There are two coal trains heading towards each other on the same track inside a mine shaft. One is heading up, gaining great momentum, and the other is chugging down with full force. The ascending train is this society's fascination with technology and its numerous gadgets - High Tech. The descending train is this same society's dwindling interest in religion, morality, and traditional spirituality - Low Spirit. Given this sad state of affairs, it is fair to ask if our society's fascination with high-tech may soon define its relationship with religion, morality, and traditional spirituality. Unless the brakes are applied soon, a collision of mammoth and everlasting devastation is inevitable; especially since they're both moving in the dark, not sure what twists and turns lay ahead. But since instant gratification is their goal, they don't seem to mind. It's the thrill of the moment they live for.
The Devilish Allure of Technology
To use another analogy, technology is the modern apple of Eden. It beckons us with promises of easier, more efficient living. It intoxicates us with images of digitized, high-definition, satellite quality entertainment. Remember when phones were phones and televisions were televisions? Now phones are cameras, pocket companions, and press-button security blankets with roaming privileges. Televisions threaten to splash our brains with such reality and clarity that, as the ads claim, we will truly become "part of the action".
Remember when organization was a question of mental discipline and rudimentary habits? Palm pilots and organizers serve as miniature assistants ready to list, record, and crosscheck every aspect of our lives and schedules. The Internet and our mobile connection to worldwide web have literally connected us with the world at every moment. Having it all together and being together with everything around us…what a juicy fruit winking at us to approach!
At Odds With The Fiber of Our Faith
Technology tells us that we can be in many places at once while our Faith tells us that we have only one place to ever be, which is with God.
Technology tells us that we can accomplish great things through man-made, expensive wizardry while our Faith tells us that we can accomplish the greatest things through God-given, free faith and freedom of choice.
Technology tells us that we create our environment in many ways while our Faith tells us that God Almighty is the One who has blessed us with His creations in our lives.
Technology tells us that we can transcend this world through its magic while our Faith tells us that we can transcend eternity through salvation.
Technology tells us that we can erase the past by pursuing the future while our Faith tells us that we can only erase the past through God's mercy and forgiveness in confession.
Technology offers us signs of modern living in computers and other devices while our Faith offers us signs of God's Grace through the Sacraments. Yes, there is much that technology can do for us in this world, but how much of what it can do will ever make a difference to our eternal souls?
In fact, the allure and fascination created by technology can actually draw us farther from God.
There is no doubt that technology well used in the proper light is a good and helpful thing, but we must never conclude that technology will solve all of our problems or make us the masters of our destiny! In fact, the Y2K worries and other evidence tell us that becoming overly dependent on technology will only lead us to an empty isolation atop a weak foundation easily collapsed. It is easy to point out how many souls, without any of the present technology, were infinitely more connected and interactive with God's Presence in the past and how many present individuals, with all of the present toys and gadgets, see no sight of God in their lives.
Do Not Be Surprised if ….
There are probably people right now who think that confessions should be allowed over e-mail or by cell phone. There are likely people who cannot understand why one cannot attend Mass by computer or just watch a Mass on television or through video conferencing. I know people who think that large video screens should be set up in church to allow PowerPoint-like presentations by the priest to "spice things up!"
Why not allow special effects monitors and speakers to turn Mass into something combining a rock concert and a political convention? Maybe having a video presentation of a priest to numerous churches at once can relieve the shortage of priests? Yeah, right!
Perhaps the Sacraments can be administered through some on-line method or by a home video presentation? Have you seen the commercial where a minister marries a couple in church as all three speak into cell phones to convey the marriage rite? Our Faith, when properly practiced, connects us with the past intimately and with the present personally.
Technology sells us the deception that the past is meaningless and out-dated and the present can be accessed at the touch of a button instead of the touch of a soul.
More and more, this society is blindly allowing its infatuation with technology to cloud its moral and spiritual vision. The fact that we can clone, do stem cell research, stop a pregnancy, and play God with genetic engineering and life extension does not mean that we should. Technology has lied to us. It has convinced many in this world that the ability to do something conveys the morality, the authority, the right, and the certainty to do that thing. This is the age-old error of mankind. Adam and Eve fell into the same mistake, and they didn't even have a cell phone, computer, or palm pilot.
They were safe in the palm of God's hand and chose to go it alone. What folly! Their apple of quest was demolished, smashed by the actions of the serpent slithering down the tree while they were getting their hopes up for that which was forbidden. We have the same scenario today. Those two runaway mine cars are moving closer and closer and closer. Do you really want to be on that track?