“MACHINES, WHETHER MECHANICAL or digital, aren’t interested in truth, beauty, or justice. Their goal is to make the world a more efficient place for more machines.” So argues journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, paraphrasing Jacques Ellul’s seminal The Technological Society. “Their proliferation combined with our growing dependence on their services inevitably led to an erosion of human freedom and unintended consequences in every sphere of life.”
Anticipating the consequences—intended and otherwise—is a key aspect of ethical reflection on new technologies. In “Web 3.0 and the Church,” author Mitchell Atencio points to a moral yardstick some Amish communities use in evaluating whether to adopt a particular technology: How will this affect our communal way of life? While Atencio sees potential benefits in church involvement in emerging digital technologies such as blockchain, the Amish guideline reminds us that technology must be approached with a hermeneutic of suspicion, a healthy skepticism of the idols of our age, and an unshakeable commitment to “seek ye first” the reign of God—even, if not especially, in how we approach the most cutting-edge issues of today.