By Jeremiah Smith
A few days ago I read an article published in the Globe and Mail about The Budget, an Amish weekly newspaper. It’s been in circulation since 1890 and has over 20 000 subscribers from Canada and the United States. The paper recently encountered some controversy as they planned to create an online edition.
In a world where news still travels at a mail carrier’s pace, the farmers, preachers and mechanics responsible for filling The Budget threatened to go on strike if the 119-year-old Amish weekly went ahead with its plan to go online.
Yesterday I read a quote by Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, he said this,
“It is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall flow in inexhaustible streams…Through it, God will spread His Word. A spring of truth shall flow from it: like a new star it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light heretofore unknown to shine amongst men.”
The invention of the printing press revolutionized the world. Even as I write there are 3 books and two Bibles on my desk. It is because of the printing press that the Bible has been taken everywhere in the world. However the same printing press, which can be used to print a Bible, can also be used to print hate literature or pornographic material. For this reason I can understand, and even admire, the Amish separation from the Internet. Certainly the Internet can be used for God and for his Kingdom, but it is also used for every evil purpose as well.
I think Gutenberg had it right though. If we divorce ourselves from technology we avoid it’s evil, but at the same time we lose an opportunity to use it for God. The Church (and Christians) need great wisdom in using the Internet and to be careful that what we intend to change does not in turn change or corrupt us.