Fearless in a digital world

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

Many of us have days when life seems obscured in a complexity of new technology. "It's hard to say exactly when it happened," began one segment from CBS News' 60 Minutes, "but sometime during the past 10 years, most of us involuntarily surrendered a big chunk of our lives to computers, and to other networking devices that contain computer chips.... We are becoming slaves to our own technology …" ("Get Me The Geeks!" Jan. 28, 2007, updated Dec. 30).

It's not that people fail to recognize how innovation has made life easier and more enriched, telescoping time and distance, opening up the world in ways their grandparents never dreamed possible. But technological advancement can collapse into a burden of simply having more to learn or do or file. This can make a person feel more isolated than empowered.

It's not about simply digging in one's heels and bucking technological advancement (as if we could); there's too much good in the innovation. But for the sake of true progress and balanced living, it's important to winnow the chaff from the wheat. We never need to surrender even the smallest "chunk" of our lives to forces that dominate. It's not about having to endure a little bad along with the good. Centuries ago, Moses heard the divine Mind speaking to him this way: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3). We need one good and all-powerful God in our online and off-line moments, along with humility that echoes Jesus' words "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30).

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According to the Science of Christianity, which Mary Baker Eddy discovered in the Bible and particularly in the teachings of Jesus, "man" – each of us – was created as "the compound idea of God, including all right ideas" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 475). Eclipsing even the technology revolution, this spiritual identification is revolutionary throughout all time. We each exist as the complete embodiment of all the good, perfect, coherent ideas in the one universe of the divine Mind. This spiritual understanding always puts us in charge of the human condition because thought determines experience. Recognizing even a little of this fact – holding to it and discovering more of its implications – is prayer that makes us masters, not servants, of the electronic world. It exemplifies the Bible's statement that we, made in God's image, have "dominion over ... all the earth" (see Gen. 1:26).

Such concepts offer a means to safely and confidently navigate technology and innovation, all the while separating good from bad, order from chaos, truth from error.

This isn't the first decade in which technological advancements have been threatening. With the Industrial Revolution came pollution, poverty, and child labor. The atomic age introduced the spectre of nuclear devastation. Societies could have retreated to former ways, rejecting innovation part and parcel. But there were more productive approaches – the evolution of intelligence, as a spiritual quality, prevailed over fear and resistance to the new and different.

Over 100 years ago, the New York Herald asked Mary Baker Eddy for her thoughts on "the pursuit of modern material inventions." "Oh, we cannot oppose them," she answered. "They all tend to newer, finer, more etherealized ways of living. They seek the finer essences. They light the way to the Church of Christ. We use them, we make them our figures of speech. They are preparing the way for us" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 345).

The infinite intelligence God gives us enables us to choose wisely where we search for and gather information. We can expect to have sound intuition about how to use technology advantageously – and to find it serving us only in useful, benign ways. There is nothing tentative or threatening about what is unfolding in the divine Mind.

Adapted from an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.

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