Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday School Lesson on Technology

These are my notes from a single-Sunday lesson I did this morning on the Christian view of technology. It's a one-off, but I could see expanding this some day into several weeks. Note that I'm drawing largely from the book Responsible Technology, which I've blogged about before.

1. Introduction
Why care?
  • Technology is pervasive in our lives – How many of you are wearing technology?
  • Consider the automobile – What things have entered society since the introduction of the automobile? (Manufacturing, laws, gasoline, repairs, highways, etc.)
  • This omnipresence is almost to the point of being unquestioned
  • Technology is part of subduing the earth (Genesis 1:28, 2:15)
  • We are to take every thought captive (II Corinthians 10:4-5)
  • We are to do all our work for God’s glory (Col 3:17)
  • Technology extend our actions and abilities, but they are still OUR actions and abilities, for which we are accountable (Ex. 20 – we are responsible if we steal, whether we do it at gunpoint or through a computer); that is, we can instill our values in technology
  • Technology is done in a cultural context, within a worldview, and that worldview will pervade the technology
2. Defining Technology
What is technology? How is the term used in our culture? How do you define it?

Definition from Responsible Technology book
A distinct human cultural activity in which human beings exercise freedom and responsibility in response to God by forming and transforming the natural creation, with the aid of tools and procedures, for practical ends and purposes.
This definition works before and after the Fall.

3. Good and Evil in Technology
Do you think technology can be good and/or evil in and of itself?

What technology would you consider good?
• Telephone/911
• Vaccines
• Water wells
• Fence around your roof (Deuteronomy 22:8)

What technology do you consider evil?
• Torture devices
• Auschwitz
• Biological weapons
• Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:3-4)

What has a mixture of good and evil?
• Internet

What sinful motivations can we have in designing and using technology?
• Personal comfort at exclusion of other things
• Greed
• Pride (tower of Babel)

4. Technology In the Church (if time)
What technology is prescribed for the church?
• Baking bread
• Making wine

Other technology may be beneficial as well (audio system, musical instruments, lighting), but some not so (virtual worship services).

5. How shall we then live?
Some of us design and work on technology, all of us use it.
For designers:
• What values guide you in technology?
• Do you work evil or good?
• How can you pursue righteousness, justice, and peace in your technology?

For all of us: How do you decide whether or not you will use a particular technology?

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