The Virtue of Selfishness: Technology

Some people distrust technology, or think they do. Some people dislike technology, or think they do. But why?

I asked that question, and got a nice variety of answers from a nice variety of people. Of course it wasn’t a proper survey, but I think it covered every possible perspective on the issue, and then some. πŸ™‚

But I was able to boil it all down to this: people who don’t like technology do not like it because it is new.

No duh, right? That is what technology means: new. Or at least it does now. Back in Webster’s time it meant something else (the arts). Now it means a nice variety of things depending on who you ask.

  • the practical application of science to commerce or industry.
  • engineering: the discipline dealing with the art or science of applying scientific knowledge to practical problems.
  • human as well as other animal species’ usage and knowledge of tools and crafts, and how it affects a species’ ability to control and adapt to its natural environment.
  • the study of or a collection of techniques.
  • human innovation in action that involves the generation of knowledge and processes to develop systems that solve problems and extend human capabilities.
  • the application of scientific advances to benefit humanity.
  • application of knowledge to meet the wants of people.
  • the usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, and crafts, or is systems or methods of organization, or is a material product (such as clothing) of these things.

Of course all that does not negate the fact that technology means ‘new’ in addition to all those meanings and uses.

But with all that defining, we have come to an important place. We realize:

  1. Everything that we have done was, at one time at least, technology. Including cloth, wheels, fire, cars, telephones, buildings, everything.
  2. God commanded us to invent technology (as a part of the dominion mandate) to His glory.

Therefore, technology, in and of itself, cannot be evil or even bad. Like many other things, it completely depends on how you go about using and making it that makes it good or bad: context is crucial.

People still think of computers and computer related technologies as technology, though, and complain about it frequently. They blame all kinds of things on technology (everything from decreasing IQ to increasing destruction of the ecosystem), and quail at the thought of the newer, better, more powerful and pervasive technologies that are coming up. So we come back to our original question:

Why?

Relatively speaking, things that are new, by definition, are untried, are untested, are changes, are untraditional, are different, and are generally better at something in some way. These things are not necessarily wrong or bad: they are necessary steps towards completion and acceptance. Of course each one of these has the potential to create problems, and that is why each technology must be weighed by the creators and the users to see if the potential for benefits outweighs the potential for problems. Everything is like that. Even getting up in the morning is subjected the same analysis. It is a part of everyday existence.

But doesn’t technology make us more lazy by making things easier?

That is a response elicited by one of the above listed qualities of technology: improvement. Technology makes something better at doing something, generally. Every objection I have seen to technology falls into a category arising from one or other of those qualities.

But does it?

Yes and no. Yes, because it enables us to do more with less. No, because that is not a bad thing.

Think about it: if you use less resources to do the same amount you were doing before, then you can use your saved resources to do more. You become more productive, not less. That is why third world countries have more and can do more than many of the richest lords of the old ages, despite their squalor in comparison to us. We are able to do things that people of older generations could not have dreamed of. This is a good thing.

The bad thing is not the technology itself, but how people use it. People can use guns in a good way or in a bad way. People can use cars in a bad way or a good way. People can use computers in a bad way or a good way. Technology is where people have a choice of whether to use it in a bad way or a good way.

But what if it collapses and we are all handicapped? Should we rely on it?

This is really a rather annoying question. Haha. What if all the cars in the world stopped working simultaneously? Wouldn’t we all be crippled? All of our networks would be hampered greatly, and it would take a lot to get back up again. It would be a global crisis.

Yes. But… so what? What if wheels stopped working? What if phones stopped working? What if planes stopped working? What if computers stopped working? Same problem, same question, same situation, same answer: it would be bad, but I would be surprised if it did happen (especially in the case of wheels).

What if technology takes over the world?

This is actually rather silly. Computers are everywhere, so people assume that they are taking over. Wheels and fire are everywhere as well as electricity, but they aren’t taking over the world. The idea that computers can do any more than ubiquitously serve us is evolutionary in source. Computers cannot become sapient. Period. They can only do what they are programmed to do, and just because it might do it better than a human could does not mean it is better than the human. Cranes are stronger than humans. Cars are faster. Computers might one day get smarter than our mutated and worn out minds. They will not conquer us.

