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Apologetics and the Place of Technology

For the last two days I’ve attended the National Apologetics Conference put on by Southern Evangelical Seminary. It was a privilege to meet D’nesh D’Souza, Hugh Ross, John Stonestreet, and other leaders in the apologetics arena, and to see Randy Booth and his wife, Barry Leventhal and his, Warren Smith, and other friends I’ve made over the years.

I was only able to attend one session other than my own, and that was by Warren Smith on the impact of media on culture and on the soul. I have to avoid getting depressed when I think about these things, but every day I see a bit more of the effects of video, especially, on the minds and souls of our culture.

So Warren and I got talking about how to assess technology, though only for a few minutes. Here’s what we came up with: any time technology replaces a human faculty, that human faculty will atrophy. A faculty developed is a virtue. God gave us the faculties to know him. Therefore, when the use of a technology causes a faculty to go undeveloped, it is, apart from other considerations, inappropriate.

The fact that technology makes things easier is precisely why it is a problem for someone who loves the divine image.

However, creating technology is a human faculty, so there is some place for it.

Technology is good and is used well when it enables us to function independently, when it allows us to better love another (i.e. to help them thrive, grow, and attain a state of blessedness), when it is used to cultivate a faculty, and when it allows us to cultivate a higher faculty than could be cultivated without it – while not undercutting the lower faculties.

That’s my present hypothesis. Given the importance of the issue, I welcome any clarifications, additions, challenges, or other sorts of input.

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