You can do almost anything these days just by touching a button. We have machines that dispense coffee, and food, and DVDs. We have personal GPS devices that keep us from getting lost–no need to stop and ask for directions anymore. We talk to our mobile phones, and they talk back to us.
I could probably spend days giving a litany of technological advances over the past hundred years or so. For that matter, I’m writing this blog on my IPhone. In any case, so many of the advances we’ve made have one commonality that occurred to me last night as I was taking a shower (great place to think, by the way): they all either minimize or remove our need to interact with other human beings.
We weren’t made that way. I might joke about not liking people, but the truth is, I am a social creature. So are you.
Albert Einstein once said “It has become appallingly clear our technology has surpassed our humanity. I hope that someday, our humanity might yet surpass our technology.”
If you walk around any place people normally gather, you will inevitably see many of them with heads down, thumb-typing or finger flicking furiously at mobile phones, or iPads, or e-book readers.
And they aren’t talking to each other.
People will sit across a table from each other while they talk to online friends. They’ll post status updates when they get good news instead of calling someone and telling them.
We really don’t need to talk to each other anymore.
Because our technology has surpassed our humanity.
I’m not OK with that, and I’m as guilty of it as anyone.
If it were not for my astoundingly awesome and Godly wife, I would probably still be the giant a-hole I was in San Diego. She makes me a better person. She makes me want to be a better person, and fulfill God’s plan for my life.
So last night I asked myself if all the wonderful things in my life had actually made my life better. Easier? Certainly. Better? Not really…
What has made my life better?
God has, along with the helper he sent me.
Technology, wonderful as it is, is ephemeral. It’s a vapor.
If we let it sap our humanity and need for interaction with others then we are denying God, not ourselves.
We’re taking up our phones, not our crosses.
How many opportunities for ministry have we missed because we were preoccupied with something like phones, or tablet computers, or handheld games?
Let me be clear. I am no perfect Christian. I struggle with obedience, and I doubt. Sometimes I question sovereignty.
Sometimes I don’t want to interact with the people God puts in my life. I’d rather play Words, or shoot zombies.
Do those things make my life better?
I need to spend more time with him and less on my phone.
I need to read less and seek out his people more.
CS Lewis said “aim at Heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
I think as wonderful as technology is, it’s still earth. And we’re allowing it to surpass our humanity.
We need (and I include myself) to aim at Heaven. Maybe then our humanity will surpass our technology.