People might by using computers, but computers by themselves won’t. No more than the shirt on your back.

What are your thoughts, comments, additions? Can you think of anything to add? Do you disagree? Why?

What is the Gospel?

A lot of people normally go to 1 Corinthians 1-4 to find out what the Gospel is.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

And it seems like a good place to go: it says that Paul is declaring the Gospel here.

But what they seem to not notice is that the passage does not end there: it ends in a colon. And the passage continues for two more sentences after that:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Now, there is the Gospel. And if you do not include that specific order of appearances you are not preaching the true Gospel, and are in danger of heresy.

Ah… no. πŸ™‚

This passage is telling a condensed history of the crucial things that Jesus did. It is also giving evidence to prove to the hearer’s mind that what he is saying is indeed true.

So what is the Gospel?

Well we can turn to another passage that purports to answer that question.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

What is the Gospel: it is the power by which God saves those who believe in it…

Jesus.

That is really the only thing in common between this passage and the other: Jesus. So now I can tell you what the Gospel is in one word: Jesus.

That also means that by yielding to Christ in us, conforming to His image, and doing as He would do, we are proclaiming the Gospel.

Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Our ‘good works’ are the fruit of faith and of the Spirit: Christ shining in us.

And in that sense, every Christian ought to proclaim the Gospel from midnight to midnight, from noon to noon, from rising to rising, from setting to setting, from birth to death, to everyone and everything that we have any influence on, with no fear, with no compunction, with no vicissitude, with no compromise.

Disturbing Movie

Greetings,

Yes, I know, I am a movie conduit. (If you want more of a certain kind of video, let me know πŸ˜‰ ). This one I wanted to post on my blog because I need to include a caveat.

It was disturbing. Even for me.

But it was worth it. So I suggest that if you are unsure (there is no gore or language or anything like that), have it previewed first. But in any case I still highly recommend it. It might make you cry.

Watch it here.

Condemnation is Fun

β€œHow dare you condemn me?! You aren’t over me! What right do you have?”

When we hear that sort of response when we are trying to show someone their need for a savior, or just stating our beliefs concerning abortion or other hot topics, we often backpedal and try to assure the person that we weren’t condemning them or their beliefs.

They won.

The above response is a classic example of equivocation: the person is redefining the word ‘condemn’ in order to give an illusion of refutation.

CONDEMN, v.t. [L., to condemn, to disapprove, to doom, to devote.]
1. To pronounce to be utterly wrong; to utter a sentence of disapprobation against; to censure; to blame. But the word often expresses more than censure or blame, and seems to include the idea of utter rejection; as, to condemn heretical opinions; to condemn ones conduct.
We condemn mistakes with asperity, where we pass over sins with gentleness.
2. To determine or judge to be wrong, or guilty; to disallow; to disapprove.
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have confidence towards God. I John 3.
3. To witness against; to show or prove to be wrong, or guilty, by a contrary practice.
The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it. Mat 12.
4. To pronounce to be guilty; to sentence to punishment; to utter sentence against judicially; to doom; opposed to acquit or absolve; with to before the penalty.
The son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests, and to the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death. Mat 20.
He that believeth on him is not condemned. John 3.
5. To doom or sentence to pay a fine; to fine.
And the king of Egypt–condemned the land in a hundred talents of silver. 2 Chr 36.
6. To judge or pronounce to be unfit for use or service; as, the ship was condemned as not sea-worthy. To judge or pronounce to be forfeited; as, the ship and her cargo were condemned.

Notice something there?

There are no less than six definitions to the word ‘condemn.’ Four include a sense of authority implied with the action. The first two do not require any amount of authority at all.

So I can condemn (and should condemn) people, beliefs, and actions that are against God without stepping outside of my boundaries. It involves no amount of putting myself over them. It is in fact merely an assertion of my independence from them to declare my own opinion and belief regarding their own.

Also notice that condemnation is not mutually exclusive with love, mercy, grace, kindness, or any fruit of the Spirit. Just because I condemn someone (in the true sense) does not mean I do not love them. God loves everyone, and yet condemns many to hell because they refuse to hearken to His call.

This is an example of why we must not only define our terms in every interchange, but also why we cannot let the world define our terms for us.

The 3Literati Blog is Up!

