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Striving Joyfully (4) – How Do These Things Come Together?

How do these three things, technology, science, and love, come interrelate?

First off, we’ve created an advanced technological system that constantly distracts us from things of worth and value; things that humanize us and connect us with one another. How often does a notification or text interrupt a conversation you are having? How often are you distracted from fully listening to another person because you lack the self-control to pay attention to what they have to say? How often are interesting and meaningful conversations with your children derailed because they want to talk about something they saw on a screen? We have marshalled our great technological achievements to create a society of unending amusement and diversion. Amusement and diversion are not bad, but they become bad when they keep us from things of higher and greater worth.

Because applied science has been so successful in producing incredible new technologies we have simultaneously looked to it to answer questions outside of its field. If science can give us the Metaverse, why can’t it guide public and private morality? We also assume that we, being intelligent people, must have ‘scientifically grounded’ opinions (even when those opinions were formed via our Twitter feed or by scanning an article) so those that disagree with us must not believe in science.

Simultaneously we have lost the essential Christian virtue of love, the very thing we need to limit the use of our technology when it becomes unloving. We have instead reinterpreted love in terms of technology—if technology allows us to remake and redefine ourselves, then love must accept and celebrate this instead of confronting it. This has happened because we have lost the foundation of love! Love is not an open concept we get to define, rather it is a reflection of God’s character and being and we can only know it by reading His revealed word. But we have rejected that word and instead look to a being we have made with our own hands, our great and powerful “science”.

In short, we have constructed and are living in a totalitarian system. By that I mean we have constructed a society that seeks to guide and direct the totality of life—from personhood, to morality, to where we find truth, to the existence of truth, to how we should spend our time and money—and we have constructed this system without reference to God. It is by definition an idol. The modern medicine that helps us to live longer and more comfortably, endless streams of Netflix entertainment, birth control and abortion clinics that allow us to refuse entry into the world of those that we do not want to share life with, the Chinese sweatshops that provide us with a seemingly limitless stream of cheap consumer goods, the trillions of dollars of government debt that keep us from experiencing many of the consequences of our sin and folly—all of these things make it seem like we’ve constructed a pretty successful idol. But it is all smoke and mirrors and our idol will be exposed and humiliated on the day of judgment. In the meantime it is doing great harm, even if we lack the eyes to see the harm it is doing.

Ultimately we cannot be striving towards the goodness, truth, and beauty of Christ if we are not striving away from this false world system.