As human beings, one of our most basic needs that God has implanted in us is the need for interaction. So it’s no surprise that so much of the development of new technologies has centered around the function of communication. In ages past, communication happened mainly through word of mouth. These days, more and more options for communication are made available to us everyday: cell phones, instant messaging, chat rooms, blogs, message boards, video-conferencing, podcasting, file-sharing, and many others, each with their own wireless and mobile variations. Of course, this increase of communication options has been a blessing in many ways. A cell phone is really an amazing convenience during an emergency. Email and instant messaging have been effective ways of keeping in touch with distant friends. Blogs can be a great medium for learning from the thoughts and experiences of others.
But with the increase of all these methods of communication also comes the need for greater discernment. Is my time being spent productively by reading these blogs (including this one)? Is the phone an adequate venue for discussing deep, emotional matters? How much should I share about my life on the internet? And the questions are multiplied particularly for Christians as we seek to incorporate the Christian life with this technology. Is a message board the right place to carry on a theological debate? Can I forward this email I received from a church member to the pastor? Should I try to share the gospel with my friend over IM? How do I educate youth about the spiritual dangers of the internet? Questions like these are questions that must be thought through and addressed for the first time from a Christian worldview by our generation. Along with each new option in communication comes the need to be more discerning and wise in how we think about and rightly use these technologies. As Christians, we must be careful that we do not simply adopt the mindset of our culture that readily embraces every new technology. Rather, we must carefully seek wisdom from God in prayer and regularly examine our attitudes and our actions in using these technologies against the truth revealed in God’s Word.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to this challenge. But be encouraged… this is a challenge that Christians have had to face with wisdom and discernment from the beginning and all through history. Let’s follow the example of Apostle John, who understood how to use the technology of his day:
Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full. – 2 John 12
A helpful resource for Christian thinking about the issues of our day (such as this one) is www.albertmohler.com.