Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Society’s Misplaced Faith - Technological Faith

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on earth or in the waters below.” Exodus 20:4

We have witnessed over the last century what can only be categorized as a technological revolution. This might be better termed a technological ‘revival.’ “Come one, come all…be saved by the promise of technology.” While this is an absurd idea with respect to true salvation, many within our society hold this to be true.
Frederick Ferré in his paper on Technological Faith and Christian Doubt begins to question this faith and asks the Christian community, “What fundamental values should Christians use to evaluate technologies?” He asserts that a theologically informed assessment of technology will provide a guide for society toward a better future. He also suggests it will build a foundation for Christians to make both ethically sound and practical choices with respect to technology.

Much of society does not recognize the extent to which technological faith has become pervasive worldwide. Most people do not give a second thought to jumping in their car and driving somewhere (ok, maybe lately they do). They place their lives in the hands of the technologists who designed and built their car. However, when an event occurs in which technology fails, such as the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters, the Space Shuttle Challenger and Columbia explosions, or the Therac-25 Radiation Therapy Machine deaths here in the Northwest caused by a software error, people are shocked. They experience pain, anguish, and suffering similar to that of any faith crisis.

Society has put so much faith in technology that we entrust technology to find or execute solutions to many societal ills, such as environmental degradation, acid rain, ozone depletion, population control, cancer cures, and AIDS prevention and treatment. Civilization continues to have a deep faith and commitment to technology. When society is confronted with death, it immediately turns to medical research, organ transplants, and cryogenic freezing while awaiting technological resurrection. When society is confronted with sin, it turns to technologies of behavior modifications and chemical cures.

What is the danger of technological faith? We must not become so dependent on technology that it distracts us from, or in some cases substitutes for, our true faith in Jesus Christ. Billy Graham was asked to speak a number of years ago to a conference of technological leaders from around the world ( He stated, “The problem is not technology, the problem is the people who use technology.” At the end of his speech he closed by challenging the individuals in the room to dedicate resources to solving other problems within society, such as human suffering and human evil. These are two of the very same issues which confronted King David so many years ago.

Upon what will you place your faith?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting thoughts. I think about my faith in technology a lot when I'm on commercial airliners. I think that how we use the technology is a very important thing. I particularly enjoy how technology is unmasking concepts and ideas which have traditionally held their existence due to a lack of information.