by Paul Mooney
Reality lies in the heart. Our destinies are shaped and determined from the heart, all of the issues we face are settled from within the heart, and who we are is revealed by our hearts. These verities lead us to perhaps the Bible’s most profound warning: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
There is likely no greater illustration of this dichotomy than the story of David. David was inexperienced, armed with a mere slingshot, yet he was nevertheless God’s choice to defeat the Philistines. God’s instruction to Saul was based on what he knew of David. David was focused on fulfilling the will of God. Therefore, he was God’s choice, for one obvious reason–God knew his heart.
Hearts that love the cause, hearts that have marked the consequences of failure are the kind of hearts that would rather die than compromise. Even the most skilled warrior is more likely to give up or sell out if his heart lacks a righteous commitment. He is skilled but he is not prepared to die. The motivation for his effort is altogether different. A committed warrior seeks victory for the sake of something beyond himself. The other warrior is clouded by his own ambition, and often his arrogance.
Eli Pariser is the author of The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web is Changing What We Read and How We Think (Penguin Books, 2011). At first glance, this volume may appear ancient compared to how fast technology is advancing; however, it is not dated. Pariser is a futurist and a major developer and influencer of our times. His foresight and vision regarding the consequences of Internet usage is quite alarming.
The book deals with three basic factors he wants his readers to know about the Internet:
1. You are alone.
“You are alone. You are very alone.” In fact, Pariser says, “It’s a centrifugal force pulling us apart, into a bubble.” We are uniquely identified.
2. The bubble is invisible.
The Internet doesn’t tell you who you are or who they think you are. It uses search engines and elaborate algorithms to make broad assumptions about who you are and how you behave, what you purchase, how you think and even how you vote. But, is how they have defined you and their assumptions about you right or wrong? “It’s easy to imagine that the information that comes through a filter bubble is unbiased, objective, true. But it’s not. In fact, from within the bubble, it’s nearly impossible to see how biased it is” (Pariser, 2011)
3. You don’t choose to enter the bubble.
“You don’t choose to enter the bubble, when you turn on Fox News or read The Nation you are making a decision about what kind of filter to use to make sense of the world. It’s an active process, and like putting on a pair of tinted glasses, you can guess how the editors’ leaning shapes your perception. You don’t make the same kind of choices with personalized filters. They come to you and because they drive up profits for the websites that use them they become harder and harder to avoid” (Pariser, 2011).
We should take notes of Pariser’s warnings. To his point, when we search we are profiled, we are placed in the “bubble” and we expose our hearts, our desires and our wants, and the Internet delivers based on the profile we created.
Societies around the world are acknowledging the powerful and growing force that is taking control of our lives. Computer technology partnered with the Internet has become the dominant enterprise and human tool for work, entertainment, education, and communication, storing our history, photography, commerce, surveillance and military operations. We are turning more and more of our lives over to electronic forces, and we have no idea what the outcome will be. We do know that robotic assistants and other artificial intelligence will soon be flying our aircrafts, driving our vehicles and even operating on our bodies. The outcomes are terrifyingly uncertain at best.
With each concession of our privacy and the acquiescence to our curiosities we are revealing, with or without our knowledge and permission, what we desire, and thereby who we really are. The perceived anonymity of the Internet has caused the most open revelation of the human heart that we have ever seen. We see its capacity for evil, debauchery, hatred and sin. The ugliness of the true self has been unveiled and what is coming to light cannot be ignored.
As a pastor, I am responsible to our congregation, hundreds of children at our K-12 school and of course, Indiana Bible College. My concern everyday is the increasing glamorization of sin and worldliness. There are real souls at stake. There is a demonic battle for the hearts of Apostolic young people. Every hour of every day our kids are hit from people hiding behind video screens, people we don’t even know, attacking holiness and righteousness. Our youth endure snarky putdowns that insult their commitment to holiness, separation from the world and godly living.
We pray for the covering and the protection of this next generation, but the truth is, our young people are warriors who must choose their own motivation for the fight. They must commit their hearts fully to the Truth, to this message, lest they fall in passivity to this modern Goliath (Ephesians 6:13). The Internet and social media’s power is rapidly pulling the weak into bubbles of fleshly ideas and false belief systems that are not of God–any one of which can become embedded into their desires and into their hearts and that’s when and where it gets serious. A weak defense is no defense at all. It will take a full commitment to live out of a righteous heart–these are the issues of life.