The iPad, or what some called the “Jesus Tablet”

Daniel Lyons, in his technology column in Newsweek (“In iPad We Trust: Why Apple's tablet isn't the second coming—yet.” Feb 8, 2010), offered a very interesting take on what Apple’s iPad means to us in today’s American techno-culture. He laments why Steve Jobs’ new gizmo was such a let-down.
“What's wrong, or at least interesting, is why some of us expected so much more from a new gadget. I suspect this is because for some people, myself included, technology has become a kind of religion. We may not believe in God anymore, but we still need mystery and wonder. We need the magic act. Five centuries ago Spanish missionaries put shiny mirrors in churches to dazzle the Incas and draw them to Christianity. We, too, want to be dazzled by shiny new objects. Our iPhones not only play music and make phone calls, but they also have become totemic objects, imbued with techno-voodoo. Maybe that sounds nuts, but before the iPad was announced, people were calling it the ‘Jesus tablet.’”

I think I’d have to agree with this. I see this not only in those who “may not believe in God anymore,” but also in believers as well. We have all bought into a religiously-imbued eschatology that says that the latest gadget may be the great coming of rapturous bliss. Interesting, isn't it, that the title of Lyon’s article places the iPad in the same sentence as the parousia.

Lyons gets even deeper in his analysis:
“Our love affair with technology is also about a quest for control. We're living in an age of change and upheaval. There's an overwhelming sense of powerlessness. But technology gives us the illusion of control, a sense of order. Pick up a smart phone and you have a reliable, dependable device that does whatever you tell it to do. You certainly can't say that about your colleagues or families.”


A Messiah that you do not submit to as Lord, but rather a messianic gadget that submits to you as its Lord. Isn’t that exactly what we want in our culture?

Rubs against what we, as Christians should actually want:
“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)

1 comment:

Bob Robinson said...

I'm a proud owner of an iPhone, so I have to wonder what this has to say to me, as well.