TECH = Baal. True or false?
We’d like to think idol worship isn’t something we practice. We don’t bow down to manmade gods like the foolish people of old we read of in the Bible, right?
Not so fast. (I think we do)
Probably, if we can’t live without something invented in the last 150 years, it qualifies as an idol–Yes. A full-tilt false god.
If we have a trust and loyalty to something we assume is a necessity, I think we should challenge this devotion.
Here’s the ugly truth. You probably worship your computer, your Apple product, your GPS, your phone, or your car. (Our association with technology is the modern equivalent of Old Testament style idolatry.)
A “long ago” 2007 British study of 1,256 people showed that 1/3 of those asked would pass on $2 million to keep their cell phone. 85 percent of those studied said that having a mobile phone was “vital to maintaining their quality of life.” The statistics are likely far higher now, almost 4 years later.
So, it’s simple. Tech = Baal.
Now, will you give up your false god?
At first we rebuff this allegation of idol worship. We’ll think of ways that the things we adore are for safety, common sense practicality, or we’ll come up with a rationalization for why our devotion isn’t really so bad.
The prevailing idea is that if the technology is available, there’s a kind of moral imperative to utilize it. “If it’s possible–it should been done.” Hence, things like octoplets, an artist being fitted with digital camera skull implant, and decades-long life support situations happen. (Can you think of another gross abuse of technology?)
What of ourselves is lost because of these unnatural loyalties?
Probably, a basic part of our humanity.
Let’s be serious: We become what we serve. We are enslaved to what we worship. What are the repercussions for serving technology?
Here’s a case in point:
It seems no one (especially under a certain age[?]) can image going without a mobile phone, or internet capabilities for a few hours, let alone a few days. Could you give up technology that’s been created within the last fifty years for a full week? Would it cramp your style, and make you grouchy? (Signs say yes…that’s old school tech…the 8 Ball.)
281 million youth have cell phones. I admit I have withdrawal symptoms without access to the internet for more than a day. I get twitchy. It’s uncomfortable. And no, I don’t like it.
So, I think we have to be honest and address this. What do you think about it? When have you worshiped technology? What do you think you do about it?
Is there a Christian spiritual practice that can help us?
Absolutely. It’s called fasting. Prayer, fasting, and giving to the poor are the pinnacle of Kingdom of God living, according to Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Without these things, we are not living as a follower of Christ as he laid it out.
A Tech Fast should be part of your spiritual practice, because it will get your attention better than most things will. This will create growth and maturity.
Fasting challenges our loyalties.
(Read that again)
When we desire the thing we fast from, it creates a space to concentrate and reflect. It re-proritizes our habits, calls them into question, and helps us sift through the what we we should hold dear versus what should be leashed and subdued. When the pang to digitally connect, shout out our thoughts to the masses, or get instant information strikes, we can train our hearts as we place prayer and worship in that void that feels like need. The point isn’t to prove our righteousness by going without, but rather to create time and space for heightened refocus and Christian spiritual practice. God has us engage in fasting for our benefit, not his. It’s a training method…a.k.a. a discipline. It’s a command to fast. (Sorry to break this to you.)
BUT GOOD NEWS: The effect is refreshment, and quite likely a more informed outlook on our lives.
Will you take the JANUARY TECH CHALLENGE with me? Kick the new year off on a new foot. Between now and the end of January, fast 3 times from technology. Start off with a few hours, or half of a day (if you’re ready for THAT-gulp), and try to build up to 2-5 days by the end.
Feedback appreciated on this. Thanks.
God Bless you.