Monday, August 22, 2011

Combating Cognitive Corrosion

"The answer to the epidemic of biblical illiteracy and theological ignorance is not the availability of more information. Rather the answer comes in the shaping of our sensibilities such that an understanding of biblical truth becomes consequential and foundational in our lives." -Douglas Groothuis, The Soul in Cyberspace, p. 147.

This is difficult advice for most people to follow. In a culture where entertainment and information technology reign supreme, most individuals have been conditioned to passively receive and absorb stimuli, rather than trained to actively cultivate the mind. Contrary to the pressures of the age, the Christian is supposed to be transformed by the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2), not transformed by the cultural captivity of the mind. That which we cognitively consume is not neutral; our sensibilities will be shaped in one direction or another, whether that be in the direction of habitual inattentiveness or in the direction of disciplined, focused reflection. We should take care that we are not offering up our sensibilities to be molded by the corrosive pressures of a high-speed, digital age. Moreover, simply having access to large amounts of facts, data, and Bible verses is not an indicator of a robust Christian worldview. The wise person knows that access to limitless (yet decontextualized) information is not the same as having wisdom and knowledge. Growing in the latter intellectual virtues requires far more than search engines, blogs, and social media can offer. Steeping ourselves in the good, the true, and the beautiful requires careful, thoughtful, deliberate engagement (and at times disengagement) with our world and its technologies.

About The Soul in Cyberspace: I highly recommend this book. It was first published in 1997, but remains an insightful, cogent and important critique of technology from a Christian perspective. Moreover, it has proven to be quite prophetic since its publication before the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.

Purchase it here: The Soul in Cyberspace

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