The internet is a large global network of computers which provides standardized facilities for storing and exchanging digital information. The internet dates back to 1960s, where it was a research project sponsored by the US Military. It gained prominence in the last decade of the twentieth century, by which time the commercial world had seen its potential for business. Today, the internet is an indispensable part of the world’s communication infrastructure and we sometimes wonder how we ever lived without it.
The wisdom of the internet, like every technology before it, comes from God, regardless of whatever anyone would say. The inventors of Google came up with an idea of a search engine because they wanted to make research easy. Over 70% of internet users first type the word Google in their browser before going to any other site to undertake a search. Nowadays, we have Google Plus, Google Mail, Google Map, Picasa and many other useful applications from Google. All these are made possible by the power of the internet. Google is a typical organization that used the internet as a force for good.
My last article was on combating phishing on the internet (check the Molecule Menu) and I had promised to continue from where we stopped, but I had this strong burden to write on the use of the internet as a force for good.
The internet has grown to be the most important innovation on earth. It is a major driver to over 90% of societal interactions. Technological growth revolves around it. Devices are designed, software is developed and ideas are powered via the internet.
The influence of the internet is seen everywhere; government, politics, hospitality, health, agriculture, education and even sports. Companies like Apple and Samsung, every now and then design and craft new devices and products that will make the internet more recreational and functional. The banking industry globally depends on the backbone of the internet. Some years back, I could not do a transaction from my location, but with the growth of info-technology powered by the internet, I can conveniently make payments from the comfort of my location, buy products from Konga and they get delivered to my door. With Google Map, I can travel to any part of the world and not get lost. I can make reservations, pay and get a cab ready to pick me up from the airport before reaching my destination; all online. With the internet at my fingertips, almost all facets of the logistics about my trip and lots more is sorted out before I even think of stepping out of my door. In fact, one of my degrees from the University of Oxford was made possible by the internet; via long distance education. This is the internet making things work out for me.
The internet has been confirmed to be a great enabler of anything you would want to do. The worst crime has been known to be perpetrated with ease by the power of the internet. Everything with an advantage also has its disadvantages. With the growth of the internet, organized crime today has taken an alarming turn; from ATM fraud to email scams. The banks constantly warns their customers to protect their Personal Identification Number (PIN). There was an instance in Nigeria where the sum of 2 Million Naira (equivalent of USD 8,000) was stolen from an ATM in the space of few minutes. The internet can build in seconds and can also tear down in milliseconds. It is a force at work that cannot be seen or touched, yet its importance cannot be overemphasized.
The Federal Government of Nigeria is imbibing the cashless policy. This is made possible because of the internet, but then ignorance and lack of sufficient knowledge of what you are using could destroy your life financially in seconds. Furthermore, stories have been told on how the privacy of citizens could be infiltrated, especially with the growth of the social media. It is no news that government is also very cable of good and evil and could use the internet for either purpose. The internet has so grown that it is also a threat to itself, but then, can we now really do without the internet? The internet according to Szasz-Fabian of Shutterstock, is only a tool that can be used for good or evil but then only selected individual seek to use the internet for evil. In other words, most technologies and inventions are neutral, and their use or employment is what determines whether they are good or evil. What we should have at the back of our minds at the end of this article is that the internet is such a great good tool at our fingertips.
In conclusion, imagine the world without the e-mail, Twitter, Youtube, Google Map, Facebook, and the world in 1985 when we had to travel to another city to make cash withdraws and back. The internet has brought people together, communities, businesses, and even governments. It has also facilitated democracy and freedom. To this end, God has poured out his kindness by giving us every kind of wisdom and insight we need, including the internet. However, for a Christian, in what special ways can the internet facilitate and boost our faith?
Firstly, as a Christian, you may like to read different editions of the Bible and a selection of good commentaries. If you have an internet connection, then you may save yourself the expenses of buying these different editions of the Bible and commentaries, as with a click of your mouse, you can easily refer to them on-line. Furthermore, you may choose to listen to recordings of hymns and Bible teaching meetings, download Christian videos from Youtube, search for children’s resources, or discover the latest news about missionaries. All can be easily obtained through the internet.
Secondly, the internet is a very good medium of evangelism, to reach lost souls. The internet is useful for churches in communicating with people in search of the truth and God. Unbelievers are often not interested in visiting Christian websites, but churches can still meet them by going to their web turf, or the sites they often browse. Churches should not isolate themselves to their own websites. Rather, the church should take a proactive role in online traffic and develop initiatives on various platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and hi5, etc, to reach the lost. The internet is a huge global “sea” for men fishing for the Lord, including those countries hostile to Christianity. Churches need to be technologically shrewd and create websites that can be found through popular search engines such as Google, as well as create an online presence on growingly popular social networking sites.
Thirdly, the internet can be used to develop healthy and godly virtual fellowships with other believers in Christ. Christians can initiate social networks where the Bible and our faith is the central theme of discussion, rather than mundane things that have no benefit. Testimonies, audio and video files of godly interest shared can be shared online.
The internet is a valuable resource. Christians should use it with caution and discipline. However, it must not replace conventional Bible study, fellowships, and church attendance, but it should rather be a helpful source of aid and encouragement. Let’s truly use the internet as a force for good and make our world a better place.