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My friend and mentor, Dallas Willard, was a professional philosopher who loved as a hobby, so to speak, the intersection of philosophy and science. From that lifelong consideration he once said to me: every advance in human history is simultaneously and ethical and spiritual challenge.
To understand what Dallas meant by this, let’s work our way forward from ancient history:
- The discovery of the usefulness of fire to light a room or cook food—but it didn’t take long for sinful people to realize that they could also torture people with the pain of fire or that they could burn down the village huts of those they hated, those they had contempt for, those they had dehumanized.
- The creation of the wheel and it usefulness to carry heavy stones to build a building or to get a large animal home from the hunting ground—but again, soon enough, broken humanity figured that they could also get rocks to their enemies to stone them.
We could go on in this light from the industrial revolution (think the horrors of what machines did in WW1), to the technological revolution, and up to today. Do we love people well enough to actually embrace globalization—I think not. Do global markets work well? Not from a Christ and his kingdom point of view—to much of it based on using others, not serving them.
Again, we could go on and on about the various ways technology and connectivity is used both for good and evil. This is why I quoted (I think Archibald Hart), that study after study shows us that too much entertainment actually makes us profoundly bored and even depressed. In that depressed state we are either too weak or too distracted to embrace the ordinary wonders of life.*
Thinking along these lines does not require that we come to think of entertainment as bad. The focus of my thinking is not outward to vendors, it is inward to my own consumption. Why? Because my consumption reveals my truest desires—and sometimes those desires are disordered. And that takes me right back to my pursuit of Jesus and his apprentice that he might rightly order my desires…
– Todd Hunter
*Listen to the full sermon – Object of God’s Love