Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Next Story: Faith, Friends, Family, And The Digital World - by Tim Challies

"...if technology is a good gift from God, with the potential to help us fulfill our God-given calling and purpose, why does it so often feel like we are slaves to our technology, like we are serving it instead of demanding that it serve us?" (pg. 13)

"We dream; we imagine new possibilities; we think of creative solutions.  And in all of these activities we resemble our Creator.  Ultimately, then, God himself is the author of all technology." (pg. 22)

"The things we create to assist us in overcoming the consequences of the curse also seek to dominate us, drawing our hearts away from God rather than drawing us toward him in dependence and faith." (pg. 24)

"Technology becomes an idol when we start to believe that humanity's hope, humanity's future, will be found in more and better technology." (pg. 30)

"Meanwhile, the digital explosion has even changed the way the adult brain functions.  It has placed many of us into what has been described as a state of continuous partial attention, a state in which we devote partial attention to many tasks simultaneously, most of them having to do with communication." (pg. 45)

"Until the telegraph, information was valued for its ability to assist in understanding and solving particular problems.  It was relevant for its ability to be a means toward a greater end. ... Even as the telegraph made people feel less isolated and developed communal identity around common experiences and shared knowledge, it also began to eliminate those features that had made each community different." (pg. 51)

"Learning through images and visual media is directly opposed to learning by reading, which requires a more sustained focus and actually generates new skills and capacities in the brain." (pg. 54)

"As we began to give our thoughts and our memories - our very identities in many cases - over to computers, we allowed them to do more and more things that could have been done in other ways.  We found that if we could have it done by computer, we wanted it done that way.  And eventually we began to forget how to do certain things without a computer." (pg. 58)

"...the invention of a technology almost always precedes its function.  Technology is generally created independently from the way it will eventually be used.  It is usually only after a new technology is invented that we use our creativity and ingenuity to find ways of integrating it into our lives.  This exacerbates its unintended consequences." (pg. 62)

"In almost every case, a new technology will solve some kind of a problem, but it may not be our problem." (pg. 63)

"At a time when we are increasingly disconnected from place, a cell phone seems to represent home.  As long as we have a phone, we can find and be found." (pg. 73)

"We are created with an innate desire for unmediated contact and communication with God." (pg. 93)

"The new, postmodern form of Gnosticism that we see today also promotes a fluidity of identity. ...  What we are in virtual worlds is just an expression of what we believe culturally." (pg. 102)

"Mediated communication gives us the ability to dedicate less of ourselves to more people." (pg. 112)

"Here is one of the great dangers we face as Christians: With the ever-present distractions in our lives, we are quickly becoming a people of shallow thoughts, and shallow thoughts will lead to shallow living." (pg. 117)

"As our technologies promote speed and capacity, the ability to do more in less time, they may promote a new form of idolatry.  They push us to make productivity and efficiency ends in themselves, idols we worship and serve." (pg. 126)

"The danger today, in an era of skimming and fragmentation, is that we will fragment the Bible into small bits and have no time or ability to craft unity from the parts." (pg. 129)

"...information has become an end in itself.  We have begun to believe that the accumulation of information somehow leads to wisdom, that more information will solve society's ills and improve our lives.  We place our faith in information." (pg. 141)

"A trend we see today through our digital technologies is the exaltation of knowledge about, a kind of knowledge composed of cold facts.  This comes at the expense of a more intimate kind of knowledge." (pg. 148)

"The wiki model tells us that truth is what the majority determines it to be. ... Truth does not have its source in God; it has its source in us - the majority opinion." (pg. 166)

"New digital technologies function as a great leveler, reducing the authority of the expert and elevating the authority of the amateur.  The lifelong theologian has no more authority than the young child; the teacher has no more authority than the pupil; the parent has no more authority than the child." (pg. 172)

"Truth is not what is relevant or what is popular, but what God thinks." (pg. 174)

Tim Challies, The Next Story: Faith, Friends, Family, And The Digital World (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015)

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