Keep in mind that the Church sees technology as a marvelous thing. We are called to see technology as an extension of man, not man an extension of technology. St John Paul II reminds us in his apostolic letter The Rapid Development: “Do not be afraid of new technologies! These rank “among the marvelous things” – inter mirifica – which God has placed at our disposal to discover, to use and to make known the truth, also the truth about our dignity and about our destiny as his children, heirs of his eternal Kingdom.”
It is when we obsess about the ends and are only focused solely on earthly goods, paying no attention to what we do to get there that we do ourselves in. C.S. Lewis in his text The Abolition of Man contends: “It is the magician’s bargain: give up our soul; get power in return. But once our souls, that is, our selves have been given up, the power thus conferred will not belong to us. We shall in fact be the slaves and puppets of that to which we have given our souls.”
How is it that as a culture, we’re up in arms about food companies genetically modifying our foods, but at the same time, we’re ok with the idea of genetically designing babies to our specifications? There’s selfishness that motivates these decisions too. Our bodies, as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), must be treated with great respect. When we say “temples," we tend to think of churches, as places of prayer and worship, but in the ancient world, to St Paul’s listeners, a temple was a place of sacrifice. You go to a temple to make sacrifice. So when Paul speaks of our bodies as temples, it’s a reminder that we’re to be making sacrifice. Sacrifice and love go hand in hand. If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23).
Only God, not technology, can restore our souls, which is that part of you that yearns for meaning and life, and ultimately, for God.
Dr Eugene Gan is faculty associate of the Veritas Center and Professor of Interactive Media, Communications, and Fine Art at Franciscan University of Steubenville in the United States. His book, Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media is grounded in Scripture and magisterial documents, and is a handbook and practical guide for understanding and engaging media in meaningful and healthy ways in daily life.