The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

He who has eyes to see let him hear

The printing press ushered in a revolution in how we communicate. It made exchanging ideas more a matter of sight (reading) and less a matter of sound (listening). It traded an ear for an eye. Has this handicapped the spoken word as a means for transmitting ideas? It's not that before the printing press we never used our eyes to gather information. It's that the ratios between seeing and hearing changed. With the change, we recalibrate for a new equilibrium.

So then, is this the reason our creative writing professors teach us, "Show, don't tell." Is this why an explanation hits an impasse when we say, "I'm not sure. I'd have to see it to understand what you mean"? Are we unable to listen and understand, or perhap unable to say what we mean?

So then, is the sermon an antiquated means for delivering the Gospel? Sure, we have the capacity to hear, but do we have the brains cultivated to listen and understand? If hearing the Word of God is a blessing, but we’ve handicapped the sense of hearing because we are all eyes, what does that mean for God’s Word? If faith comes by hearing the Word of God, what does a new calibration mean for our faith?

With sight extended beyond hearing, have we stunted our faith? After all, Jesus' said, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." But we say, "I don't know. I'd have to see it first." So then, even while the printing press made the Bible available for all to read, it also shaped our brains by emphasizing sight over hearing, reading over listening. It became a personal activity instead of a communal one. How has this new calibration shaped our faith? Has it bolstered our faith? Has it impeded it?