Each advancement in technology comes with a flurry of media coverage. Millions of people wait in line for the release of the newest electronic devices and praise it’s glory. Worldwide, it appears that people revere new iPhones, iPads, Kindles, and Macbooks with more fervor than the return of the messiah.
People’s reactions to the release of a new device and their responses to failures in technology, like a website crash, suggests that people revere technology to a degree bordering on idolatry. Overall, our faith in technology is astonishing. When technology works, we praise it. When technology fails us, we panic.
When Jack Cooksey, the first man to buy an iPhone 6 in Perth, Australia, dropped his phone live on television, the resulting uproar was so immense he became an overnight Internet sensation. As comical as the story was, the vast amount of publicity illustrates how sacred the new iPhone 6 was to the world when it first came out. Dropping the iPhone that day was like dropping the Host in early 19th century Ireland: with the possible exception of the consequent “burn in hell” part.
People hold iPhones in high regard for their numerous applications and efficiency. Customers willingly pay anywhere between $200 and $850 depending on what type of plan they buy. People are quick to flock to the newest sign of dependability. According to a September 26th article in Forbes, Apple has already sold ten million iPhones between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus since it was released in stores September 19th.
While electronic sales have soared over the past few decades, church attendance and religious affiliation have steadily declined. According to a census on pewforums.org, atheism and agnosticism are increasing in the United States and are especially popular among those between the ages of 18 and 29. As science and technology have become more advanced, some people have lost faith in the religious traditions they once practiced. Instead of looking to God for guidance, they look to their smartphones. A church may have a vague answer about how to treat one's neighbor, but your iPhone’s Safari app has the answer to everything else.
Even with all of its reliability and “Godlike” abilities, technology can fail. Websites crash if too many people log in at once, and if too much energy is being used in a given area then the area is overloaded and a power outage occurs. In an age where people depend on technology for every aspect of their lives, a power outage can result in the death of those on life support in a hospital or the meltdown of a nuclear reactor.
People worship technological advancements as they once did the words of the Bible, but what happens when it abandons us? The newest religion is no different from those before it. It, too, does not have all the answers we want it to have.