There are many people today, as always, who are in panic mode, decrying the fall of Civilization with the introduction of our remarkable, fast paced revolutionary technology and the information overload it has birthed! To some extent they are appallingly, frighteningly right! Have you ever heard someone called a Luddite? The term is used to refer to someone who opposes new inventions or innovations. It comes from a public uprising in England in the early 1800s when skilled weavers opposed the advances of the Industrial Revolution. “The principal objection of the Luddites was against the introduction of new wide-framed automated looms that could be operated by cheap, relatively unskilled labour, resulting in the loss of jobs for many skilled textile workers.” In short, they had cause to demonstrate because their “Civilization” or “way of life” or “means of income” or “former security” was failing and passing away!
When one “way of life” gives way to another, there is always turmoil, loss, conflict, dissatisfaction, fear, uncertainty, change. Such things frighten many good people who do not wish to see the “old ways” end. Just as in the days of the Industrial Revolution, our own times of dramatic change mean much is lost but that much is also gained … often for the better!
Philip Martin paints a grim picture of “The New Electronic Man” evolving out of our Electronic Revolution:
But a new creature has crawled out of the blinking neon forest and struggled to his feet, a New Man for the Next Age. He carries a mobile phone and he knows about PlayStations and those vulgar rituals of public humiliation they show in prime time. He’s lost his taste for subtlety, understands that the world is too rough for empathy and that reflection is a sign of weakness. Besides, he can drop down into his personal echo chamber and hear the smartest people in the world tell him he’s absolutely right any time he wants. He can stop his ears and eyes against all dissent.
Wised-up but unrestrained by wisdom, deeply cynical yet inoculated against self-doubt, low-carbed and Red Bulled, his reflexes honed by simulated mortal combat in the dorms of a football or basketball school, this rough beast stalks the earth. And like the kid in the ESPN commercial, he’s not that strong a reader.
Whether or not “this being” is the New Barbarian at the gates of Western Civilization or an “anti-Luddite” seeking the New Order or the Child of the Future who will save us, and who we need to adopt and foster, is still a question much in doubt. One thing is clear; we need to insure that the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man is still available for him to access in the arcane, new forms he embraces as his “saviors.” Our Future Man and Woman need to hear it just as much as the crowd about Jesus’ feet the day He first told the story. It remains, along with all the words of Scripture, the life-changing Truth all need to encounter. Let it come from a “storyteller,” a handwritten text, a book, a computer screen, a cell phone or some as yet unimaginable medium. But come it must if insanity is to be replaced with sanity!
The Creator’s “word gifts of truth” are eternal and applicable to every person in every generation, in every circumstance, at every level of society regardless of the medium used in telling it. If a person earnestly “reads God,” the great truths of the Savior will keep him or her up to date! “Without a heritage everyone starts over!” We don’t have that kind of time. The wise will “read God” and remember … and they will do it with a steady haste!
“I am laid low in the dust; but I know You will preserve my life according to Your Word.” Psalm 119:25
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
This is the last in a series of posts inspired by Mr.Philip Martin's article: “Reader’s Remorse: Have books lost their shelf life?” Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Sunday, April 5, 2009.