Technology and the Bible

Anyone who knows me knows that I like science and science fiction. Maybe it’s the draw of the utopian societies or maybe it’s the technology. I don’t know why but I have always been drawn to sci-fi. I love reading and watching videos about our most recent achievements in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and technology.

I am also a Christian. I love Jesus with all of my heart and long for the day when I will dwell forever with

Privative technology

the Master. But how do these two parts of my being mesh? Or do they? Some believe that we should live as simply as possible to the point that they abstain from using any technology developed beyond a certain point. Personally I disagree with this. If you are going to take that perspective then you need to abandon ALL technology including primitive tools such as flint knives and cut animal hides as clothing.

We think of technology from our modern perspective. Computers are considered tech but butter knives and spoons aren’t. But actually any tool from a simple stone picked up as a hammer is a form of technology. And we see these tools used throughout the Bible both for good and for evil.

So how should a Christian deal with technology? There are as many answers as there are people answering. Everyone has an opinion and since this is my blog, I’ll give you mine. Please keep in mind that this is just my opinion.

I’m sure that by now you have guessed that I like technology, but it is actually a pretty complex issue. I’m going to bypass any tech that is used for or was created for war or evil. I’m also going to skip simple tools and basic electric devices such as toasters and gas ranges. Although without these our lives would be vastly different.

So let’s look at some of the tech we have available today and some of what the future holds.

Computers are probably the first thing many people will think of when you talk about technology. Without computers there would not be any modern, advanced technology. Computers are really nothing new. Manual computing devices have been around long before electricity was a common tool. At around 1620 an English minister invented the slide rule. With this device he was able to perform complex mathematical calculations very quickly. A device called The Antikythera mechanism was discovered around 1900 and it dated back to before the time of Jesus! But the oldest computer that I could find was the abacus. This device, still used by many Chinese, was may have been used by the Babylonians as early as 2400BC!

5MB compared to 32GB

While these aren’t what we would call computers today, they certainly were the beginnings. Modern electronic computers were developed in the 1950’s and since then have progressed dramatically. The picture on the left is an IBM 5 MB hard drive. They didn’t sell them but would lease them for $28,000 per month. The picture on the right are two 32 GB drives purchased for $12 apiece.  

We’ve all seen the pictures of the first Apple computer – made with a WOOD frame! This is the same company that now makes the iPad and smart watches.

Well, that was a great history lesson, but what about its relation to Christianity? No technology, in and of itself, is inherently evil except that it was thought of and invented by fallen man. I’m including even nuclear bombs. The bombs can’t think. They don’t know that they are about to wipe out an entire city. Those who decide to deploy those devices are the ones who may or may not be evil, not the bombs. A screwdriver isn’t evil even if an evil person uses it to stab someone.

I use my computer to write and post blogs. I have a wonderful program called e-Sword that has a ton of Bible translations in many languages. Most of are familiar with Blue Letter Bible phone apps. I’m 66 years old and went to collage without computers. I wrote term papers and did research by hand in an actual library with paper books. I had to show up in class to get credit and hand in paper test sheets. It wasn’t hard because it was all I knew. Of course my “friends” in sci-fi novels had computers and online classes, but I’ve never had a problem separating reality from fiction.

I had planned on putting in several paragraphs here about robots. Not industrial machines that build cars but humanoid robots or androids. I just watched a documentary on YouTube about Gemma Chan had an android made in her image that was so convincing that it fooled reporters who were interviewing the robot. They actually thought they were talking to Gemma not a chat-bot. It was eye-opening. So I’m going to hold off on giving you my opinion of androids. Since this isn’t the 24 century and not all androids are like Data I’m not sure what I think. I hadn’t realized that out androids were at that level yet. Sophia may have been granted honorary citizenship in Saudi Arabia but you would never mistake it for a living person. Yet the Gemma robot did just that. I have to process that for awhile before I decide what I think about it.

The images below are all androids (human-like robots)

© 2022 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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