How has technology shaped our lives, and how should Christians respond? Ken Myers of the Mars Hill Audio Journal addressed this important question in a lecture at the L. Russ Bush Center of Faith and Culture at Southeastern Seminary.
Watch the video above, or read a key excerpt below (edited for clarity):
Technology shapes our world.
“I realized the extent by which our world has been shaped not just by technologies, not just by devices and machines, but shaped by a mentality according to which we tend to treat all things in accordance with a kind of technological paradigm. Certainly more than ever in human history, our interaction with family, friends and the world in general is enabled by various technologies. The way we understand the world, not just the way engage the world, is shaped by those technologies.
“The gadgets themselves are linked to large social and commercial systems that are very interested in how and what we communicate. Typically among Christians, parents and clergy have focused attention on the content of media and not as much on the forms of media, and the way in which various forms of media are meaningful in themselves — how they convey certain postures.
“My undergraduate degree was actual in film theory and criticism. I spent a lot of time in my undergraduate thinking about the difference between a communications medium that’s primarily visual versus a communications medium that’s primarily verbal, whether it be print or radio. And because of that background, early in my career when I was doing teaches at churches, I was trying to draw attention to the forms of media, not just the content.”
On technology as a metaphor for human existence.
“The extent to which technologies become metaphors; they become images that we recast our own experience in light of. We recreate ourselves after the image of our devices very frequently. So the computer has in fact become a model for many people in understanding how the brain works, or how reason functions, or how education should happen.
“So computers have a great deal of influence in shaping educational institutions not just as tools, but as metaphors guiding the direction about the nature of learning. Computers have reinforced certain understandings of what reason is and how we reason, and obscured or eclipsed other understandings of the nature of reason and the nature of truth. Computers have become metaphors for human nature as such.
“Information technologies can encourage the sense that human beings are information processors whose lives are invariably improved when they process more and more information faster and when we have more capacious databases. The metaphoric power of computers is so strong that they’ve induced some people to fantasize about eliminating their embodied existence, achieving a kind of immortality by transferring their consciousness to a computer.”