I spent gobs of time sitting in airports recently. If you can believe it, I made it through a security line at Atlanta Hartsfield within 15 minutes. I think that’s a new record for me.
Trying to kill time in an airport can be taxing, so I decided to peruse a noticeably thin copy of The Wall Street Journal. The headlines were what you would expect in just about any newspaper today. Nearly every story had to do with money, sex and/or power.
Then I noticed an incredible, half-page advertisement sponsored by an economic development organization called Enterprise Florida. The headline of the ad read: “The Future of Everything: Erasing the Line Between Human and Machine.” An especially thought-provoking line from the ad says, “The future of the mind, from mental health to cognition, is a fusion of mind and machine.”
I hope such an ad would get your theological mind spinning as it did mine. Are we really moving toward a time when the future of business and daily life consists of the fusion between people and machines? And if so, what does this mean for the church?
I don’t know about you, but I really have no interest in becoming a cyborg pastor, although the thought is a rather unique one to consider. It seems with all of our technological progress, many still seek eternal life without Jesus Christ. Permanent and perfect transformation comes through Christ and Christ alone.
Let’s be reminded of the Apostle Paul’s great admonishment to us in Romans 12: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
It also may be of great interest to know fine ethical minds among Texas Baptists already are considering this nearly front-page contemporary issue. Jeph Holloway, professor at East Texas Baptist University, presented some highly valuable lectures regarding this topic at the annual T.B. Maston Christian Ethics Lectures at Logsdon Seminary. To see the lectures on YouTube, click here.
Please take a few moments to think deeply about the rise of man-machine, for this issue is one that will impact us and our churches significantly in the next decade.
James Hassell is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in San Angelo, Texas.