Do You think that Technology is Ungodly?

Some of the most popular scientists, inventors and innovators have identified themselves as atheists. Many have assumed that Christianity has no place in technology.

Some Christians, for one reason or another have claimed that technology is an enemy of Christian living. Being a Christian in the tech industry, here is what I think.

Is all technology ungodly?

What Some Christians Think

I was in a Christian gathering recently and someone asked whether I thought modern scientific methods of getting children are ungodly. I replied with a simple and plain ‘no’.

I went on to widen the discussion to cover more than just child birth. I even brought in the issues people are having with genetically modified organisms in food production.

I wish I had also brought in the issues, or rather fears people have of advances in artificial intelligence. It skipped my mind.

There are some, I’m not sure whether majority or minority, in the Christian faith that tend to equate anything science and technology as a device of the devil against man.

Other Christians though, are not even bothered by any connection between the two. They might even at times think that technology or work is separate from the things of God; that work life is not part of church life.

Others like me think and know that technology is a tool to be used for either godly or ungodly things. Even Jesus must have worn sandals, a product of technology (and fashion if you may) at the time.

Some Christians have put a demarcation between church life and work

What the Tech World Seems to be

In the few years I have been actively watching the tech world, I have seen very little display of Christian belief.

I actually came across an article once whose title was along the lines of ‘Why atheists are smarter than believers’. I wanted to disagree so much but something distracted me, I don’t remember what exactly.

I wanted to tell the writer that having gone through seventeen years of school, every student that I remember topping the class had a thing for the ‘things of God’.

The tech world today seems to be filled with people who don’t believe in God or those who have successfully squashed the urge to speak about God except in the privacy of their homes.

It is a sad sight from where I’m looking but then, I might be looking only in the wrong places within the tech world.

The Genesis of Technology

The famous story of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden tells us a lot about man. It tells us that man likes being exalted. Eve was swayed by the serpent because of the promise to be wise like God.

The other thing, probably the most important one with regard to the this article, is that man has to work the ‘land’ to produce what to eat.

It is not immediately obvious to everyone that this curse on Adam is the birth of technology and innovation. Let us take a closer look.

Technology has always been driven by need to solve a problem; to make life easier. Adam and his offspring would need food. God knew that.

At second glance, God’s curse on Adam can be interpreted as “You are now going to have to solve your problem of hunger yourself, by working hard to get food.”

From that time on, man has come up with all sorts of tools and techniques to work the land. These tools and techniques comprise technology.

Man probably started with some digging tool no one remembers. He then realised that he could get more work done if he improved upon that tool. Maybe that is when the oxen-driven ploughs came along.

He must have also realized that he could still work on getting food for everyone by dividing labour such that not everyone tilled the land.

While one person was actively tilling the land, someone else would water the plants, another would cook the food, while another would be ready to bandage the farmer’s wounds in case of an accident at the farm.

From Tilling the Land to Technology Today

Many years later, the division of labour has grown so much that the percentage of those who ‘till’ the land is lower than that of those who facilitate the eventual food production.

Like it or not, Mark Zuckerberg contributes to the tilling of the land through Facebook, his innovation. The contribution may not be as direct as you may want it to be but it exists.

One way of looking at it is say, Facebook is used by the farmer on his breaks to check on his family such that he can continue farming in a land far away from his loved ones while being able to keep in touch them.

Now I’m not here to promote Facebook. I don’t think it needs any of that anymore anyway. What I am trying to say is looking at technology and science as an enemy of God may, itself, be ungodly.

God started technology. Man might have abused in some cases but that doesn’t change the fact that technology was instituted by the Creator.

So, When is Technology Ungodly?

Good question, right? I don’t want us to kid ourselves. Sometimes, technology is indeed ungodly.

The invention of video was a good thing. A lot of good has been done using video. Television news, even evangelical sermons are shared using that good old innovation.

We can all agree that video is not ungodly.

But is it? What of pornography, radicalization videos and videos that promote perversion, complacency and violence? Huh?

If you look at the basic structure of technology, one technology builds on past technologies to become something new. Facebook was built on the Internet, which had been built on the innovation of the computer and the chain continues.

That means that an ungodly technology can be built on a really good technology. Video is good until it is used build a technology, like pornographic websites, whose purpose is to do wrong. This same applies to all technologies.

For instance, a car is a good technology until it is used as a get-away car in a robbery. In a way, the technology is innocent but that can’t always be said of our motives.

I don’t know much about weapons but I assume they were made for one purpose, to kill. However, if they are used to hunt for food, that is godly; if they are used to murder, that is ungodly.

What Then is Ungodly?

Looking at technology as a separate entity may make it seem godly. However, when you combine technology with what it always goes with, i.e. the human being using it, it can be good or bad.

The end result that the technology is employed to achieve determines whether it is a godly or ungodly technology.

However, in order to be fair, we need to take another look at this combination of technology and man’s motives.

I will use an analogy. We all know dirty water. We call the water dirty because it has a certain component called dirt or its cousin, refuse. In its purest form, water is just water.

If I extend the same measure of fairness to technology, I would say, technology in its purest form is just technology. It is not until it is mixed with human motives that it becomes godly or ungodly technology.

It is just too bad that unlike water, technology can not be separated from the element that makes it dirty i.e. the human motives.

Thus technologies will always be either godly or ungodly. The culprit, however, is not the technology; it is the human being using the technology. Give technology a break!

I write about things that matter to me; the beginning of these things is my Creator, the LORD. These things include love-life poems, software and data science