Recent revelations by Edward Snowden have revealed the extent to which governments (through the NSA) are using the internet to spy on us. The transactions we conduct and posts we make are collected to profile our thoughts and actions.
While I am at it, let me give a big ‘shout out’ to Tony Abbott and Barak Obama as they read this blog. :) I want you to both know that Jesus loves you and died for your sins.
At one level, the argument is made, ‘If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear’. and ‘As Christians we should be an open book’.
On the other side of the spectrum is the discernment argument which notes that, ‘Innocent information today can be used to frame us tomorrow’. and ‘Big data and big government eerily sounds like Revelation 12‘.
Without trying to be a Luddite, technology simply puts the desires of our hearts on steroids. Companies will use Big Data to make more sales, and grow their profits (greed). Government will use big data to engineer social policy (control). Individuals will use Big Data for all sorts of motives. As we move further down the path into a post-modern, post-Christian world, it follows that collective desires of society will progress towards evil rather than good. As followers of Christ, each of us needs to work out to what degree we will use technology. Some of us will take a ‘whatever’ attitude and trust all things to God. Others will withdraw more as their consciences are incompatible with an increasingly hostile tech society.
The overall direction of society is outside of our sphere of control (excluding divine intervention through prayer). however, each of us can decide the degree to which we will interact with society through technology. Using technology is not intrinsically evil or good, but the effect of technology engagement of us and those we interact with could be. Short of ‘taking the mark of the beast’ (which btw is a spiritual allegiance as much as a technology function), we should accept that Christians will vary in how they adopt new technologies.
My suggestion is that we prayfully consider the benefit of tech habits and interactions, being mindful that our hearts are evil. I am also reminded that heaven is a literal place, not a virtual place. So I personally will place an emphasis on building face to face relationships, in preparation for eternity beyond the cyber-world.