Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Technology and the Church

Christians have often been called “People of the Book,” and there is no doubt that recent technologies are changing the landscape of the printed book, so are there inevitable consequences for believers who are tied to the authenticity of and interpretive work done in a book? Lisa Miller thinks technology may pose a serious threat to the very existence of the church itself. She titles this piece, “How Technology Could Bring Down the Church.”

She has a point. It appears that the more available the Bible has become both in print and in virtual form, fewer and fewer Christians read it any more.

According to a 2010 survey, more than a third of born-again Christians “rarely or never” read the Bible. Among “unaffiliated” people - that is, Americans who don’t belong to a religious congregation - more than two thirds say they don’t read the Bible.

Is it really a stretch to believe that our general trend to define genuine engagement down from face-to-face conversation all the way to tweets, will leave the Bible exempt? It shouldn’t surprise us that more Christians read large chunks of the Bible less. While it is becoming more popular to “share” favorite or inspiring verses online, that limits us to our software-induced character limit. Since when had a serious thought been limited by 140 characters?

Skeptics are not exempt from this malady. Often the quotations (or misquotations) used to attack the faith are short, misunderstood, and out of context.

Christians need to recapture the virtue of reading and taking the Bible seriously. Though I don’t believe the church as a whole will crumble under the weight of virtual communities, its value to the individual can be seriously threatened by the thoughtless and unreflective believer.

1 comment:

AlwaysInTheDark said...

This is indeed one aspect of community that I miss. While tech is a powerful tool and one I use daily for hours on end, interactions with people have become generally lacking and most certainly short lived events. The lack increases the desire, however, and I suspect that the pendulum will swing the other way with time.