Is Technology Good or Evil?

The other day I heard a frustrated ministry leader say (in a message online) that the internet was just inhabited by “a bunch of vipers.”

The implication being made, it seemed to me, was that this technology existed primarily for evil, to be used only by snakes. (Of course I couldn’t help but wonder, was he including himself in that assessment, since he was currently making use of it?)

Clearly, many applications of technology (ie, applied sciences) are being used for great good – even allowing you to read this. The internet has expanded the dissemination of helpful information in marvelous ways, such as when valuable medical information is shared across great distances at almost lightning speed, helping doctors administer life-saving cures.

And yet, we can also acknowledge that certain technologies have also brought harm – some intended, some not – as when a biological weapon is devised, or a new product causes cancer, etc. Examples of this can be multiplied and discussed at length in a broken world.

So what should we believe? Should we view inventions like the internet as inherently evil? Or could it be a gift, to be used with wisdom and to the glory of God?

I submit that like the wine at the wedding of Cana (see John 2), technology can be a wonderful means to aid goodness and celebration – such as when the internet connects military families and strangers across the globe. We also know that the choice can be made to lose oneself in drunkenness – even as we might seek to “lose ourselves” in a virtual world or attack others on social media.

And that’s always the difference. Technology doesn’t automatically produce evil; it’s the purpose, desire, and intention that we connect to it that matters. As with wine or food, or our money, it’s ultimately an issue of the heart, as Jesus made clear: 

“What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them… Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matthew 15:11-19

If the heart is the source – and not physical, inanimate things – then it’s how we use technology tools (driven by our heart’s intention) that is the real issue. 

To be sure, we must use care in deciding what we put online, but we can thank God for the technology – just as we can for the printing press (new technology at one time) which helped facilitate the Reformation.


Keep the Focus in the Right Place

Our point is that while we do our best to use technology for purposes that aid human flourishing, we must be careful not to lapse into a misguided dualism that portrays matter as evil and the spirit as good, or moralistic assessments that miss the heart (and makes us look anti-science and silly to a watching world). Keeping the focus on grace and the heart – which is ultimately healed only in the work of Jesus – is what matters.

All this to say, your website is but a tool, a neutral instrument of communication in and of itself. It can help you communicate life-saving good news to people in your own city, planting seeds and touching hearts with the reality of a gracious God in Jesus – or it can obscure the clarity of the gospel.

To be sure, we must use care in deciding what we put online, but we can thank God for the technology – just as we can for the printing press (new technology at one time) which helped facilitate the Reformation.

Prayer for the Message, Means, and the Recipient

Do you spend time asking him to shape not only what you speak (that it would be grace-centered, seasoned with salt) but how you communicate  – that it would avoid the current pitfalls and limitations of online communication? Do you pray for those who will read your blog or listen to your podcast (as I am reminded to now), that they would be edified and not torn down? 

You might never meet the person who clicks on your site, but it’s encouraging to know that our Father knows where they are – and that’s what matters most:   

“…he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods [their exact times] and the boundaries of their dwelling place [their exact places].” Acts 17:26

Remember, He knows who they are, and that your loving use of technology as a means to reach them can make a difference! Technology can build connections, or tear them down. Let us pray that we will be builders, adding “spiritual stones” to the household of God: 

“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,

a chosen and precious cornerstone,

and the one who trusts in him

will never be put to shame.” 1 Pet.2 




How’s your Front Door?

Prior to the pandemic, one pastor suggested that “not having a church website is like not having a front door to your church building. And it’s hard to welcome people to worship if you don’t have a way in.” 

A bit of hyperbole maybe – but not much. We’ve all seen how the pandemic has opened the  “virtual door” even wider: Zoom meetings and links to live streams on church sites have become commonplace, making websites all the more relevant – not less.

For those who still think that practical, appealing websites can be an afterthought – something only for the young or “techy” crowd – think about it this way: imagine your potential visitor is an untrusting, unchurched, resistant skeptic who is immersed in social media and listens regularly to podcasts to help shape their worldview. (Statistically, 56 percent of people aged 12 to 34 years old have listened to a podcast in the last month).

If they are inclined to at least take a peek at your church/ministry – maybe even listen to a sermon – they’ll likely do it online, from a “safe place.” After all, that’s what they’re used to.  They shop online, read reviews online, engage in social media online. It makes sense then that,

Most people will search for your ministry’s website before they ever walk in your front door.

Kevin DeYoung points out that we put greeters in the front of the church, have ushers and hospitality centers, and even put up helpful signage to point people in the right direction – so why wouldn’t we do the same with online traffic? 

Putting effort into your website, therefore, is really about being welcoming and hospitable – to adorn the gospel (Titus 2:10) – the same way you’d recognize the culture and customs of someone of a different nationality.

Your Site’s Look and Content

While it’s not a question of trying to be “hip or relevant” with your site content, as Deyoung says,  

“…most people on the web looking for a church will never visit if your site stinks. What makes a church website stink? …. as a new church visitor this summer, I can tell you what smells bad to me:

1. Extremely dated design. You don’t need to be cutting edge with all the latest gizmos. But if you haven’t changed your site in five years, you’re almost certainly aging rather poorly.

2. Getting by on the cheap. Sometimes even newer websites look dated because they were designed by a beloved 55 year old from the congregation with a little web know-how and some time on his hands. Not trying to knock 55-year-olds, but your website will be used primarily by the young, so make sure it doesn’t feel old. 

Again, you don’t need to spend a lot of money, but the difference between $2000 and free will convince you that $2000 was worth it.

3. No information on the staff. Visitors want to know who “runs” the place. Give us pictures. Tell us about your pastor.

4. Basic information is hard to find. You don’t need a lot of information on your site, but you need the most important items clearly marked. Service times, directions, contact information, and a statement of faith are some of the basics.

5. No opportunity to listen to recent sermons. What are you trying to hide?

6. Not enough information on childcare. Parents want to know what is available for their kids and whether they will be lovingly cared for….

7. More and more people get their information from smartphones. Consider building a church app, or at least see what your website looks like on a phone. Make sure the most important information is easy to find on a mobile device.

8. Give some thought to how well the feel of your website matches the feel of your church. If your church is stately and traditional, don’t design your site in all black, with hipster lettering, and a link to Relevant Magazine. 

9. Make the site feel fresh, but not inauthentic. People should be able to look up your church online and then visit in person without wondering if they showed up at the wrong building.”

So what does your “front door” look like? Is it open and accessible to “the stranger” (Heb. 13:2)? Maybe your site needs a refresh, to improve the hospitality appeal of your fellowship for visitors? 

We can help! In addition to affordable hosting, Truepath offers a user-friendly website builder to make the job easier. Choose from custom-made templates, with simple drag-and-drop functionality; add forms, maps, and blogs with our easy plug-ins. 

Call or chat us today to find out more!  

Truepath’s vision is to empower Christian organizations and businesses to take full advantage of their online presence by providing affordable and best-in-class applications and dedicated, live customer support. You can reach us at: (760) 480-8791.