Welcome to our Friday “Ask Beau” post. The purpose of this weekly feature is to provide you, our readers, with biblical responses to questions you have about practical issues that you face.
Today’s question: “Is technological innovation a good thing?”
In and of itself, technological innovation is a very good thing. Technological advances come about as people utilize their God-given talents and capabilities. As Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen note in The Drama of Scripture (pp. 37–39), for humans to explore and develop the potential of God’s creation is part of what it means for us to live out God’s mandate to have dominion over the earth (see Genesis 1:28). Technological innovation as a concept is not just neutral. It is good.
The problem comes about when people use or develop technology in a way that is not glorifying to God. While Twitter can be a great medium for sharing godly wisdom, it is also a “good” medium for being cruel and disrespectful to anyone who has a public account. While texting makes it possible to send a quick message to someone without interrupting him greatly, texting also may drive us to have electronic “conversations” that ought to be taking place face-to-face. While a smart phone can help us to be more productive, it can also distract us from our families or friends.
While I acknowledge that technology can be used for evil purposes, I am concerned that some Christians may have an irrational fear of technological change and development, as if it somehow undermines our faith. We don’t have to compromise the unchanging message of the Bible just because we use new mediums of communication and interaction. Many mature Christian leaders understand this—I follow James MacDonald, Rick Warren, and Paul Tripp on Twitter!
To some extent, I may be preaching to the choir since you are, after all, reading this post on a blog (though you may be clinging to the soon-to-be-dinosaurish email). If so, fine. Just do me a favor and share this post with your techno-happy friends, and maybe these thoughts will eventually trickle down to those who are less technologically inclined—gasp!—by word of mouth.
— Beau StanleyFollow @beaustanley