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The Role of Technology in Our Walk With Christ

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
October 3, 2022 9:12 am

The Role of Technology in Our Walk With Christ

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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October 3, 2022 9:12 am

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes back Jason Thacker to discuss how Christians should interact with technology in our increasingly digital age.

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Family policy matters and engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina family policy Council hi this is John Rustin, presidency, family, and were grateful to have you with us for this week's program is our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on family policy matters and that you will for better equipped to be a voice of persuasion, family values in your community, state and nation, and now here's our house to family policy matters. Tracy David Griggs, thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters. As Christians we need to ask ourselves if technology is shaping our walk with Christ. Jason Thacker says many believers are actually being discipled by the technologies we use. That's a pretty startling concept or place to have Jason Thacker with us today to talk about this and his new book, following Jesus in a digital age. He is with the ethics and religious Liberty commission of the Southern Baptist convention, Jason Thacker welcomed a family policy matters. Grabbing Tracy right so in the introduction to your book you say quote technology is deeply shaping each of us and then quote we are being discipled every day by the technologies we use, whether we realize it or not," writes a talk about this.

Do you think it's possible that we as Christians are submitting ourselves to discipleship that we might not even be aware of getting a lot of listeners when they hear something like that like a pretty audacious claim, but beta technology, discipling and that often because we think of technology we naturally think about smartphones or berries gadgets and pieces of technology rather than think technology is something much larger than that in many ways become a culture in which we do it not just about the specific devices become the overall culture and kind of patterns and habits that we developed were technology use in general and I think that technology is indeed shaping and forming a particular way our understanding of God. Our understanding of ourselves and even the world around us.

It shaping and forming a very particular way that always reminds me of Romans 12 to work. Paul says do not be conformed to this world, but to have your mind be transformed by the renewal of your mind. And that type of statement is that we are all being conformed to this world and I think technologies playing a significant role in how will be conformed to this world but as Christians we need to think wisely about technology as it is a good gift from God, and we do use them in a very particular way for good and for bad.

But sometimes the ways that these technologies are subtly shaping our understanding of truth or understanding of responsibility, or even our identity as individuals and communities deeply shaping, informing us that we may not be aware of right so when you say technology is good gift from God.

You mean in the same way that any of the other advances are that it can be used for good or evil, right yet in many ways the technology is indeed a tool, but it's also a tool that exists as part of a kind of a larger culture and we can see many of the advantages and benefits of technology, but some things I think we need to do is to slow down some of those hard questions of what are the potential drawbacks. What are the things that technology might be shaping up that are at odds with our faith or are not reminding us treasure Christ into ultimately's Christ says in Matthew 22 to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves is technology tends to help us to focus inward to focus on me.

My feet, my post, my everything, but as we read about in John three. We must decrease so that he might increase that this is God's universe weird his image bearers were called to love him and to love our neighbor as ourselves. As of the kind of the inward turn of technology, our faith, reorient that to be an outward focus love of God neighbor. Let's talk about this book. Following Jesus in a digital agent like the way it's set up. It's a smaller book and its columns like a handbook is designed for yet that's exactly what this book is intentionally written for everyday believers because we all live in a digital culture. We all live surrounded or inundated buyer technology that type of exposure not only to the content but also these platforms need devices. It is going to be shaping informing us them anyway so I wrote this book for everyday believers at small decibel is written to help all of us to reevaluate our walk with Christ our use of technology in the what is it look like to follow Jesus in a digital age with wisdom and clarity. It simply laid out as well and you give us for different main topics pursuing wisdom pursuing truths pursuing responsibility and pursuing identity. I really want to touch on each of these, but let's start off first with pursuing wisdom in a digital age. How is this different from pursuing wisdom. It any other time say in the history of our world. That's a really important question that we think of technology. Most of us think of our gadgets, devices, social media, iPhone and iPad, etc., but reality is we've always had technology.

Some of the most revolutionary pieces of technology in the history of the world were things like a printing press or the shovel on the hope it changed everything about our lives and similarly I think were entering into a time and in our digital age. Today, for we have a lot of tools that are currently radically altering way that we see the world around that we even understand ourselves as a part of pursuing wisdom and what I try to do in the first chapter is to not only talk about the way the technologies discipling us, informing us to also be thinking about how we then pursue wisdom because what the Bible talks about what technologies to quickly is not new per se.

A lot of the questions were asking today in light of technologies are the same atrial questions we've always there in light of new opportunities a while. We didn't have twitter baby we were dealing with issues of pride and rebellion wanting to be seen in certain light by certain type of people so while were not asking new questions were asking them really in light of these new opportunities V6 kind of expanded horizons of what's possible with technology. That's really what I try to do in the first book is what is it look like to cultivate biblical wisdom of aligning our beliefs and our actions in a way that is honoring God and helping us to pursue wisdom because the book doesn't have like a checklist appears five ways to change a relationship, but technology partially because everybody is unique but also a lot of those checklists is something you like, you can just check off and move on. Will the nature of wisdom as it is not gained overnight.

Just like our bad habits with technology were gained overnight so it can take us a season of pursuing wisdom and discernment and growing in likeness of Christ so that we might be able to utilize these tools and follow him better in our digital age grade point wisdom in regard to the Bible is not attained overnight right insist the same idea exactly okay. Let's talk about the second major theme in your book pursuing truths and opposed truth age.

