Essential Theological Video and Audio

Video:

Lex Meyer – Media Messing with Your Mind

The Bible Project – Word Study: Yakhal – “Hope”

Audio:

Tony Reinke – Don’t Be Dumb with Your Smartphone

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Dan Wooster – Artificial Intelligence: Better Than Human?

Modern advances in computers have taken artificial intelligence to stunning new levels. If computers can learn and think better than we can, will that threaten our humanity?

I still remember the day as a 10-year-old boy that I got my first calculator—with memory. I’ve loved computers ever since, creating things using logic. The very first program I created allowed me to play baseball against the computer. While the interface was pretty simple, it helped me understand how well machines follow exact instructions. How times have changed.

Back then we were inspired watching Rosie the Robot on The Jetsons and dreamed of computers that could one day do menial tasks like vacuuming the floor. With modern advances in computer power, algorithms, and innovative programming that imitates the nonlinear human brain, artificial intelligence (AI) has hit a whole new level.

To continue reading Dan Wooster’s article, click here.

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Tony Reinke – Should Teens Own Smartphones?

When Silicon Valley’s 20-something techno-prodigies were awing the world with new, shiny, unveilings of iPods and then iPhones and then iPads, many of the inventors didn’t have kids. Few had teens. Now, most of them have kids, and many have teens — teenagers addicted to gadgets their parents birthed into the world years ago.

This is the story of Tony Fadell, a former Senior VP at Apple, known as the grandfather of the iPod, and a key player on the early design team for the iPhone. On the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone in an interview, he made this admission: “I wake up in cold sweats every so often thinking, what did we bring to the world?”

Fadell, a father of three, has come to see the addictive power of the iPhone, an addiction that cannot be removed. “I know what happens when I take technology away from my kids. They literally feel like you’re tearing a piece of their person away from them — they get emotional about it, very emotional. They go through withdrawal for two to three days.”

“This self-absorbing culture is starting to [really stink],” Fadell said. “Parents didn’t know what to do. They didn’t know this was a thing they needed to teach because we didn’t know for ourselves. We all kind of got absorbed in it.”

Yes — we all got absorbed — techies and teens and parents. All of us. And now we’re trying to figure out how to wisely manage our devices.

To continue reading Tony Reinke’s article, click here.

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Brandon Smith – Writing Is a Terrible God

I heard a friend say recently, “I’m a writer. I would write even if no one read it.”

Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I had dreams of writing fiction novels, and then later in life, I hoped for a career as a sportswriter. For a few years, I even considered a career as an English professor. I now write Christian books, articles, blogs, and other public forms of writing. I don’t know if I totally agree with my friend — I enjoy the audience interaction and the craft of writing for someone — but certainly being a writer is part of who I am. I’ve been wired this way for as long as I can remember.

As with any passion, writing can become an idol. At times, I feel like I’m worthless if I haven’t written something—anything—for few days. I recently deleted my social media accounts, and my flesh told me that my writing career would be over because of it. I struggled initially with paralyzing fear that I’d never publish another word. Or at least that no one would ever read another word.

I am prone to allow writing to become my god. And it’s a terrible god.

To continue reading Brandon Smith’s post, click here.

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Nick Batzig – Game of Dethroning Sexual Sin

Yesterday, Kevin DeYoung kicked the proverbial hornet’s nest when he wrote a post titled, “I Don’t Understand Christians Watching Game of Thrones.” That post was swiftly met with a tirade of social media attacks, such as, “The Bible has many, many more violent and lewd scenes than Game of Thrones…know your Bible, Kevin,” “[you] shouldn’t expect consciences to be the same” and “Bad idea denouncing what you have no experience with…” Honestly, it was painful to read through the emotionally charged, biblically weak and grammatically poor responses to DeYoung’s encouragement for professing believers to pursue holiness in regard to what we set before our eyes on television.

Before saying anything else, I want to confess that, over the years, I have watched television shows and movies that I ought not to have watched–entertainment that I did not watch to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). While I have not watched Game of Thrones, I have watched a litany of other shows that are subject to similar criticisms as those raised by Piper and DeYoung. Those which I have watched have had enough sexual content and innuendos in them to fall into a category similar to that of Game of Thrones. While I have fast forwarded through as many of those scenes as I could whenever they appeared, I now confess that I should not have watched the show in the first place. I am no more like Christ and no more fruitful in the work of His Kingdom for having watched them. I have asked the Lord to forgive me for having watched things that I shouldn’t have watched and that I did not watch to His glory. I say this to confess my own sinfulness at the outset.

To continue reading Nick Batzig’s article, click here.

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Garrett Higbee – Counseling Parents about Smart Rules for Smartphones (And All Social Media)

Smartphones are everywhere and it is common to see very young kids playing on a tablet or to see older kids texting at every intersection. As counselors or parents, how do we navigate the inevitable conversations, develop reasonable rules, and lay down age-appropriate guidelines regarding smartphones? I hope to lay out some ways you can help those you counsel be smart about smartphones and other social media.

The use of tablets, the internet, and social media in general is an important topic for any parent. My wife Tammy and I have three kids: 17, 15, and 9 years old. We have been thinking through this for several years. We have made mistakes and found greater success as we adjusted our approach based on biblical principles through trial and error.

To continue reading Garrett Higbee’s article, click here.

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Tony Reinke – Can Technology Delete Death?

Few prophets of the technological revolution are more respected than Ray Kurzweil, and his answer is Yes. One day, soon enough, science will deliver us from physical death, from the awful reality of mortality, and from the snubbing out of our conscious existence on earth.

Human evolution now demands such steps, Kurzweil says. “Our bodies are governed by obsolete genetic programs that evolved in a bygone era, so we need to overcome our genetic heritage” (The Singularity, 371). The idea of transhumanism is that we can evade our biological bodies — like a man fleeing out the top hatch of a damaged submarine, or maybe more like a thumb-drive escaping the top hatch of a damaged submarine.

To continue reading Tony Reinke’s article, click here.

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Trevin Wax – Before the Throne of Social ‘Likes’

Four friends of mine have recently deleted their social media accounts. No more Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. They’re done. Of course, they continue to read and write blogs, answer email, and engage online here and there. But they’ve come to believe their use of social media hinders their spiritual growth.

Whenever someone tells me they’re cutting out social media for spiritual reasons, I applaud. The cultivation of personal virtue matters far more than the cultivation of a public platform.

Still, we recognize that the people leaving the world of social media are far fewer in number than the people joining every week. Our generation and the next will be increasingly formed — for good or for ill — by this constant connectivity.

To continue reading the rest of Trevin Wax’s article, click here.

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J. A. Medders – Seven Promises to Pray Against Porn

There is hope. Right now. Since you are reading this, chances are you are looking for supernatural help and power over porn.

But I also know the odds are high that you are hobbled by doubt-inducing shame. I know because I’ve been there. The swell of temptation — the clicks, the views, the web-history cleaning — and the shame, disgust, confession, resolve, and the backsliding are all old bullies of mine.

They can be your old enemies, too. How? Even in the midst of shame, don’t be ashamed of the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16).

To read the rest of J. A. Medders’ post, click here.

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