• Foundations of Truth

The Things We Gain and Lose



Romans 8:22-23 says, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”


This “groaning” is the result of our desire to see ourselves and our fallen world reunited with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Where Adam sinned and caused humanity’s relationship with God to be fractured, Jesus lived a sinless life and his death on the cross served as the inauguration of the spiritual reunification process for humanity and the Trinity.


Because of this fallen world, humanity suffers in its separation from God. Part of this suffering is the fruitless striving and yearning that is never satisfied because, for everything we gain, there is something that we lose.


This is true in the economic principle of opportunity cost and is also true of the technologies we are introducing into the world. For every benefit that comes from technology, there is a concomitant downside.


Take computers as a good example. Computers are demonstrated to cause near-sightedness [1] as well as carpal tunnel syndrome [2], not to mention the dangers of leading a sedentary lifestyle [3]. This is one example but there are many, many, more. Why else would there be so many articles like this one from Business Insider titled “9 subtle ways technology is making humanity worse”? [4]


This is further exemplified by the introduction of the latest “revolutionary” technology: the Internal Revenue Services’ move to require taxpayers to use facial recognition technology to pay their taxes. As an article from CNBC explained:


“Starting in summer 2022, if you need to login to the IRS’s website to access the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, get your tax transcript, or view a payment agreement with the agency, you will need to create an account with a third-party identity verification company ID.me.” [5]


This may be a well-intentioned effort to prevent identity theft. It might also be a means of tracking citizens and gaining national data using people’s names and faces. Either way, it is but one more step in the slow process of decimating anonymity and erasing what was once an unappreciated privilege of many societies: the ability to control what other people know about your life.


Privacy is dwindling, and we are no longer able to control access to our own information. Our grades from college stay on our resumes, every traffic ticket or misdemeanor is accessible, people can find old posts on Facebook and LinkedIn decades after they were posted, and now we have to give up just a bit more of our privacy to gain access to our taxes.


This is a far more insidious loss of freedom than anything else.


Let’s go back to taxes for a moment. What if your lawyer needs to access your tax transcripts? What if you need your fiancé to get information for you from your taxes while you’re away from the computer?


This may not seem like much, but it is these little administrative changes that cause the greatest loss of freedom.


Of course, what’s a little less freedom in the name of security?


Actually, quite a lot. As Ben Franklin said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Even if the quote has been taken out of context, the essential meaning is the same. [6]


Everything has a price. Every advancement has a trade-off. This is the nature of the fallen world in which we live. As Christians, we should recognize this fact and push against it.


John 11:26 promises: “whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” In the end, what matters most is that we never trade away our belief in Jesus Christ for anything else.


Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.

 

[1] Julianne Cuba, “Computer Time May Be Causing Kids' Nearsightedness,” WebMD (December 24, 2015), https://www.webmd.com/children/news/20151224/more-computer-time-may-be-causing-nearsightedness-in-us-kids#:~:text=THURSDAY%2C%20Dec.,of%20U.S.%20ophthalmology%20experts%20suggests.

[2] David Zelman, “OA: Protect Your Joints at Work,” WebMD (October 15, 2020), https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/protect-your-joints

[3] “Americans are Sitting More and We Have Computers to Blame,” Wall Street Journal (April 23, 2019), https://www.wsj.com/articles/americans-are-sitting-more-and-we-have-computers-to-blame-11556031601.

[4] Chelsea Greenwood, “9 subtle ways technology is making humanity worse,” Business Insider (August 23, 2019), https://www.businessinsider.com/technology-negative-bad-effects-society-2019-8.

[5] Alicia Adamczyk, “IRS will soon require a selfie to access some of its online tools and applications,” CNBC (January 20, 2022), https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/20/irs-will-soon-require-a-selfie-to-access-some-of-its-online-tools.html.

[6] “Ben Franklin's Famous 'Liberty, Safety' Quote Lost Its Context In The 21st Century,” NPR (March 2, 2015), https://www.npr.org/2015/03/02/390245038/ben-franklins-famous-liberty-safety-quote-lost-its-context-in-21st-century.

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