Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What's New?

I recently acquired a satellite radio and will confess that one of my guilty pleasures is to listen to Christian Talk Stations. Last Tuesday, I was listening to Albert Mohler discuss the media’s impact on families.

One thing he emphasized was to reduce media content itself; we should reduce the physical medium by which we receive information. He talked of the fact that when radios first came out, homes only had one. With the introduction of the transistor, homes gained more.

How when Television first came out, homes only had one. Now we have TV’s in every room. Or when we had one telephone in a house, rather than one telephone per appendage.

He was intoning that we should vastly reduce the number of items, since before it was “better.” That we were more wholesome, and Christian and Moral back in the Olden days, prior to this media explosion.

(Yes, the irony was not lost on me. I chuckled as I listened to a program on channel 170 out of almost 250 channels requesting we reduce our input! The fact that we even have so many choices made this broadcast possible.)

I thought, “Is older necessarily better?” But more importantly, “Why hasn’t God caught up with the times? When will He get involved in the communication explosion?”

We can moan and complain how complex machines have changed our lives. We could claim that before Television and Cable and MTV, life was simpler. Better. More wholesome.

The reality is that life is…different. In some ways better. In some ways worse.

At one time the only way to communicate was by one person talking to another. Then writing was invented, making it possible to communicate from one person to a number. With the invention of the printing press, mass communication was introduced, allowing numerous people to share the same information.

With a systematic postal system, we could communicate to one particular person across the world with a specific writing. What took months to deliver began to take weeks. Then days. The radio/telephone provided us an opportunity to actually talk with another person who was many miles away.

Along came faxes, internet, e-mail, text messaging, and now with broadband, video interchange. There is so much opportunity to interact, that many of us feel like we can NEVER unplug and go back to that one-on-one conversation. Too busy faxing, e-mailing and blogging!

Is it better? Sure, I can obtain the instructions to build a Navajo house, with a simple Google search and a click of a button. Is it worse? Yes, I can also access illegal pornography 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

While listening to Rev. Mohler attempt to persuade his audience to (apparently) go on a machine destroying binge, I was not convinced. We have these items and media and content available to us. Rather than turn a blind eye to them, we should teach discretion about utilizing them.

But where has God been in all this? Why hasn’t God caught up in the media craze?

According to Christianity, the last time God actually appeared on earth was sometime in 33 C.E. Plus or minus 3 years. Then, for a short period of time, he inspired (however we want to define that) some authors to write about him. By 150 C.E., this dried up, too.

For a short period of time, people could perform fantastic miracles, raise the dead, handle snakes, and even their shadow would heal others! But those ended, too.

For almost 2000 years God has been silent. Oh, there is still the claim of some internal “feeling” or a passing thought one attributes to an internal communication. There are claims of some miracle happening where a person is cured of cancer. Nothing like a blind person seeing simply because he happened to be standing in the right spot on a sunny day! No dead rising from the graves!

For all the hype and pomp about “God working” all we see are people, contributing money, time and effort, so that other people are benefited. No church building appears overnight—it takes bonds, and contributions and building committees and campaigns. People do not miraculously flock to church. That takes programs, and visitation, and signs and lights and special events. No coins appearing in fishes to pay for churches.

Imagine if God really did inspire some author in this century. She or he would be lambasted by the public for daring to equate their writing to the level of inspiration!

For nigh 2000 years, Christianity has had the same Television. The same phone. The same radio. No upgrades, no new gadgets—nothing that has kept up with the times.

One problem with American law, is that it inherently is always a little behind the times. Many statutes are implemented to react to a situation, not to anticipate a situation. We had to enact a whole new group of laws with the advent of financial transactions by telephone. Another set because of automobiles. Yet another because of automatic weapons. Another because of the internet.

Over and over we see a new technology or event, and subsequently a law created to monitor that technology.

Yet the Bible (and consequently the Christian God) has not equally kept up to the task. Unlike the law, it never modifies. It is caught in the same four walls. We now have issues with abortion. Or the morning after pill. Or contraception.

Issues not contemplated in the First Century. And now Christians struggle, because their Bible, which was prepared by people who never dreamed of the state of the world today, is unequipped to handle our problems.

The Bible archaically handles women in authority. We now have women CEO’s and leaders of Government who can’t teach an adult male Sunday School thanks to the Bible. The Bible discusses how one should treat their slaves. Not very relevant in today’s society.

Today we have frozen embryos. The Bible is silent as to that situation. We have the possibility of cloning. Again, the Bible is silent. We have step-children and multiple divorces and evolution and cosmology and interaction with a huge variety of beliefs and cultures. All of which the Bible is completely inadequate to deal with.

At what point does one question that it is time for God to step in and provide some new insight? See, the one answer—“There is no god” fits every question. Why did the ancient Hebrews write from a perspective limited to their knowledge? Because there was no god giving direction. Why did the New Testament writers address their concerns, with their limited knowledge? Again, no god.

Don’t act shocked—every religion holds that some other religion demonstrates a remarkable limitation of knowledge because there is no god behind it. Christians make fun of Mormons, as their books and beliefs appear to be so human. But become somber if you dare question why the New Testament is ill-equipped to handle the technological advances of today.

Why hasn’t God provided any new insight? Because there is no God. That answer fits every single time.

Perhaps Christians should not be asking if older is better, but rather at what point does older become out-dated.

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