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The Religion of Technology, Work, and Leisure with Special Guest David Zahl

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
February 12, 2020 1:00 am

The Religion of Technology, Work, and Leisure with Special Guest David Zahl

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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February 12, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 378 | Dr. Michael Horton and Adriel Sanchez answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

Key questions answered in today's show:

1. What is transhumanism and why do you think this is a religious idea?

2. If AI brain implants ever become a reality, would it be sinful to get one?

3. How much do I need to be limiting my kids screen time? I have some friends who don’t let their kids watch T.V. and others whose two-year-old plays with an iPhone.

4. You say that work “may be our single most enthralling replacement religion.” Why?

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This is core Christianity were answering your questions about the Christian life Monday through Friday. Your hosts are author and seminary professor Dr. Michael Horton and Pastor atrial Sanchez call right now with your question. At 1833. The core that's 1-833-843-2673 and now here's atrial Sanchez back together again are at the core with Prof. Michael Horton. I'm Pastor atrial Sanchez thank you for listening and were excited to have our friend back, David, Saul and I were talking about the religion of technology. I read a book some months back old Homo days by devious historian, you will know her are you something really the whole book is about how humans are progressing to this place where were essentially in a deal find ourselves working to become God likeness is reaching the point where quote you could buy for yourself. The strength of Hercules, the sensuality of Aphrodite, the wisdom of Athena or the madness of Dionysius, if that's what you're into. Up till now increasing human power relied mainly up on upgrading our external tools in the future.

It may rely more on upgrading the human body and mind were on merging directly with our tools and technologies really come a long way but can it make us godlike and you've written a little bit about technology in your book that you lost that he let's dive right in. Yeah I don't think you can really talk about everyday life in it with any kind of depth without talking about technology because people are so tethered to their phones and it is hard to talk about technology critically without sounding like with the Luddite and that is sort of a real, I guess really bad thing in a lot of sectors and yet I'm I'm I'm not a Luddite. I run a ministry that is used a lot of online marsh a lot of online resources and I really think that a lot of ways I know people that great friends or through technology studies, a set of upfronts that technology is and as a sort of a neutral thing you think it can be used in different ways and when it's used as a as a vehicle or a tool for self-justification to constantly be certain asserting or claiming or leveraging your enough Mr. righteousness from the world will then it can become very destructive. Now is the only way to say it.

I think that the relationship we have with our phones and the Internet is change the game. In a lot of ways well while for people who are interested in the dynamics of the human soul and how we clamor for justification and see that is central to the human basically identity and that is is as a sinners, that your conflict try to justify yourself on your own 2 feet wealth if that's where we are that your that kind of a person will then it's a massive opportunity where we can see technology is a way that we distract ourselves from bad feelings are feelings of condemnation, but it's mainly up of an affirmation machine no way that I can put out into the world some sort of vision of myself.

Image of myself that can then get some love or some approved likes at least like everything's likes and you know that's the thing what you're talking about, makes so much sense when were actually using terms today like how many likes did you get this is not you're not making this up.

People are looking for justification.

Anybody who says that the doctrine of justification. God's declaration that we are right just because of Jesus Christ.

Anybody who says that that that doctrine is no longer relevant.

It's not not a doctrine that people should be interested in in our age, obviously have never really thought about the ways in which they are seeking self-justification through an old social grill. Yeah, I couldn't agree more fact when the reasons I wrote the book was that fellow I'd heard from. Usually people within the church you would say you know justification that's antiquated that's a 16th-century question or that's that was important then.

But now we need to talk about XYZ and how to be affirmed and how do you want to say what I listen. Have you have you if you use the phone ever like a have you been on Facebook or have Instagram or basically have have you been alive in the maybe there was a time when people were less interested in this.

I don't know of it, but right now I feel like for folks who believe that this is the central thrust God's declaration is a gift of righteousness to the center that couldn't be that simply could not be more transient in a world that is basically drunk on its self-justification.

You know, we all know what this is like I can talk to 15-year-olds and they, the lights go on, but you know the people that sign up for Facebook in the last two years.

The largest demographic was I think between the ages of 75 and 85 while so it's not a young person's problem. It's not a rich person's problem. It's everywhere now, what is trans-humanism.

