Socially Virtually Ethically Correct

As someone who works in technology, I have seen how technological advancement has helped reshaped our society. We have modern medicine today that has saved the lives of a lot of people. Infant mortality rates have significantly declined due to better hospital facilities available to pregnant women. We have aids to enhance our lifestyle and have given opportunities to people who may otherwise have been left in the dark. An example is the use of subtitles in movies, that help people with sight disabilities follow a movie by reading along.

We can speak to our families even if they are thousands of miles away with the aid of the mobile phone. We can see people from miles away with the aid of video calls. We can give our support to a worthy cause even if we have never set foot on the location before with the help of digital currencies and transfer mechanisms. The world we live in today is easier in many ways, enhanced by technology and way smaller than what generations before us knew.

In the same vein these technologies that have improved our lifestyles and opened opportunities have also brought significant pain and misfortune to people when used without ethical standards. Somehow, we have managed to transfer the meanness we see on the streets into the virtual world. With the advent of cyber bullying and identify theft, the life of another human can be forever destroyed with the stroke of a few keys on the key board. In today’s world its so easy to do good as well as evil to anyone anywhere in the world than it was many years back.

As followers of Christ, our standard of living has not changed even if the times have changed. One of the principles of Christian living is to be careful to live your life in a way that edifies others and not in a way that brings others down. I’m sure we all agree on that and if asked we will most likely say 'yes I live a decent life and I don’t hurt others'. Maybe you don’t (at least not intentionally). In your physical life, of course, that’s squeaky clean but let’s take a walk around your virtual life. Let’s imagine someone showed up in your virtual world and asked for a tour of your life online would it still meet God’s standards?

Would you say you apply the same standards in your physical and virtual life? Let’s see. If I asked you, 'would you tell a lie'? Your answer would be 'no I don’t. I am completely honestly'. That’s true but when you post a modified picture of yourself on social media that’s definitely not telling the truth is it? Ha! Ha! very funny. Okay maybe trivial or just a little bit embellishing. What about when you reshare a video of something that happened that is malicious? How have you upheld the standard of being fair and honest? What about that vicious comment you left on a post that surely has no iota of compassion or love?

It’s easy to see our virtual life as separate from our reality when in truth it shouldn’t. While times change, through the bible we see that God’s command of love, mercy, justice and kindness remain the same. As Christians it’s time we hold up that standard. Think again before you post the picture-perfect holiday you just took, when everyone around you is trying to figure out how to pay their house bills. How is that post edifying in any way? How is that post encouraging to your brother next door? I am also guilty of this by the way, we all are.

My charge to you and I today is that we live in this now socially virtual world with a high sense of responsibility not just to yourself but to others. Question every post you make, think about every comment, every tweet, every picture and ask yourself will this lift someone up or will this just satisfy the greed and cruelty of the natural human heart.

Let’s be ethically correct and use the technologies available to us today responsibly--with the heart of christ.

“Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” 1 Corinthians 8:13