extension of our selves and we can become numb to its presence and effects.
…Once aware of the cultural forces that impact us, it is right for us to engage the culture from a biblical perspective. The Bible is difficult to read and understand in numerous places. The Bible narrates for us God’s great works in the past and give us other texts to understand those great works, but it does not deal directly with specific cultural phenomenon today. Biblical-mindedness requires of us the wisdom to understand how the texts of Scripture speak to the issues of the day. For example, it is not obvious that the Old Testament prophets' critique of idolatry might apply to our technological world? McLuhan states that technology is like idolatry in that both are human-made and conform individuals to them. To support this notion he cites Psalm 115:8, "Those who make them will become like them." This kind of biblical insight allows us to reflect upon a significant theme in Scripture in light of our own day. Reflection of this kind gets us on a path to consider the implications of biblical texts in our engagement with the world.
Raising awareness, thinking biblically, and making wise choices in our day…. Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” For the Christian the stakes are higher. How can sleepwalking through the world unaware of how Scripture speaks to our life and times be considered a Christian life at all? Paul tells us that he who is spiritual examines all things with the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).
©2009 Philadelphia Biblical University. Reprinted with permission.
Brian Toews is the Interm Provost at PBU. He has been a member of the faculty since 1993 and is the head of the Center for University Studies. He can be reached by email.