Does Technology Make Religion Obsolete?

What Would You Say?

You’re in a conversation and someone says, “The human race doesn't need religion anymore; technology is solving all of our problems.” What would you say? Technology today can seem miraculous. We’ve sent people to the moon, cured diseases that in the past killed millions, significantly reduced global poverty and hunger, and we have nearly limitless information constantly available, right at our fingertips. Why would we put our trust in anything else? When humans think about technology, we tend to adopt one of two perspectives: either pure optimism or skeptical fear. It’s easy to see why we are drawn to these two extremes. The amazing advances in technology are exciting and irresistible. At the same time, these tools radically shape our lives, our families, our jobs, our communities, and our societies. The next time someone says, “technology will solve all of our problems,” here are 3 things to keep in mind: Number 1: Technology isn’t good or evil, but it isn’t neutral either Humans tend to want simple and straightforward questions and answers. But technology is too complex and too influential to be simply just good or just bad. The same piece of technology can be used by humanity for immense good or it can be used for dehumanizing evil. But that doesn’t mean technology is simply neutral, as if all that matters is the intent of the person using it. Technology changes things about us and our society over time. Think about social media. It allows us to connect with people all over the world, access more information than ever before, and learn about world events as they are happening. But that same technology has also led to a marked increase in loneliness and depression, broken relationships, the amplification of hate, social breakdown, and even real-world violence. The world-famous philosopher Martin Heidegger taught that technology exists in a web of relationships. That means that the influence of technology is greater than just simply a single gadget or device. Technology can affect and even train us in countless ways. It can create a perceived need for something we didn’t know we “needed” or even wanted. Technology shapes us every single day in both good and bad ways. Number 2: Science and technology can’t provide an answer for everything While science and technology can help us understand how the world works, even the greatest technological marvels offer no answers to why the world exists at all. Ultimately, our sense of morality, the common good, and our place in the universe come from something greater than ourselves, and even our most advanced technological gadgets. Technology has limits. It can’t explain love, or meaning, or our need for significance, or our moral compass. In fact, it has long been the dream and goal of some scientists to explain the nature of morality simply on materialistic terms, without any reference to God or faith. They want to observe nature and derive some sort of ethical framework from the scientific method alone. But time and time again, the principles they derive only speak to how the world works, not to why it exists at all. Simply put, the most amazing achievements of technology fail to help us find out why the universe is the way it is and how we are to live in it with one another. Number 3: Technology can be a powerful force for good, but we shouldn’t blindly trust it In our digital world with its incredible innovations and advances, it’s easy to trick ourselves into believing we are really in control of the universe. We are tempted to think that these tools will rescue us from the brokenness of the world. But this view fails to realize that these tools bring with them a host of complex ethical problems and often create as many issues as they solve. The same research into bacteria and viruses that help us create miracle cures for diseases can also be used to create bio-weapons. Any honest appraisal of our digital society will quickly see that technology isn’t ushering in a utopian future or fixing all of our problems. The 20th century boasts the greatest technological advancements along with the bloodiest wars and genocide in human history. Technology, as helpful as it can be, is a poor place to put our hope. Humanity’s problems aren’t isolated issues that we can solve on our own with the things we make. While technology can help us alleviate pain and improve living conditions, it comes with a host of ethical issues that we need to address. And this is where faith helps orient us. In the midst of countless questions swirling around us, faith grounds us in the knowledge that God has created an ordered universe, and he calls us to love Him and love our neighbor. God created us in his image and with the abilities to create powerful tools. Only when we unite this privilege to create with faith in an all-powerful and loving God will humanity truly flourish. So the next time you’re in a conversation about technology and someone says technology will solve all of our problems, remember these 3 things: Number 1: Technology isn’t really good or bad, but it isn’t neutral either Number 2: Science and technology can’t provide an answer for everything Number 3: Technology can be a powerful force for good, but we shouldn’t blindly trust it For What Would You Say, I’m Brooke McIntire.

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