The angel was just referring to Rory's book. Why do you think that it's actually a religious idea. Sure, trans-humanism is the merging of machine and human and technology with humanity in a way to serve, prolong and optimize life you know science fiction as we talk about this forever.

In terms of cyborgs and sigh lawns and things like that but here you have a very active community with a lot of money behind it mainly sort of the clichs that is based in Silicon Valley, but the attempt is to to prolong life to actually indefinitely.

Immortality is really the end goal here and get your parts replaced. You don't become more and more as machine right you get either. Maybe get upload of the cloud in some way, but yes the Neo to live forever to be incomplete consolidation of everything. I mean, what is God like you know as with all of this stuff. I think that we think that the gods of sort of Silicon Valley came down from there, the mountaintop and handed us these these gifts and smart phones and everyone took them off. But then we realized a few 10 years later, that was the recursive and that is almost universally acknowledged as true at this point that there's been some massive downsides to our very quick adapting smart technology which the silicon deities new themselves, which is why they didn't give their own kids, a smart phone that's the great wake-up call isn't Mike that a lot of these executives more and more. Don't allow their kids to use. Don't their own products.

Again, they tempt tears not to be purely negative because a lot of this technology has done some great things. Sure we know little time I can I can face time with my kids when I'm gone and that's actually really great I can be in touch with my my aunt going through chemo. These are wonderful things but when my only experience of life is through heavily mediated versions of myself and other people you you start to believe that you were only loved or only valuable according to the number of likes you got your approval or or feedback as we know that can be really, really impressive is speaking about the trans-humanism stuff. We have active protocol that I want to listen in to see get your take on this are about how you're not narrowing right implant thread into the brain correctly like reading right information, lingering brain reality. Like if you can actually pull that off because I do think there can be reality.

I think this sort of thing is is is coming, and probably faster than we realize, and that maybe makes me sound alarm aside and let myself my name on the list to get one of those men implant. You never knows there could be some great things about them. I have a feeling that human beings being what they are, we will find a way to not only turn ourselves in the machines but to to do use them inhumanely against other people. I mean, I don't think there's anything in the Bible about brain implants, but I do think that it's okay to be a creature who is limited in that incentive dies and who dies the brain once it becomes this mechanical this machinelike is it really human anymore. Once you're talking about this much augmentation to prolong life. You no longer talking about prolonging the life of a human being the person's life is prolonged is actually now laptop that's true that's scary mean the further you get into these discussions that the wilder they get, and I sometimes think that for all of these innovations that the our friends in Silicon Valley have given us that they don't seem to have read much science fiction because most of its about half is closed and it's good conjecture, but you want to say what I think the human imagination is both glorious in his ability to imagine how wrong it can go possibly go but it's nonetheless. I don't know II think a lot of it is premised on the fact that death is final and as a Christian I believe that it's not. I believe life is a veil of tears and the fact that kingdom come.

The second Jerusalem and that's what I'm kind of excited isn't that at the end of the day what it's really about two different visions of what life and death mean for us. I believe it is and people tell you that even Christians. I think that we've gotten everything is about when everything becomes about building the kingdom and and and you know even personal sanctification. You shrink down the faith to just note the 50 years you're on the planet rather than seeing this cosmic history that you know that we were talking about heaven wouldn't talk about Helen were talking about the life. The common when we limit ourselves only to the what the imminent frame is what what the word is just the here and now we forget that the hereafter is a big part of the equation and our hope is really to be found not in the improvement of our lot right now, although that can be great as a response to the gospel but are our hope is to be found in the start of the new creation. We don't have our best life now know, and I ate at the end of the book actually think that the church would do well to talk a little bit more about death. Absolutely.

I think Ella T.S. Eliot said that the church is the place you go to be reminded of things like sin and death, which you spend the rest of your life ending a lot of with technology distracting yourself from her trying to out run and in fact to sort of sit down and to hear about these things can be a different enormous relief, especially when it's in light of the grace of God happen and you know in Scripture of sin and death go hand-in-hand. We can talk about the eradication or the removal of death through technology. We don't help how to solve the sin problem and as long as it is a sin problem. There's in a be a death problem. You know it, we might be able to cure all sorts of diseases, but we can keep people from killing each other or from withholding food and resources, and so it really continually points his back to the hope that we have in Christ. You know what I can to solve the problem of death that something that Jesus already did, and sin. And unless you fall both of those issues you're not in itself either one great point you say it makes me sad when religious leaders try to entice people into the pews by means of fresh, religiously sanitized distractions or when they see it as their mission old duty to craft services in which each and every moment is filled with language or light well at.

