Technology And Social Media Aren’t Neutral

To The Reader’s Forum:

Confessing candidly about her daughter’s addiction, a mother said, “In retrospect, giving my daughter a cellphone was like giving her her first shot of heroine.” Addiction to technology is a real problem and it isn’t just with youth. Dr. Erwin Lutzer gets at this in his book “The Church in Babylon.” Opening up his thesis of the church being in a situation like the exiled Israelites in Babylon, the church in America is in exile, not geographically, but morally and spiritually. One of the contributing factors is the impact of technology.

Lutzer warns against myths associated with technology. First, don’t believe the myth that technology is neutral. Moreover, Lutzer views technology being “weighted against a pure mind and a Christ-honoring lifestyle.” Technology is no more neutral than education. (All forms of formal education, government-run included, are biased.) Second, don’t believe the myth that technology has no effect on us. Not only addicting, it’s rewiring the human mind so much so that sharp-thinking Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias, says, “We listen with our eyes and think with our feelings.” To make matters worse, the impact on youth stifles the ability to excel while compounding inattentiveness, depression and anxiety. Specializing in the field of media, Dr. T. David Gordon of Grove City College says that as much as we may see what technology is doing for us, we must see what technology is doing to us.

What’s it doing to us? The Bible in Galatians 5: 13,15 tells us to serve one another in love, however, “if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you do not consume one another.” Isn’t technology offering a social platform where biting and sniping in angry uncivil outbursts accelerates? If we’re frank, we who have been on it have had a hand in it.

In a section entitled, “Social Media, Where Vengeance is Disguised as Justice,” Lutzer gives several noteworthy guidelines: if you are writing about a particular person, would you say it to their face or do you find it safe to shoot arrows from a distance, immune from uncomfortable personal interaction? Do you write with the goal of bringing about restoration and/or reconciliation whenever possible or are you writing out of a spirit of anger and personal hurt? Do you write with accuracy keeping the facts correct, in balance and in context restraining undue exaggeration?

Technology: master it or it will master us.

The Rev. Mel McGinnis



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