Ethics, Scarecrows, and Technocolour Dreams
“Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they,Jeremiah is talking about idols of wood and stone, but reading this text recently I couldn’t help thinking of our dependance upon technology.
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot walk!
Do not fear them,
For they can do no harm,
Nor can they do any good.” Jeremiah 10:5
How often we say of technology, “this will do us so much good”. But will it? Can it?
A thing cannot accomplish that which is a matter of the heart. “Good” is an ethical judgment. (Thus, when someone asks you how you are, you should never respond “good” because only God is good. “Well” will suffice.)
There are no feelings of compassion within the inanimate. There exists no willpower within the unmoving. These are the things of humanity, not inert materials.
And so, technology, like Israel’s idols, is not good, but rather a thing which can be used for good by an ethical being--you or I. Just like wood and stone, which can be used to build and battle, so technology can be used with wonderful purpose.
Yet, we are constantly barraged with reminders that technology has a dark side.
How will you use it? Will you fear it? Will you master it? Will you exercise creative control over it for the good of man and glory of God? Or will you bow to its ever-obsolete systems by purchasing the latest and greatest, wearing your phones and pods like so many rosary beads around your waist? Is technology our god or is technology our servant to the glory of God.
Ultimately, all matters computer come down to this one thing. And, ultimately, the choice belongs to us as to how it will be used. Like food sacrificed to idols, technology is a thing that can do no harm and no evil of itself. It is the user that violates. It is the user that glorifies.