Can Technology Bring Us Closer To God?
From Bible apps to flat screen TVs, technology is everywhere and can come in various 'convenient' forms. However, when it comes to connecting us to scripture, does it serve as a distraction or can it bring us closer to God?
Before you answer this question, let’s try and define what technology is in the first place. The dictionary will say it’s to do with applied sciences, machinery developed from knowledge of science et al. We might say technology includes the TV, mobile phone, the web, social media, our double door fridge or the newspaper. Academic scholar, Roger Silverstone (1999) says it’s: “Our interface with the world. Our face-off with reality”.
Connected to Scripture
The scripture doesn’t say ‘No one comes to the Father except through their smartphone (or TV, or Twitter handle, or radio)’. Nowadays there is a lot of ‘noise’ coming at us through various mediums and this how we hear and recognise God’s voice. In truth you may hear and read of a timely Scripture and devotional through any one of these mediums, which is fantastic as only a decade ago we were much less connected online. Awesome gadgets like Smart TV’s are fantastic in tailoring programmes to suit you and your family’s likes. In the era of Internet of Things you can program your heating from your phone whilst you’re at work and to most this is a blessing or as others may ironically put it a “Godsend”. All of these inventions are wonderful pieces of science and workmanship, fused with intelligent minds. They are created for the human being’s convenience.
In a relationship with God, however, does all of this technology bring us closer to God or are we being spiritually satisfied through convenience? A tragedy in the world brings about a trending hashtag “#Prayfor”. When it stops trending, it is no longer on people’s timelines, nor their minds. Keeping our mind on Christ is not something we need to set a reminder in our phone for, nor seek on someone’s Facebook page, nor record for catch-up on our TVs. I am very digitally connected. My age group demographic would describe me as a millennial and I can live with that. Snapchat is supposed to be my preferred mobile communication too, yet it isn’t. Although I may have current mod cons and apps for my basic entertainment needs, I prefer to read the Bible via the traditional ink and paper, rather than on my phone. My version of the Bible has over 2,000 pages - and I know an app can condense that, however the reason I read and study this way is because the distraction is minimised. I know if I read the Word through my phone, I am going to be tempted to look at my Instagram feed when if I get lost in Scripture.
Christ over Convenience
I am a massive advocate for technology. Its speed, efficiency in all forms, and resourcefulness is indescribable. Today technology is changing the world at unprecedented speeds. However, in the light of Christ I think we are creating a distance toward the foot of the Cross where not even a smartphone can keep us company, heal our woes or love us unconditionally, in the ways in which God does. My opinionated suggestion would be for you to lay your burdens and smartphone at the Cross of Christ, come naked as you were at birth, with all that you are laid bare in truth where there is no screen or facade to communicate through, and listen for his voice.
Kat Sonson is a PA in Commercial Investment Property, Freelance writer, Freelance/Volunteer digital content writer and social media manager