On Technology

If Martin Luther’s 95 theses were the match igniting the flame of the Reformation, technology was the wind that caused that flame to become a wildfire.

Without the printing press (the technological marvel of Luther’s era), the flame of the Reformation might have burned out quickly and not have re-shaped the western world as much as it ultimately did. It was technology that allowed the concepts of Luther and other reformers to spread and, as is often said today, “go viral”.

One thing of interest here is that ideas alone can only travel so far on their own. And, conversely, technology on its own can do nothing. It is the combination of ideas and technologies that has continued to have a transformative impact on the world, over and over again. Similarly, the actual idea is just as important as technology. If Luther’s ideas were not interesting or (even more importantly) not relevant, his ideas would have gone to the wayside despite technology.

Now, we must also acknowledge that a bad and wrong idea can be just as influencing as a good and right idea. We know, through honest self-reflection and day-to-day living that evil and sin tend to be our natural propensity. We must then pray and strive for our use of technology to be driven by forgiveness, grace, love, and redemption—what is good and right. So, as in all other aspects of our life, when we use technology, we must follow the Golden Rule (love God, love others).

We are called to redeem technology, living both presently and fully in the world and co-working with God to bring about the goals of the Eternal Kingdom. This means, we must not flee from technology, but discerningly (relying on the Spirit and conscience) use technology to bring people closer to God and closer to one another.

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