Technology can be a risky topic. Some of us have a love/hate relationship with technology. For example, my own husband has a passion for computers and yet says often, “Computers hate me!” Another friend seems to have the opposite effect – if he walks into the room where a computer is not functioning, it will suddenly start to work normally. Go figure!
Are you a gadget-lover? Do you love to collect the latest cool device? Explain.
Let’s consider computers. Where are you on the love/hate spectrum when it comes to computers? Do you avoid them? Or are you “computer-literate”? Do you use email or instant messaging? Do you surf the web? If so, what are your primary interests on the Internet? Do you maintain your own equipment or do you hire others to take care of your computer? What software programs are you very comfortable with? What are your primary frustrations with computer technology? How has the use of the computer changed your life?
Our lives are impacted by technology in many different areas. If we compare our lives to those of our ancestors 100 years ago, there are many differences that come from our technological advances. Consider medical technology, environmental protection, energy sources/uses, transportation, communications, farming (including genetically altered food) the arts (music, print art) – where has technology affected your life most? What do you consider positive or amazing? Useless or negative?
Do you work in a technology area? Explain to your conversation partners the technology area that relates to your career. Do you have technological hobbies? Give examples.
Some people say that our technology develops faster than our ethics. In other words, we may be able to create a nuclear weapon, but we may not have the philosophy of war to guide us in the use or non-use of such a weapon. We may soon be able to choose the gender or other characteristics of our children, but do we have a philosophy of reproduction to guide us in exercising such power? How would you try to decide the ethical approach to these and other questions raised by the advance of technology?
When Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, the leaders tried to control him. They would say that there were laws against healing on Saturday, or against picking some grain on Saturday. (Saturday was a day for rest from work called the “Sabbath”.) How would Jesus’ comments about Sabbath rules relate to the ethics of technology?
“What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?” Luke 6:9
“The Sabbath was made to be good for man; man was not made to serve the Sabbath.” Mk 2:27