So what you mean by post, truth, and why does the digital age make it even more difficult for us to pursue truth than ever. That's one of the big ways that the technology is shaping and discipling. I think for some listeners when they hear things like misinformation or disinformation conspiracy theories or fake news, we can immediately think of someone or something often very politically driven, but reality is much bigger than that is that technology because of the amount of information were exposed to each day. This kind being overwhelmed by information is simply sometimes don't know what to trust. And a lot of times is not so much that technologies causing that technology 80 that meaning that white ones may be was a false belief or even a conspiracy fear I could tell to two or three people now have the opportunity to tilt the thousand, and even it could even go viral and it could be shared with millions of people all around the world may know another example is something happens in our culture and around the world and we get breaking news. Our phone sometimes without context, which can lead to staff. False beliefs are false understandings of the motives are what's actually going on. We start to fill in those gaps. And so technology many ways is shaping our pursuit of truth because we don't really often know what to trust. We don't know exactly who to trust and where to turn.

And that's where the Scriptures give us very clear guidance about what is truth that God's truth is ultimately God is truly trustworthy and that we can follow after him, but it's going to take being no James tells us to be slow to speak, slow to anger and to be quick to listen, and cultivating that heart of wisdom and discernment.

I think it's really key, especially in our post-truth age where truth is more defined by what I want and my desires, my inner realities of my truth rather than God's truth and how he's designed us in his image.

This difficulty in being able to tell what is true is contributing to what we see as aromas trust in institutions and tell me I'm stretching a bit here but even an increase in depression and the rising suicide rates that were seen especially among young people. Yeah, I think a lot of these things are connected to me specially what you mentioned with contusions many times and you seem to have failed us and we can't exactly trust because it seems like things are not being clear and open and they once were, or there so much information so many different people that we feel like it's all I just have to navigate this on my own and some of that pressure a feeling I have to, do battlefield triage kind of understand what's going on. I have to always be on have to always be connected. I have to know. Especially for ministry leaders and pastors feel like they must be able to either comment or know about every single thing the moment it's happening have some kind of informed opinion that can be really debilitating. It can make us kind of anxious always had it can be very much isolating to make us lonely so I think there's a lot of contributing factors. There is not just technology some other factors as well, but I do think that's one of the way you use the technology, shaping, informing us is to feel like we always have to be on.

We always have to know everything and we always have to be processing this information is happening and so I think part of that cultivating wisdom and discernment is to slow down to realize her limits to be humble about what we don't know, but to then seek God's counsel and the way he would call us to live this pursuing truth, but also doing so with grace right so this third of four major themes in your book is pursuing responsibility in a curated age. Explain what you mean by curated H and Y pursuing responsibility these days can be so difficult. One of the things is interesting about social media is a lot of people assume that the things you see on social media feed is just the information the people you follow or whatever's going on in the world right now on something that's true but also there's been carefully curated or personalized. This is utilizing technologies, artificial intelligence and algorithms and such. Where there shaping the content we see so maybe just because we see it doesn't mean you know my feet may be very different than your feet when even though we have similar beliefs. We don't live in the exact same places we don't have exact same interest. So our online experiences or personalize your curated for what that can do is not only focuses inward.

We can also get into a habit of not taking responsibility for the things we do see for the things we do read the things that we are exposed to. We start to blame either the algorithm or tech companies or the government to say it's their fault.

They need to fix this and not to scapegoating some of our own responsibility and we do need to have this conversation about the role of government in these conversations in the role of tech companies. We also need to be able to take responsibility is God's image bearers to say we have a responsibility not only for ourselves but also for our families to guard what we see to guard our hearts to pursue truth and there's that cannot personal responsibility that comes with being an image bearer into being Christian transformed by the gospel is taking responsibility for the things we see and do not just kind of blaming other people for those things grade point so were discussing the four major themes in your new book.

Following Jesus in the digital age.

We talked about pursuing wisdom pursuing truth and pursuing responsibility. The final major theme in your book is entitled pursuing identity in a polarized age to tell us why this is important for us to be thinking about that. I don't think it's a shock to anyone today that we live in. Gary Chapman very divided time and this isn't just on political differences discount a host of social and cultural issues. We at times feel like were more divided than we've ever been.

And part of that is that technology has a role to play about especially with the rise of social media and digital communities. I can know more about people across the world" have a deeper relationship with them or know more about them and then I may know about my neighbor next door is a part of that is that we have the very online niche communities where there are a lot of benefits to that but there also some drawbacks where we don't have that rich community will research to define ourselves by particular ideas and while that can be good. It can also be very damaging to not be able to deal with conflict or not to be able to deal and be exposed to various ideas that we may not agree and how do we navigate that is the commute, you must credit the beauty of the local church that would come from all walks of life to come together as the body of Christ we can. Not only being community with one another. We can remind one another that we don't have to perform online we don't always have to tweeter, share post, we can be reminded of the body of Christ work through educated lives in Jesus Christ himself.

Well were just about out of time for this week. But before we go Jason Thacker where can our listeners get a copy of your new book. Following Jesus in a digital age and follow a lot of the other very good work. The easiest way is most major retailers are selling book right now my is a host of resources as well linked to the books in my podcast and just ways that I hope to help serve the local church, especially ministry leaders who are navigating the big questions that were facing today. The digital age Jason Thacker with the ethics and religious liberty commission. Thank you so much for being with us today on family policy matters. Thanks, Tracy.

You've been listening to family policy matters. We hope you enjoy the program and pointed to him again next week to listen to the show online insulin more about NC families want to inform, encourage and inspire families across a lot of our website at NC families on award that's in C Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family

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