Did Alexander Graham Bell ever imagine what he began that day he barked out Mr. Watson come here! and his voice was transmitted through wires to the other end of the first telephone? For years the telephone was simply used for talking over distance (and even that was sometimes problematic and often very expensive). But new technologies like the transistor and integrated circuit ignited a storm of innovation in electronics that birthed the personal computer, the cell phone and the Internet. Now, over phone lines, we can easily shop, read, watch, learn and much, much more. The Internet has had a profound effect on the world. The infographic below illustrates how much of our lives it dominates (source: http://www.onlineschools.org/blog/internet-stats/). Many have likened the seismic shift in society it has brought to Gutenberg’s press an apt comparison but one that speaks to how decisively the Internet has changed everything.
Unfortunately, sinful people quickly discovered the capacity to use this new information technology to deliver sin and temptation to sin. While there is much right about the Internet, there is no question that it makes for a serious challenge to Christians in their daily walk. Again, there is undeniable good on the Internet. Church websites make it easy for visitors to find the meeting house, know time of services, see a map and even read up on what the church is all about. Email and chat provides the opportunity to teach the Gospel to people, responding to their questions and even sending good material to look at off-line in the form of PDF files. Bible research, both in the text, original languages, and even geography and archaeology is only a click away on many fine websites. It is hard to say that the Internet is all bad when you, the reader, are looking at this material online! But with all that good there is much evil.
This special issue of Abundant Life proposes to discuss some threats to the soul found through the Internet. Some of those may be obvious, such as Art Adams plain discussion of Internet porn. Others may be less so (note the Mohler article and what it says about family togetherness) but you will quickly see they bear much thought.
The Internet is here to stay. There is no point in pining for the good ol days (were they even really that good?) when no one could connect online. Instead, Christians need to come face to face with our adversary and how he uses electronic and computer technology to destroy us. The lion of 1 Peter 5:8 comes through the phone lines today are you ready to meet and defeat him?