Can IT Be Redeemed?

Last week, I posed the question, “Is technology ill-gotten gain?” While I did not come out strong in my post one way or the other, I think I finally settled on an answer I can accept. Yes. Just as so much of our technology came from Nazi experiments and our long history of fine cotton garments came from the tireless and unappreciated work of slaves, information technology has come to us at the expense of others. Ill-gotten gain.

The next question is “Can IT be redeemed?” My friend Daniel Shackelford, who attends an Eastern Orthodox church, talked to me at least once about how Christ’s participation in Creation (ie: He drank, ate, slept, wore clothes, went to the bathroom, worked, paid taxes, etc.) was a part of redemption. The redemption of Creation. So, now we have this creation by man that has gone awry. Can it be redeemed through righteous participation?

Now, before it sounds like I am going all “churchy,” I mean righteous in the broader sense: right-ness, or simply doing the right thing. By using technology in the right way, purchasing it from ethical manufacturers, and holding the irresponsible accountable, can we all redeem technology together? Take its past and present, turn it on its head, and create something that does not require, as my friend David Goodrich said it so elegantly, compromise? I think so. But, until our technology and our use of it is righteous, we are compromising. And, unfortunately, the excuse of ignorance does not give an ill-treated stranger his or her dignity back.

So, now I pose the question to anyone who will listen. How do we redeem technology?

(P.S.: Peace in Libya, please… please.)

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One thought on “Can IT Be Redeemed?

  1. Daniel says:

    You cannot separate the physical and spiritual as they are inextricably joined. Our physical participation in the world is also our spiritual participation.

    The problem of corruption is that it is systemic. In order to see what “redeemed IT” looks like, we will also need to look at all the associated processes: transportation, manufacturing, packaging, mining, etc.. We find that all of these contribute to exploitation in some way (fossil fuels, waste, pollution, livelihood destruction). It is all one large system that has at the core an ideology of greed. Exploiting resources (mineral, land, human) for gain is the fuel for the system. And for what? Convenience. Most uses of technology come down to convenience. It is much faster and easier to email than to write with a pencil on paper. But even that pencil and paper are manufactured and in some way exploitive. And this is a simple example. We have come to expect and “depend” on convenience.

    Our burden as humans and Christians is that we are responsible for all. We are responsible for the success of those that exploit others, because we benefit. We are responsible for the damage to creation because we choose convenience.

    So what do we do? We confess our involvement, see it for what it is, a systemic sin structure in which we are willing or unwilling participants, and ask for forgiveness and guidance. I am sure our modern world is not the first to grapple with how to live in a fallen culture. Historically, what did Christians do when faced with systemic sin?

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