I think a lot of what technology does. We've been talking but how it prolongs life. It also distracts it's it we love it because it distracts us amused to death I think is what isn't that Neil postman was and boredom is become a thing of the past for a lot of people. If you're sitting in the doctor's office. You know you you start playing Candy crush or you start you can get more work done and you can justify yourself that way. But the church I think it can either rise to that and try to play by the world's rules in and create a more I don't know flashy and at that. This is not a license for the church to be painstakingly boring, but I think that the church can also in its liturgy. There are pauses and silences, and there are, you know we are there to receive and that is a countercultural thing, but I find it deeply. Hopefully, it also embodied space is why the Internet can never really replace the church. I always joke the have to be close enough to someone you can smell them and it might not be a person you really like it certainly will be bringing it looks like you and that that's a wonderful thing that we can do, but I think churches when we try to compete. We miss part of what is such so beautiful about the witness, which is that it's not busy. I remember hearing.

I think it was one essayist said that he thought that one of the reasons why secularism or atheism is on the rise is not that people have really thought hard about the claims of Scripture and and rejected them, but the babe so distract themselves that there's no space in which to even address those questions. Church is a place we come not to have more distractions from the truth but to come away from the distractions to hear the truth. Yes, and to be with others who are similarly shaped by the truth, which is why it's can be such a I guess. Ironic work in this tragic thing. When the church is seen as Leica. It is painted as a crutch or another way to distract you from your insufficiencies with the testimony of most Christians I know is that you go to church and you reminded of the reality of the all the buffers that you spend 95 years week erecting from reality stripped away for a moment maybe something breaks in your listen to the car right now and where with David Saul, author of secular law city answering questions about the Christian faith on pastor atrial stances were also as always with Prof. Michael Horton know one of the most important things for us is as parents is teaching our children about the faith. Jesus we have a special offer that one let you know about today yeah were excited about this a helpful resource on court Christianly.com and get looked at it, I'd encourage you to just take a look at this one's called five ways to help your kids keep the faith and it's free.

When you sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Atrial iron dads and I know a lot of you out there are moms and dads are listening to us what troubles us or makes us more interested in studying the Scriptures ourselves, then the condition of our kids growing up in this world that we live in right now. This is a practical, down-to-earth resource. It's not comprehensive of course but you'll find some really helpful wisdom here head on will record Christianity.com/offers to download. You can also give us a call at 1-833-843-2673 for help getting hold of any of the resources that we offer you every day I David there's a question I want to get to that. I want to hear your answer to let listening know how much time should limit timeshare file. Don't let their capital channel 20 library electric chair old clan ice on so what's your take on that question. My gut level is whatever screen time allows you to not hate your child. I.e. I kid. I think this is another major source of guilt for parents today, perhaps rightly so. But I also know that if you're a parent who is even asking these questions. It says that you are at least conscientious enough to be the sort of parent that loves their child so yes there is 1/3 different takes on this and II do think you know you can look at science, but you know the studies keep coming back with different things every time you go to it about technology and kids and how it rewires their brains or how it doesn't, but I know that parents are inundated with so many shoulds and to dues about this and where everything seems to be at stake that my sense is that you're a better parent if you don't hate your child and if you need to pacify them a little bit with something that's okay. I also think if that's all you're doing. Maybe look at why you feel you need about the buyer get all the time or why you never was. But time with them but I don't think there's some proper amount here when you're talking again about going beneath this. If you are letting them watch indiscriminately then as you say, what's the deeper issue here, but at the end of the day. It doesn't come back to what are you finding your ultimate satisfaction and joy and salvation in if it's in your work, your child is a distraction to then you've got the problem here of secular law city got the problem here of putting your faith in idols.

