Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I have had a bit of fun today satirically poking fun at some of the conspiracy theories I've mined from the Internet. But there is a serious side to all this. Though most conspiracies are probably phony, not all are. The most obvious of the real conspiracies we face is the plot of our government to gather information about every aspect of our daily lives. (Is it too strong to call it a plot?)

I will go on, but I first want to say that ninety-nine percent of the people who serve us in the military and public services, like the police, are great patriots whom I would trust my life to. In fact, I do trust my life to them every day. Many are my friends, and I do not mean anything that follows to impugn their character or the service their render to us. It is the system I have little confidence in, not the boots on the ground.

What do I mean then? I mean that we have created in the last few years the technology to spy on ourselves - and apparently have the will to do so - unknown in any society including the paranoid societies of the old Soviet Union and present day China. And we are doing just that. We are doing just that largely without question and are being told it is for our own good.

Here are some of the facts. The NSA is recording our email activity and can at any moment search every email we send or receive. They may not be doing so, but they can. They can also record and search the data records for every phone call we make. Are they doing so? Probably not. That would be mindlesss. But they can. The technology is there. But isn't that information secure? Sure it is; just ask Edward Snowden, though Snowden is the least of our concerns. It appears more and more likely that it is our own government that we need fear because it is our government that has the power.

In addition to that data, our government and private corporations are capable of tracking our every move. The gps chips in our smart phones can be read. We know that. We already use that for good purposes as we track down lost or stolen phones. But the technology is in place to do far more. Is it being used? Yes, some stores track shoppers in their stories to find out where they go and where they stop. The cash registers, of course, track our purchases. Oh yes, we get rewards for allowing the tracking. But the technology is there to do far more. And our credit card use is in data files accessible to the government, if it should wish to have it. And since 9/11 we have laws in place that allow the government that power.

How about not signing up for rewards programs or how about paying with cash instead of credit? Sorry, it won't work. The government has the technology to track us via the security cams scattered around our cities using face-recognition technology. Or the government can follow our movements using cameras that scan the license plates of cars parked in parking lots or parked along the street. And government agencies are using that technology. We are told it is for our good, of course. It will locate stolen cars and track criminals. We may be thankful for that. But the technology can do far more than find criminals.

So what about buying online? Forget about it. Our credit cards are tracked, and even our Internet usage is tracked. Look at the ads on the side bar of your Facebook page or the pop-ups on various sites. Those ads are specifically selected for you based on the record of the sites you've visited. I, for example, check out new cameras now and then. So, on my Facebook page I get ads for cameras and photography courses. And you get ads for the things the Internet site's algorithms determine are your interests. That is all done automatically by the computer, but the technology allows far more.

It may be the Internet knows more about you than you know about yourself. Take time to study the ads that pop up on pages you visit. That is who you are, you know.

Is all this the inevitable result of the technologies that are being developed? Is this invasion something we should just get used to and hope it is relatively benign? History has proven that such confidence in government is dangerous. But isn't our government different? I'll leave you to decide.

My purpose in this blog is not to be inflammatory or cause anxiety. It is also not to endorse fears about black ops helicopters and internment camps. It is simply to point out the obvious - and to relate it to Christian worldview.

Most Christians are aware of the predictions (prophecies) about the end of this age that are found in our Bible. If you are not I recommend reading Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation. (If you are not a Christian, you might think this is all really stupid, akin to the Mayan calendar and the Y2K scare, but still it might be worth

considering.) At no time in history have these things seemed more realistically possible than right now. Understand, I have never been prone to prophecy scares. I think they are more often than not designed to serve the ends of the organizations that promote them (forgive me if I am wrong)and have often resulted in extreme craziness like Branch Davidian. But it would take a particularly obtuse individual reader to miss the correlation between the clear words of the Bible and the events unfolding today.

That said, what shall we do? Jesus seems clear on that point. 1) Go on doing what he has given us all to do. That is to proclaim the mercy of God available to all who would hear and trust in him. 2) Be ready. We can neither forestall nor hasten the end of this age. But we can be prepared.

Being prepared does not mean to hunker down in our bunkers. It does not mean to put up a supply of arms and ammunition, or at least I can not find that idea in what Jesus said. It means to be spiritually ready, for the Lord could return at any moment. It also means to be prepared for the possibility of very hard times ahead.

I know that for some Christians the theology they hold to tells them that God will take them out of the world before the difficult times called the Great Tribulation. I hope they are right, but I am not counting on it. Christians around the world today are experiencing difficult times, even suffering death for their faith. Why should I think I will escape? Be ready, Jesus says. Be ready to trust God whatever the days ahead bring. Be ready to stand true for him through anything. Be ready to suffer for his sake, for he has warned us that we likely will.

1 comment:

Grammy D said...

It's all quite creepy - it doesn't surprise me - I have watched the moral decay, but to think that there was no such thing as a cell phone or personal computer when I was little - the 'big brother' stuff that used to be in science fiction movies is now reality...very creepy! I'm grateful that God is bigger than any technology that man can creep me out with.