Computer Sins

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Someone asked me, “How will this be a biblical sermon since “computer” isn’t mentioned in the Bible? This issue is not computers, the issue is what we do with computers! The big thing today is computer dating. If you don’t know how to run a computer, it really dates you. In the office it has been interesting watching the staff get used to the new computers, without pulling their hair out.

For all those born before 1945 – consider the changes you have witnessed… You were born before television, before penicillin, before polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, plastic, contact lenses, frisbees and the PILL. You were before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ball-point pens, before pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip-dry clothes — and before man walked on the moon. You got married first and then lived together. In your time, closets were for clothes, not for “coming out of.” You were before house-husbands, gay rights, computer dating, dual careers and commuter marriages. For you, time-sharing meant togetherness — not computers or condominiums; a “chip” meant a piece of wood, hardware meant hardware, and software wasn’t even a word. GRASS was mowed, COKE was a cold drink, and POT was something you cooked in.

The point of all of this is that sin hasn’t changed, sin is sin, but temptation has increased. I think it says something that the only form of life that we have created so far is purely destructive. Talk about creating life in our own image. Stephen W. Hawking telling a computer convention that computer viruses represent the only life form wholly created by humans.

Herod had arrested John the Baptist and bound him and put him in prison. John was preaching mainly out in the wilderness or desert. It was a simple message of repent and be baptized. But one of the important things that we rarely knew about John was that he often came into the large cities and preached the truth. Herod and Herodias were living together and they were not married. We think what is taking place in the White House is new to society. But in Jesus’ day, it was also happening in the palace. Like the White House, the palace, where Herod lived, was a very public place that most Jews knew what was happening. John was saying in public, “It is not lawful for you Herod to have her.” Herodias was not only not Herod’s wife, she was married to Herod’s brother Philip. Herodias was his sister-in-law and he was her uncle. Herodias was the granddaughter of Herod The Great.

Salome, the daughter of Herodias and Philip, danced a very erotic dance for her great uncle Herod. It was not uncommon to be married in your mid teens, so Salome was probably in her early teens, when she danced. Herod, an old man, was filled with lust and offered her half of his kingdom. Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet. A Jewish person was bound by their oath. If he broke his word, he lost his honor.

Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me, here on a platter, the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. One sin begets many sins.

Sin hasn’t changed a lot in 2,000 years! With technology we haven’t changed sin, but we have increased the opportunity for sin. The first computer at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946 was impressive in size. It occupied a space as large as a boxcar and weighed 30 tons. It had 40 units, each housed in a 9ft. high black metal cabinet. It had 18,000 vacuum tubes which created so much heat that industrial fans were needed to keep its circuitry from melting. Its first assignment involved a million cards for a top-secret numerical simulation of the still-untested hydrogen bomb. In the 40 years since, technology has produced a superior performance from only a quarter-inch silicon chip. From 30 tons to a quarter-inch in 40 years!

But where is our progress morally, spiritually, in compassion? I am finding a great problem arising with the proliferation of computers. Computers have made our lives easier and have even enhanced the quality of our lives. But just as they have brought good they have widened the door of temptation.

In the last few years I have seen a great increase in the number of people who are becoming addicted to computers. They spend hours on the computer and we are not talking work related. Surfing the Internet: There is nothing wrong with surfing the internet. But it is just like an endless TV commercial. I like a little show or movie mixed in with my commercials. Some truly are interested in fact finding, but others, it is control. It is like the man with the channel changer, who is in control? There has been a great rise in porn on the web because it is profitable. In the privacy of their homes people can enter an adult situation. It is no longer a public thing, to be seen going into an adult book store. It is even cheaper buying things electronically than in hard copy. The issue is anonymity! Anonymity is only an illusion! The Bible says, Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. One of the things that is beneficial about computers is the ability to communicate with people all over the world, fast and cheap. But for many lonely people or people who’s marriages are wounded, it can be a trap. Chat rooms off a place to find affection and address the loneliness. The problem is that nothing replaces flesh to flesh and nothing replaces true intimacy.

Do we throw our computers out? Jesus said, What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.'” The sin is not found in the computer, but what we do with the computer. All of life calls for us to live morally and responsibly.

At age 54, the Silicon Valley computer software engineer says that he has finally found what he was searching for during the ’60s. “I was always on a quest. I tried everything. I was a Jew, I studied the Sikh religion in India, and I entered a Hindu monastery. And, of course, I tried taking lots of drugs. None of it worked.” He joined Wavy Gravy’s traveling Hog Farm commune. Foster married his wife, Laura, in a memorable ceremony performed by Wavy in New Mexico. The groom wore ice skates, and to seal their vows the happy couple exchanged pork chops. When the Hog Farmers were hired to set up and manage security and facilities at the Woodstock festival, Foster was there. Now married for 22 years, he has three children and is an elder and youth counselor in his church. “The kids of that time were unhappy with what their parents had given them and they wanted something more,” he says. “I found that something more in my faith in Christ.”

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