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December 15, 2023

Not Anti-Technology, but Anti-Antichrist

S. M. Gollmer

In my previous post I may be misconstrued as being anti-technology.  On the contrary, given my profession, hobbies, and interests, I am heavily involved in technology.  To provide clarity I am not anti-technology.  I am anti-antichrist.

We think of antichrist as a person.  In fact, there will be many antichrists as well as one in particular according to I John 2:18.  The Greek word for Christ means “anointed one” and from the equivalent Hebrew word we get “messiah.”  To the Jewish nation, Messiah is the promised son of David who will deliver them politically.  For Christians, Jesus Christ is the Messiah who delivers us from our sins.  An antichrist, therefore, serves as a substitute for the true deliverer.

When I use antichrist in the context of technology, I mean a worldview that sees scientific and technological development as the deliverer of humanity from the problems and evils of the world.  Although few would proclaim technology as their messiah, many of us anticipate new treatments to cure cancer, green technologies to address climate change, and electronic devices to provide connectedness.  Technology has mitigated the pain and suffering of living in a broken world; however, this is not without consequences.

Living under the rule of a sovereign king places an obligation on the subject.  Outright rebellion is dealt with.  Living peaceably within the kingdom requires some level of conformity.  Even those furthest from the reach of the king are not unaffected.  They must still show fealty through lawful commerce and taxes, or risk being cut off from the protection and benefits derived from the relationship.

This is true of technology.  Like a sovereign, it establishes rules and regulations necessary for lawful activity within the realm.  Luddites can sabotage the machine or attempt to withdraw from its reach, but only at great price.  Many are quite comfortable with it and avidly proclaim the advancement of the kingdom.  Extreme survivalists living in the most primitive conditions can’t help but yield to the benefit of lightweight, durable fabrics to protect them from the elements.

But this is done at a cost.  Technology builds upon itself.  If advancement in medicine, transportation, and communication is to continue, there must be a deeper and broader foundation of scientific and technological capabilities.  To achieve this, humanity needs to expand its investment in it and/or restructure society to take advantage of its efficiencies.  How do we do this without compromising how God intended us to live?  This is the challenge of our century as we look to the next.  Can we avoid being anti-technology without technology becoming our antichrist?

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