You all have felt it. It was just a matter of time. Years of surfing the internet has finally caught up with us. Yes, I am talking about the effect of spending massive, cumulative amounts of time online on our brains.
For me, I can think back into the 1990s at some point when the web enticed me into its massive reserve of available information. I had been a library junkie all my life, leafing through pages of information about places and things I enjoy for long periods of time between the stacks. Now thanks to the internet, I could search volumes of information with mere clicks. Pretty soon I got to be very good at this and could ramble through web page after web page without processing anything but key words from the pages. Now, I must confess, these days the web has become the conduit for lots of the information that flows into my mind.
I found a concern over this online information processing in a recent article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr, in the current issue of The Atlantic. Carr says that his past decade on the computer rendered him unable to concentrate, that perhaps the neural circuitry of his brain is remapped and his memory reprogrammed. Further, Carr says he used to be able to immerse himself in books and long articles, relishing the narratives of these talented authors; however, today he becomes fidgety and cannot endure any extended amounts of time reading. Huge amounts of research can be done in little time, a boon for writers like Carr, but this form of “power browsing” mimics a form of skimming, i.e., hopping from one source to another source and retaining only small snatches of information.
This may have implications for future generations of Christ followers. Young believers, and some not-so-young believers, today spend huge amounts of time plugged into something, whether it be the internet, cellphones, blue-tooth devices, all making some folks look like human cyborgs. Even text messaging is a hybrid, cyborg-ic form of communication with its short, pithy remarks and lack of care over spelling and form. Our imaginations can run with this stuff and cause us to worry over the technological advances that supposedly have made our lives easier and more advanced. The web has woven something, and I think it is our brains. There may be an appearance of wisdom, but something is lacking.
Is there any wonder that fewer today are reading their Bibles? (Check out the Barna polls). We know that God’s Word is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16), but how can it be if we are unable to meditate on it, dwell in it, and talk about it coherently. Have we been reduced to a mish-mash of gray matter that cannot process even one book of the Bible without losing focus? It is time to counter this trend and return to the tried and true methods of observation, interpretation, and application of God’s Word so that our faith, which is more precious than gold, will be refined and be our one constant in a day of rapid change. God’s Word is a lamp for our feet, and a light for our path—it is not merely a hyperlink to heaven in this cyber age. We may be just one step away from the New Revised Google Version of the Bible.
- Why Read The Bible? Bonus message: “It’s How We Abide In Christ” (christlikeministriesnwa.wordpress.com)
- Warren: Scripture twisting, eisegesis and allegorization (steakandabible.com)
- Information Overload (cosmicrevolutions.wordpress.com)