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BY Matthew Warner
We often associate high-tech gadgets with luxury - with rich people. But that’s because “high-tech” is a relative term usually associated only with the latest and greatest break-through. But in general, advanced technologies actually serve to level the playing field between rich and poor rather than the other way around.
“Computers and Satellites have revolutionized communication in our days. If the Word of God is to be communicated, as God intends it to be, then we cannot ignore what is happening in the new communications technologies. Unfortunately, the technological gap is widening daily between the rich and poor nations. But the good news is that these very technologies are in many ways bridging this gap. Cellular phones and internet are now available even in remote areas without electricity or telephones. The possibilities for the spread of the Word of God are beyond imagining. In many parts of Africa, there are many creative programs and projects for spreading the message of the scriptures beyond the traditional texts and books. There is here a crying need for a world-wide solidarity and sharing of resources.” - The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church: The African story
Of course, the latest and greatest new gadgets and technologies will be reserved for the few that can and want to afford them. But it is the use by those few that eventually pushes yesterday’s technology (which is still very good) into the mainstream at affordable prices for the rest of us to take up. And on down the spectrum it goes.
And with each iteration (all else being equal) the relative technological capabilities between the rich and poor inch closer together. Maybe that’s because our technology for advancing technology is becoming more advanced, too. But either way it is happening.
The “Blog” is a good example. It used to be that if you wanted to have a published voice that could reach thousands of people in your geographical region, you had to have some serious resources - including a printing press, a distribution infrastructure and be well known enough for somebody else to want to spend money to acquire your publication. In other words, you had to be rich. By contrast, today almost everyone (at least in the developed world) has the tools available to have a published voice that could reach hundreds of millions of people instantly and anywhere in the world - all for almost free. A rich person might have a slight advantage in doing so, but not much. The gap has narrowed.
Education is another good example in history. It used to be that only the elite and wealthy got an education. Over time, the availability of cheap books and other resources have contributed a lot to making education available to almost everyone. And now, with the internet at our fingertips, we can pull up endless amounts of expert information on virtually any topic in the world. And it doesn’t matter how much money you have. Google returns the same results whether you are rich or poor.
We still have a long way to go, but we are inching closer to similar parity all over the world and across all demographics. But that is not the most important point, anyway.
Whether or not we always have a monetary or technological gap between rich and poor is a separate issue - and a much less important one. The most important gap to narrow is the one between truth and error. Between love and isolation. Between God and man. Jesus did his part. Now we must do ours.
Technology will help. And due to its increasingly widespread availability to everyone, “the possibilities for the spread of the Word of God are beyond imagining.” That’s pretty exciting if you think about it.
Start imagining people. And let’s go do it. So many great things ahead.