America is in a deep spiritual crisis, like never before. The threat really isn't terrorism. It's something a lot more devastating--the spread of technology and the Internet.
Internet access is common in high schools and is being introduced to younger children. It's even mandatory in some states, such as Pennsylvania, where the governor has recently said that every high school in the state must have affordable high-speed Internet service within the next 18 months.
This has one aim: to raise a generation of children and young people who are spiritually dull, who live according to logic, who do to not ponder about God's greatness and mystery, and who forget about God.
We are raising a nation capable of any and every atrocity in the end, without raising an eyebrow, because we are spiritually dull. God gave every human being a conscience, which is far superior to the intellect. If the conscience is silenced in us, we are doomed.
Technology is our Achilles heel, which in the end will be worse than any weapon of mass destruction. It will destroy us from within. This frightening trend can only be reversed if more and more citizens listen to their consciences and say, "Enough is enough." Technology puts the "I" in the center and ignores the fact that life is only worth living if "I" depend on my neighbor.
The classics were once an integral part of education. Just about every student read writers such as Aristotle, Novalis, Shakespeare and Dickens. Now, in schools in which every child has access to a computer, children are not even being taught the basic skills of life, such as how to express their thoughts and feelings in writing.
The website "MySpace" alone receives more hits than Google and AOL together. It has 90 billion visitors and about 4l million young users. On the outside it looks beautiful. It supplies anything children should want, giving them the false illusion that they are having community and fellowship with others all over the globe. Yet it does nothing but isolate children and put them emotionally out of touch with reality.
We are infatuated with the ability the Internet gives us. To be able to obtain everything that is available with the click of the mouse gives us power and makes us feel invincible. We also feel that the Internet is the solution to all of our emotional and spiritual problems. For every emotional disorder there is a self-help website or a group blog.
In 1843, Karl Marx said "religion is the opium of the people." Today the Internet is the drug that cures all ills. But we forget too quickly the old saying that "not everything that glitters is gold." The Internet has become our god, our idol, which we now worship instead of God. Yet we have never been lonelier or more isolated from other human beings.
What use is it to have all the possessions the world offers right in my living room if it separates me from other people? The essence of community is being systematically destroyed. If in any culture the minds and hearts of the children and youth have been captured, the war is already won. We are succumbing to the same temptation that Satan put before Jesus: Worship me, and the whole world and its glory will be yours. It is this temptation that Jesus rejected by pointing Satan to the Scriptures.
The greatest challenge of education, the greatest challenge to parents and teachers, is not to teach our children reading, writing and arithmetic, which are important, but to see that they do not become spiritually dull.
We forget to cry out to God for help like the children of Israel did when everything went wrong. If our nation doesn't cry out to God, we are doomed. We don't need to worry about any terrorist organizations. We are destroying ourselves.
But there is hope in the childlike trust Jesus points Nicodemus to in the Gospel of John: There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust Him to save them. And Nicodemus was, after all, a very learned Pharisee.
Johann Christoph Arnold
February 25, 2006