We Are The Selfie

By Fin Sheridan

Have you ever heard of ‘Moore’s Law’? Unless you’re a bit geeky, you might be forgiven for not knowing what that is. In 1965, Dr Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors that could be etched on a chip would double annually for at least a decade, leading to astronomical increases in computer power. What does that mean practically? Well, computers used to fill rooms. Now they fit onto one penny coins.

There’s more “tech” power in my iPhone than in the devices that the first space flights used. My generation is the last to grow up without the internet – my wife is only four years younger than me but doesn’t remember having to stop using a landline in order to “go online”. Now, I can “go online” anywhere, anytime, with almost any device. My TV is online. The least used function on my phone is the phone feature. It’s primarily an internet device. There’s a fairly good chance that you’re reading this online or in a magazine with pictures that were sourced online.

The Internet is huge. Vast. Every second, approximately 6,000 tweets are tweeted; more than 40,000 Google queries are searched; and more than 2 million emails are sent. That’s just websites. We have access to every bit of data that we could ever want. Never before has mankind been so informed – never before has all of humanity’s knowledge been able to be accessed by a child on their iPad.

You would think that by now we would be living in a Utopia – a brand new world without sorrow or su ering, our technological advances freeing us from the e ects of sin and war and disease and famine. Surely we are the people we should have always been, surely everyone has an equal opportunity, equal resources and the world is surely now fair?

And yet it seems like we’re a long way from that, doesn’t it? For all our advances, we haven’t made much progress. We’ve gone forward, sure, but not necessarily in the directions that matter most. We haven’t made poverty history, yet. There’s wars and rumours of wars, economies creaking under the weight of greed, people living far below the standard of living through government corruption.

We can be instantly informed of these developments, the “breaking news” breaking all the time. However, our information hasn’t led us to transformation. We are no less selfish, no less vain, no less prone to sin. We know much more but that knowledge hasn’t led to change. We are aware of our neighbours need but not more motivated to help. If anything, our technology has only made us more self-focused. We are the Selfie.

“Our information hasn’t led us to transformation. We are no less selfish, no less vain, no less prone to sin.”

It’s clear that it is more transformation that we need; not more information. Our hearts have to be rebooted; our internal system rewired. No Silicon Valley app or innovation can do that for us. Sure, our behaviour can be tweaked for a while but our hearts remain unchanged. If you got a Fitbit for Christmas, then you know what I mean. You can count your steps, measure your calories but you’ll still curse the person who pulls out in front of you in traffic.

There is only one thing that has the power to change mankind and that’s the Gospel. It comes through hearing (Romans 10:17) but not only is it information – the word about Christ – but it is also transformation. It changes us. Paul says that it is the POWER of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). As we receive and process this heavenly download, it changes the heart of us: transforming more than it informs.

Information about God is good, but transformation through revelation is even better. When we encounter God’s word it changes who we are. One of the problems that doctors have to navigate now is people self diagnosing and Googling their symptoms, leading them to think they may have certain conditions. However, even if you self diagnose, you still need to go to a doctor to be treated. The information isn’t enough. God’s Word isn’t like that. The Gospel both diagnoses our problem and o ers us the solution.

The challenge for us is to sift through the information, the good and the bad, the helpful and the meaningless. Our mission should be the pursuit of truth, the desire to find what God is saying and feed ourselves on that. Truth leads to transformation, it will change who we are. I know that I waste far too much time on information; mindlessly trawling the internet through the countless funny videos and silly articles whilst my character, heart and mind cry out for the meaningful, the true and the transforming.

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