Man Changed, God Hasnt

Some interesting thoughts from the Business Spectator offshoot, Technology Spectator website:

  1. The world is becoming more crowded, older and lonelier. The crowding will mainly be in sub-Saharan Africa (contributing 20% or population growth) and China and the Sub-Continent (contributing 50%).
  2. China has more than 20% of world population but less than 2% of world oil. Oil will continue to be more expensive as will most other stuff. The world will have to cope with living with less.
  3. Mobile technology and communication is the moving force for the world today. This changes traditional allocation of roles such as between producers and consumers and between the collective formal structure and individuals. Mobile communication machines such as smart phones will outsell PCs by next year.
  4. Technological and knowledge developments have been expansive and pervasive, and costs of manufacturing machines which connect technology, people and data in smarter and more sophisticated ways are facilitating a connection (connectedness) and exchange which make learning and adapting a rapid process.
  5. The world economy is being driven by a different engine now. China, India, Russia and Brazil have become the dominant and dynamic forces and the bulk of world money, trade, and production will move towards these countries.

On one level, this looks like a very ripe harvest where evangelism is concerned. This however is only from the perspective of demographics and infrastructure. The soft side – how and whether these developments and changes have any impact or effect on the human perception of his need for God – would probably not change very much.

I wonder if the unbelievable rate of change we have seen in recent years have taken man nearer or further from a sense of their need for God. I mean, the bulk of the stuff we use regularly today, was probably non-existent not too long ago. In my back pack to and from work every day, the umbrella, lunch box and security tag to my office building are probably stuff familiar to someone in say, the year 2000. Maybe my car keys as well.

But those are items I don’t use very much. The umbrella has been used more often this week but other than that it is seldom touched. The lunch box is opened and sandwich fished and that was it. The box is not even looked at till I got home. The security tag and car keys, ditto – only the start and end of the working day.

The remainder 2 items in my back pack used many times throughout the day are: the phone and the computer. 10 years ago, my Treo 280 was state of the art but it has probably just a fraction of the functions and capacity of the iPhone today. I now use my iPhone 20-30 times a day. Other than calls and text messages, I use it for web browsing (several times a day) emailing (every hour or so) book reading (15-20 minutes to and from work), weather checking (2-3 times a day), scheduling (2-3 times a day), listening to radio and music (15-20 minutes to and from work). I use the other item – an iPad – very much in the same way, except when I need to do some additional work such as make notes on my readings or write an email longer than a sentence or two or work on an essay or stuff like that. All of these activities are probably alien to someone (in the way they are carried out) commuting to and from work on the public transport system in the year 2000.

Back then, the external factors are different too. George W Bush was a first term President in a world contemplating energy challenges and peak oil was an emerging concern. Clinton had sealed some important victories in Eastern Europe and pushed middle-east peace process in a promising direction. China was an energetic adolescent fast becoming a virile young man and seeking to rule the roost. John Howard was also riding high and fast becoming quite a figure in world political leadership. With the dotcom bust dust settled, emerging technology entities like Google are promising a second nirvana. Exotic new financial instruments like ABSs and CDOs were starting to promise the rainbow’s end and were making home ownership every American’s dream come true.

I don’t know – can’t recall – what other external factors were there making and shaping thoughts and aspirations then but 10 or so years hence I’m not sure if any or all of these changes have made any difference in man’s perception of his need for God.  If anything, I get a sense that we are nearer than ever to a Babel incident and man seems to think we’re doing ok and we’ll plot our own route and end, without any regard for our Creator.

We ought to engage the world – especially the youth – at a level which is more intense and robust as it has ever been. In many ways, new channels and new methods have come up for the gospel to be communicated in new, refreshing and more effective ways than ever before. The platform to present a cogent, orthodox and biblically true gospel is there and we need to provide the content and widen the reach in these media.  The immutability of God – He is the same yesterday, today and forever – should mean the modern mobile man can come to know the God incarnate of first century Palestine and who remains the God who loves just as much today.