That's the problem. Not that you went over your allotted time of screen time and guide it and if you have bought into the secular state parenting where you feel it. You are to blame or to be praised for Apsley everything that is happens to your child then and you better not get it wrong.

Well, then you're going to be absolutely anxious all the time about their technological use, and you might as well move to Amish country because everything becomes a control thing so there's there's ways you can fall off the tracks on both sides and I think that your Apsley right to figure out what what's going on beneath it. What why do you know I spent time in your kid or why do you think that they can handle a little bit of screen time. No, you say that work may be arm single most enthralling replacement religion. What he think that is well. I think that in them. In America at least, which is my context might not be.

Everyone is listening to this context, but the American dream is that when people ask you sort of what you do with it. They just assume, or if you saved and if you had let a successful life. You assume that you're talking about your career and not oh well, I've been I've spent time with the people of loved and maybe you'll get there, but I think from the very beginning. There's this idea that we can bootstrap our way to heaven.

And so it's very much affirms the IIA. I point out in the book that America leads the world the developed world in sort of the least amount of the required vacation days, but we also lead the world in the most un-taken vacation days we don't have many vacation days begin with, not even taking those that to me betrays an element of pathology around our relationship with work. That work is somehow a respite from other less manageable realities in life or it is a place where we are.

We are looking to work, let me just put it this way, we are looking to work for purpose for meaning not not just for compensation but for purpose for meaning for community and often times for identity Inuit were willing to work for our career to a lot of things we once looked to God for this again is not a way to say that work or career is bad or important. In fact, even enjoying what you do but it is not the sole indicator of your value. Yeah. On the flipside, David. How do we turn even leisure and rest into replacement. Seems I weekly it either one of the other you know they were either turning leisure and rest in religion or its artwork. Well, I read an article last year.

I think saying that people don't have hobbies anymore that their hobby stores are going out of business hobby stores usually euphemism for like Baisley model train shops, but the ideas that my what I do in my free time as well. I'm running and I'm not just running on training for marathons, or I'd like to do woodworking in my shed a.k.a. now and I've decided on the remodel our house yet and so we turned all of our leisure pursuits into the more work and more work, and they become a more measurement part of a biking club because were training for a triathlon instead of just I like to go biking so leisure to me is is is kind of whatever you do, for its own sake, just for the enjoyment of it, but in the atmosphere of secular law city, it becomes only important to the extent that it improves your overall score in life and so instead of making a contribution at the office you're making a contribution. You know on the rowing machine or what ever it is. So this is very telling that the data figured out that the only way to sell Americans on sleep technology because right now sleep technology is huge sleep packing. It's called these incredible mattresses of the youth has been an explosion of mattress companies, mattress companies, and they figured out that the reason this happens. They finally figured out how to sell Americans on sleep not to tell them it will help them rest. If you have a better pillow. It's to tell them that they will be more efficient at work, sleep, which is the exact opposite of work has become completely indentured to achieving more and that's a very strange situation.

So now you have; ortho Sonia where people stay up all night worrying about if they're not sleeping well enough and that is that how you get or directs you to food but it's it's a strange situation in which there's rest is not valuable in and of itself.

It's only constituent of of work while what would you say to somebody listening right now who's saying I guy get what you're saying. It's interesting theory, but II don't see the point you you have to work to make a living. You have to have a family, even if it's no not a wife and kids you have friends you have a neighborhood that you will look out for. We have technology. This is the world we live in. David, are you trying to make us feel guilty now for the fact that we we work so hard and we have technology and we have responsibilities to our families and so forth.

Well or six that I am the chief of sinners here. I am a workaholic and I have a terrible relationship with my phone and no leg to stand on as a person you should put faith in him you say that very clearly I would say though that what drives me to God and to the cross is basically the failure of all of those projects to justify me or at least to save me and there's plenty of room at the foot of the cross, my friends, this is not another thing for you to feel guilty about you already feel guilty. That's what the book is trying to say it's where do we go with that guilt do we double down on our careers and I get there are's only economic realities that are tough are just hearing about the housing market in Southern California and just II just don't think that's all that's going on. I think there's also a sense in which we are looking to these things for what only God can provide. Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer.

Visit us@corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu for or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33 core when you contact us. Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time. As we explore the truth of God's word together


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