Think back to 100 ago.  Your great grandparents might have had a land phone if they were wealthy. Maybe they even had a rusty family automobile. They probably bought a few things out of the Sears Roebuck catalog every year. 

Now press that iPhone app button and forward to today. The majority of Americans have a personal phone. More and more of these are smart phones, fast becoming a demand of hourly life. They require not only monthly voice bills, but expensive data plans as well. If you have an iPad, you might have a wireless charge for that too.  Then perhaps you have wifi for your house, home security systems to make sure thieves don’t break in and steal that iPhone, iPods to play your music (because the new iPhone is too big for workouts), iTune subscriptions to buy all that music, iCloud to store all that music, Amazon Prime or Netflix for movies on your iPhone, video games to play on your iPhone, and on and on and on and on.

Will it ever end?

No. While we work, play, eat, and sleep, the corporate world is employing very smart people to figure out new and innovative ways to separate us from our money. Apple has become the largest company in the world because they’re the best at that game. But technology isn’t just a wonder; it’s increasingly more and more expensive just to have a normal life. And those costs are growing at an accelerating rate that’s making dark energy jealous. Paychecks can’t keep up. Increasing numbers of people feel like they’re being lost in cyberspace. Sure, they still buy the iPhone 5, but bitterness and alienation are the side effects.  We see it in the faces of extremism, fundamentalism, and increasing anger towards whichever political parties. 

Unfortunately, when these technically frazzled people turn to religion, they are often hit with more rules and demands. Religions often focus backwards while progress speeds forward, leaving adherents painfully stretched in between like on a medieval torture device. We need a religion that connects people with their God, not dogma. We need a religion that helps people deal with the technology of today, not one that hides in the laws of yesterday. We need a religion that gives life meaning above their iPhone 5, not one that enslaves them. 

Yeah, I won’t buy an iPhone 5, but I’m a hypocrite. I have a Windows Phone 7. So I need a religion that forgives, not one that condemns.

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6 Comments

  1. Tracy Simmons

    I’m a Mac girl, Bruce – and have to say the iPhone has made my life much, much easier. I can stay connected with my readers and my writers from anywhere, can read the news, can be reached anytime thanks to the iPhone 4S. If I didn’t have it, I’d be chained to my desk and wouldn’t have the freedom to travel around Spokane and do my reporting. For me, it’s worth a few extra bucks :)

    As for religion and technology – yes, places of worship struggle to keep up, sadly. The digital evolution is happening very, very quickly and can be overwhelming. Churches, adherents struggling to advance their place of worship in the digital age should turn to their friendly online religion news source for some help. I’m just sayin’…

  2. Good points, Tracy. Technology definitely has advantages. I’m in a similar situation as you. I get all the benefits from my phone without having to pay for anything. But tech also has its costs, and I’m not sure everyone can afford those costs. What happens to them? Do they just drop out of normal life?

  3. Here’s an article on the same topic from the Wall Street Journal.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/wsjam/2012/09/26/cellphones-mean-trouble-for-peoples-budgets/

  4. I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the world, but I observe people who seem to value convenience, ease and speed far more than human well-being, and deep, thoughtful, human relationships. And they ignore their neighbor, literally the person physically near them, for a thin “connection” with someone far away.

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