Greetings,

Us three Literati (I, Juliet, and Patrick) have been discussing setting up a blog for a long time now to discuss various things on. Several people have asked for a place on the internet that talks about essence outside of the Holy Worlds forums, and so we wanted to include that. Well, I am happy to announce that we have it up and going, with three posts on it already!

http://3literati.wordpress.com/

We like the set up a lot, and we will enjoy posting lexicological musings as well as essence tutorials and examples. So head over there and check it out! Comment on what is there, and subscribe. πŸ™‚

A Fun Family Set of Videos

If you have been following me on Facebook or Buzz (or on Twitter for that matter) you probably have noticed a flood of videos coming through my stream. Of course I understand that if you are not one of those nice people who read and comment on them all, you are probably intimidated by the vast quantity of things I share. So I wanted to put a few of my favorites on here for all you people who have lives. πŸ˜‰

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjlHab1CllI]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk5tVJ1qvRs]

Enjoy! These were both entries for contests on christianfilmmakers.org.

Apologies

Greetings and heartfelt felicitations,

You may have noticed a marked absence of posts this week. This is not due to lack of topics, as you well know. But I find that when I am struggling in various areas, I cannot find the words to write. The words do not come from me, but by the strength and grace of God. And when I fall away from Him, I lose my source of inspiration, among other, more desirable things.

Recently I have been fighting a tendency to arrogance and selfishness, which many of you have doubtless noticed, and disliked. I don’t like it either. πŸ˜› And I want to apologize for any behavior that has turned you away from my friendship. It was my Old Man, and not me.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlvBFMQX-MY]

Heretical Lexicology

Greetings,

β€œThou believest a falsity! An heresy in truth!!”

β€œThou art a heretic!”

Them thar are fightin’ words for most folks, but ought people to get so durned tied up aboot ’em?

I want to talk about the two above phrases from a lexicological point of view. To do this, let me first present to you a scenario:

Jenny tells you that google changed its name to topeka.

You find out that google did not change its name to topeka.

Did Jenny lie to you?

There are a few possibilities.

  1. She was knew the truth but told the falsehood anyway.
  2. She was told the truth but misunderstood it.
  3. She was told the falsehood by someone who knew the truth but told the falsehood anyway.
  4. She was told the falsehood by someone who was told the truth but misunderstood it.

So she was either lying, or she was mistaken (in her information or her sources), pretty much.

A heresy is something that disagrees with what God says in His Holy, inspired Word. Simple.

Webster’s 1828:

HER’ESY, n. [Gr. to take, to hold; L. haeresis.]
1. A fundamental error in religion, or an error of opinion respecting some fundamental doctrine of religion. But in countries where there is an established church, an opinion is deemed heresy, when it differs from that of the church. The Scriptures being the standard of faith, any opinion that is repugnant to its doctrines, is heresy; but as men differ in the interpretation of Scripture, an opinion deemed heretical by one body of christians, may be deemed orthodox by another. In Scripture and primitive usage, heresy meant merely sect, party, or the doctrines of a sect, as we now use denomination or persuasion, implying no reproach.
2. Heresy, in law, is an offense against christianity, consisting in a denial of some of its essential doctrines, publicly avowed and obstinately maintained.

There is quite a wide range of definitions there, but you will see how I have gleaned my simple definition (for this context) from it.

Now, it should be obvious by now that the two original statements are by no means equivalent.

If I say that you believe in a heresy, that does not mean that you are a heretic: A heretic is someone who teaches heresy. Just like a liar is someone who propagates lies. The difference is that a heretic can be a heretic mistakenly, whereas a liar cannot.

A heresy is an error. A mistake. (Most of the time.)

A lie is not an error: it is a deliberate falsifying of truth.

A heresy can be a lie, but it is not always a lie.

Another key point to point out is that you cannot be outside a group, and be a heretic of that group.

In other words, you cannot be a pagan, and a heretic at the same time. This is the only way that the word makes lexicological sense. If you remove the word ‘heretic’ from its current definition, making it equivalent to ‘pagan,’ there is nothing to replace it.

Also, ‘heretic’ is not insulting in the least. And saying that you believe in a heresy is even less so. It is merely a statement of disagreement over doctrine.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser