Monday, October 31, 2016

Technology: Pros and Cons .......... Parables 504

(date unsure) 1996
Because I have a computer with a modem, people ask, “Are you on the Internet?” I used to say, “No. I am afraid I’ll never come home — and someone has to make supper!”

In January, I gave in. After a few weeks of trying it out, “coming home” is not as difficult as I feared. My deep practical streak (Scottish ancestry?) and full schedule will not permit aimless wandering. However, I am delighted with this massive, easily accessible resource.

For example, someone asked me for an article on vacation planning. In less than five minutes, I loaded my “net browser,” connected to a local “server,” found a good “search engine,” did a word search that yielded dozens of article titles, and downloaded the research information I needed. Now I understand the excitement over this fascinating technology.

Although a relative thinks the Internet is part of a big conspiracy, other friends, students and writers find it saves multiple trips to the library and the expense of long distance phone calls to find information. Further, our grandchildren, with a little instruction and using the right software, have access to the same data as do doctors with a Ph.D.

Hasn’t communication evolved! It has progressed from pictures on cave walls to computer software that corrects our spelling as we type. Now words fly to the other side of the world in moments. One cannot but wonder will it last and what is next. Remember gramophones with the RCA logo dog who sat listening in wonder? Now most of those machines are in museums. A few years ago, folks said they could never manage without a telephone but now many are using another recent marvel of technology to answer it for them.

Our amazement is soon replaced by a yearning for more, perhaps because even this latest, easy-to-access network of information cannot solve all our communication problems. People still incorrectly hear or interpret each other. Prejudiced people still distort black and white facts with slanted journalism and statistics.

Communication is so easily garbled. Sometimes it is unspoken attitudes in the speaker. To that, listeners are justified when they respond with, “I cannot hear what you are saying because who you are speaks louder than your words.” Sometimes the garble is in the frame of mind of the listener or in assumptions made by both sides.

Technology gives us communication tools, but like any other tools, the quality of production is in proportion to the skill of those who use them. Word processors do not produce great novels and stories nor do telephones build bridges and relationships.

As for the Internet, it has its limitations. People put pages on the “World Wide Web” because they have an ax to grind. Some are strictly commercial. Some are so filthy that at least one “server” has added features to help parents protect their computer-literate children.

One other resource still impresses me far more: the Bible. The Author had no ax to grind, no selfish gain in mind. How could He when He is complete in Himself and needs nothing!

Besides, even though God used human instruments to write and produce them, His pages never need censorship. While they bluntly describe sinful humanity as it is, they also give hope. One passage says: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the people of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Jesus affirmed that “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Web pages are helpful but no technology produces life or godliness, hence we are never satisfied with it. Instead, we need words of hope lifted from the pages of God’s book and downloaded into our hearts and lives.

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