The Rev. Dr. Christopher J. Benek
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
People idolize a lot of things using them as coping mechanisms. When we lose interest or hope, when we get depressed – we turn to things that we think will fill the void. Sometimes these little “g” gods can provide people with a false sense of identity. Alcohol, drugs, smoking, excessive eating… excessive anything really, can lead us down a narcissistic path of unhealthy living. Sex too can be one of these idols.
In the future, Virtual Reality is going to change many fundamental ways in which humans interact. One of those changes is going to be the elimination of language barriers. From a theological standpoint, VR is going to be one of the prime mechanisms by which people, participating in Christ’s redemptive purposes, begin to deliver humankind from the implications of the religious myth of the Tower of Babel.
“I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings.” That was my quote a couple of weeks ago in article from a popular global technology site about artificial intelligence and religion. A lot of people, particularly Christians, have asked me about that quote since. “Do you really think that you can save robots?” they ask. “Do you really think that you can convert computers to Christianity?” they inquire. My response is usually something like “well… let’s back up a bit first and then I’ll answer your question.”
Human beings long for connection. We long for community. We seek to be loved. Yet most of the time, as if a flashing beacon of our self-abuse, we act like this isn’t the case.
Anyone who even loosely pays attention to social media knows that it comes with its fair share of narcissism. Self-promotion, selfies and the lack of personal accountability are all prominent aspects of social media environments. But what people often fail to recognize is that social media and greater technological advancement are also helping people to live more fully in Jesus as well.
In an age of exponential technological growth, people increasingly have to become more adaptable to find jobs. This is because the employment landscape is ever-changing. But this should come as no surprise if we draw connections between our occupational calling and our faith.
I have seen a growing backlash against evidentially-based thought and reasonable belief. Many believe these two categories of thought to be mutually exclusive, but I think they are complementary. Here is why:
If you have ever been on a short-term mission trip you have likely asked the question: “Is this trip really helping the local people?” Many times an experience may feel like it isn’t. So how is one to know if one is helping or hurting others with their aid?
Accounts of miracles in the Bible demonstrate that the power of belief can reorder the universe. Could our belief today enable us to reorder our environment and change our world?
About a month ago famed theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking wrote an article “The Independent” that questioned whether human beings are taking Artificial Intelligence seriously enough. He also specifically indicated that he thinks experts in the field aren’t doing enough to prepare for the vast global changes the AI onset will bring about. I believe Stephen Hawking is overlooking one very important characteristic of humanity.