These should go together. The tragedy of our times is precisely because our technological progress is not matched by progress in the spiritual and moral life. We need to do everything to put the two together.
We cannot deny that our technological progress, which offers us a lot of good as well as a lot of dangers, poses new challenges and can trigger new issues. It can awaken our dormant good potentials, but it can also stir up some latent weaknesses we have been carrying along for years without us noticing them.
Thus, almost like all of a sudden we realize that there are new possibilities for making business, for doing politics, and yes, even for doing more apostolate. But without the matching spiritual and moral progress, we will also realize that we are easily trapped into some forms of addiction to games, to pornography, and to all kinds of harmful distractions.
Progress in the spiritual and moral life, in this case, should mean more vital identification with Christ, more docility to the Holy Spirit, more obedience to Church teaching so that we can manage to be more discerning of what is genuinely true, good and beautiful for us and not deceived by their false and fake versions.
This would require a number of things. To be prudent and discerning in the use of the new technologies, we have to see to it that everything has to start and end with God. Without that as the fundamental perspective to have, we would be exposing ourselves to dangers that can be so subtle and deceiving that we would think these dangers are benefits themselves.
There should also be a great need for self-dominion that is rooted on our identification with Christ. We cannot deny that nowadays all sorts of tactics are used to tickle and attract our senses, feelings, emotions, passions and imagination, while starving our spiritual life.
Images and messages, memes, slogans and the so-called “hugot” lines are crafted to appeal to our body while numbing the pristine yearnings of our soul. We are made to become more bodily, materially and worldly-oriented with the corresponding drying up of our spiritual and supernatural life with God.
There is no doubt that the general atmosphere created by our technological progress is that of secularization, that of setting aside God and our duty to relate ourselves and everything else to him. We somehow are made to believe that God has nothing to do with our heavily technological culture of today.
We need to be wary of this danger and do something to correct it, more than just protecting ourselves from it or avoiding altogether the use of our new technologies. These latter ideas are unrealistic. We definitely need the new technologies and we should be very thankful for them. But we have to use them properly.
We should really make matching progress in our spiritual and moral life. We need to bring God to the new technologies. In fact, God should be the principle, center and end of our new technological culture.
Without God, there is no way but our increasingly sophisticated technological culture to be a spoiling and corrupting agent. It will be a very sweet poison. Only the people who are with God can survive the quiet onslaught of the many dangers the new technologies bring. Only they can properly take advantage of these powerful tools.
We need to be ready for this challenge. Thus, it is important that we bring this issue to our prayer, begging God to guide us in these very tricky waters of our digital world. We have to ask for guidance and quick to implement the measures of prudence that such prayer would bring to mind.
From a personal, individual concern, let’s make it a social one, covering more and more people in the family, schools, offices, churches, etc., developing the appropriate networks.
Fr. Roy Cimagala is the Chaplain of the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise, Talamban, Cebu City (email@example.com)/WDJ