AS long as humans have been developing and depending on technology, our fascination with it has grown. “The Matrix” is the famous film series about intelligent machines that are harvesting humans and trapping them in an illusion of the world. It is one of the most popular science fiction films of all time. In recent years, Charlie Brooker’s Netflix series “Black Mirror” delves into the dark influence technology and social media, in particular, has on our lives. Many books, TV series and films have explored the underlying fear that eventually technology will become too intelligent and will rise up against humanity.
It is now common for people to talk about ‘digital detoxes’ – taking a break from phones, technology, becoming ‘uncontactable’. There have been surveys and research into the link between mental illness and excessive social media use, particularly among young people.
It seems that as a culture, we are well aware of our dependency on technology. But some people have gone one step further. WOTF (Way of the Future) is a “church” that is about, (according to their website) “creating a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people + “machines”. A group of people have already decided that our future is settled; technology will eventually control us, and we may as well get used to that idea.
It’s interesting that this group have used the label “church”. They believe that machines and technology will become so advanced that they will become like a “god”.
The bible says that “[God] has put eternity into man’s heart.” (Ecc 3:11). In every human heart there is a hole that only God can fill, an emptiness that leads us to ‘worship’ all sorts of things, from romantic relationships, to celebrities, to money, success, career, or even, apparently, technology. Christian theologian and pastor Timothy Keller said: “An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give.”
As Christians, we find the emptiness within us is filled – we are no longer searching for something to worship, whether that is technology, or our own dreams of success. In contrast to the ‘Way of the Future’ church, the Christian view of God is not as a terrifying dictator who we will have no choice but to follow. He is the servant King, who came to earth as a man, in the middle of all our mess, and died for us, so that we could be in relationship with God.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)