Christianity and Technology

Technology and Christianity have not always been at loggerheads with each other. The present strife is caused by flawed understanding and interpretation of the Bible with respect to technology and vice versa. Christian leaders and scientists have had biased views of the world with regards to each other and this created a divide. With scientists going as far as to report that there is no God. That the world and all in it was created by mere accident or evolution. Both parties have gone to great lengths to prove their point and have slandered, killed and jailed one another in a bid to come out on top.

Science and the Church have both tried to use the word of God to back up their arguments without actually trying to find out what the Bible really says about technology.

Technology has wound up being the new magic word in place of science. This is warranted since technology is basically the practical application of science. Taking the Catholic Church into perspective (since this was the only church for centuries), historically, the church has often been a patron of science, with the Church being prolific in the establishment of schools, universities, hospitals, and with many Christian monks being well-known scientists. Medieval Catholic mathematicians and philosophers such as Roger Bacon and Nicole Oresme have been regarded as fathers of modern science.

The problem started when science began unearthing facts that seemingly did not have a biblical basis, facts such as the heliocentrism of the universe (a theory that the sun is at the center of our universe). Especially during most of the 16th and 17th century, due to the Church’s fear of teachings and opinions that contradicted their opinion of the Bible, scientists were persecuted, charged as heretics, had their books and researches banned and even lost their lives as a result. An unequal war ensued between Christianity and science, with the Church having the upper hand and science suffering numerous casualties. Scientists could not be sure that they were safe from criticism and religious persecution.

Nicholas Copernicus and Galileo Galilei were scientists who printed works that later became banned. Copernicus faced no persecution when he was alive because he died shortly after publishing his book. Galileo, on the other hand, was tried by the Church’s inquisition after his book was published. They both held the same theory that the Earth revolved around the sun (which was at the center of the universe), a theory now known to be true. However, the Church disapproved of this theory because it was felt that Holy Scriptures states that the Earth is at the center, not the Sun.

Verses such as Psalm 104:5 (NIV): He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.

As the contents of the Bible were taken literally, the publishing of these books proved, to the Church, that Copernicus and Galileo were sinners; they preached, through their writing, that the Bible was wrong.

Copernicus established a model of the universe with the sun, at its center. His most notable work, On the Revolutions of Heavenly Bodies, was highly controversial when it was published in 1543 but nevertheless became a fundamental turning point in the history of science.

Galileo was ordered in an injunction in 1616 not to “hold, defend, or teach” heliocentrism. He published his book “Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World, Ptolemaic and Copernican” (Dialogues) in 1632. This book offended Pope Urban VIII, who felt that Galileo made a caricature and he set up a committee to charge Galileo for heresy. Galileo was found guilty; his book was placed on the Index of Prohibited Books and it remained there for 202 years. He himself was placed under indefinite imprisonment and he was under house arrest from 1633 till his death. On his death in 1642, the Pope did not even allow Galileo a proper church burial and he was buried in an unmarked grave for 92 years before a request was approved to move his remains.

The truth, however, is that the real conflict was not between Christianity, as presented in the Bible, and science. The true conflict was not between science and religion at all but between the existing scientific view and a new scientific view. The only issue was that the Church leadership happened to be a made up of people who believed in the existing scientific view because it suited their purposes. This made them use the word of God in favor of their opinion.

This goes to show that the divide between science and the church is not by reason of the Bible. It is based on our interpretations of biblical and moral values. This divide has progressed to the present day. This resulted in a situation where scientists go out of their way to try and prove that God does not exist, that the Bible’s teachings are false and baseless. Theories have been expounded on everything from the creation of the world to the existence of heaven and eternity. The devil and his cohorts have thus utilized this divide in an effort to slander God’s word, His people and His promises for us.

The divide between science and the church is based on our interpretations of biblical and moral values. Click To Tweet

Technology as an application of science takes the forefront in such arguments were unethical technological methods are being implemented. To be fair technology has shaped our society most especially in the last two hundred years. Advancement in areas like transportation, medicine, communication, small and heavy industry, photography, education, fashion e.t.c. Technology has helped us to live life in a much more simplified way. Technology has also revolutionized the way we make war, settle conflicts (both personal and public). Guns, missiles, tanks, nuclear warheads, spy satellites to mention a few are also products of technology. Thus, it is inherent that we outline the effects technology has or may have on Christianity.

Technology or any other thing man-made is only as good as the person who is making use of it. This means that the human factor is always in consideration.

For example, as informative as the internet is, it is also used for child pornography, drug sales, cyberbullying and blackmail. Technology can be used to further the gospel, but it can also be used to impede the gospel. It is now possible to have Bibles on mobile devices. It is also possible to have explicit content side by side with God’s word on the same mobile device. As Christians, we need to follow God’s word in;

2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV); Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?

To check ourselves and ask ourselves these fundamental questions about technology. Does Technology:

  • Empower people or control them?
  • Meet needs or generate wants?
  • Value life or demean it?
  • Respect people’s dignity as God’s image bearers?
  • Have a great potential for evil?
  • Appropriately use resources?

2 Corinthians 10: 31 (NIV) says; So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Therefore, we need to ensure that our use of technology glorifies God. Regardless of its advancement and that technology does not bring pain, injury or ruin to other fellow humans. This should be the eternal goal of every Christian. To use every tool at your disposal to bring glory to God.

Compiled and Written by;

Agboibon Olagoke Williams

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