Who We Trust in the Age of Advancement

Person with laptop technology research

Recently on Twenty20, Neil tackled a particularly challenging subject. He discovered that the latest research shows contemporary Christians make moral and ethical judgments in the 21st century based on the fact that we consider ourselves enlightened and educated. Christians are devoted to their faith, but how are our judgements blurred living in a secular society?

We might be concerned that the findings of the new research show that Australians have decided who should answer the ethical questions of the technological age. And it’s not what we might think.  Neil’s special guest, Dr Lindsay McMillan, says we might be uneasy about technology and there’s some research around this particular question. Things such as driverless vehicles that can make life or death decisions, and it’s the computer programmers who are ultimately the ones who choose.

It appears that even Christians are turning to scientific and medical communities as the new gold standard, and of course they are important. But should they be the gold standard? Well, we have an opportunity to learn about some of the changes that are happening with Dr. Lindsay McMillan, the co-founder of the not-for-profit think tank, Main Street Insights. It’s an organisation that was created to solely capture the public attitudes of the Australian people.

Lindsay believes that this is a really important piece of research for the Australian population. “One of the big issues for people is who should be the decision makers that, as a community, we respect and listen to. We noted that the whole way in which we understand what is right or wrong has shifted, and also who we trust. I think the big issue is around the ethical considerations of who makes the decisions in our community on the big issues of life.”

Lindsay points out that as believers, our moral behaviors are guided firmly by what is in the scriptures. “But there’s been a shift in the Australian community, and that is no longer the case. The moral judgements of right or wrong are behaviors of right or wrong. Our ethical considerations of what it means to be living in Australia relates to the way we live, act, understand and deal with technology. And I think we are now at a formidable time as believers, to understand where we fit into that.”

Lindsay says that in the past we relied heavily upon clergy as people who were trusted in the community, but that no longer is the case. “The question now is where are the champions? Where are the Christian leaders today? Where do we as individual Christians of today stand?”

“The question now is where are the champions? Where are the Christian leaders today?”

Lindsay continues, “I think what’s key here is that in the past, it was very clear. We were very much a strong Christian society. We knew that the Bible was a firm foundation in terms of that community and individual behavior. And today within the secular society, what is right and what is wrong is now being blurred. Today it’s become much more focused around medical people who are standing up to be the leaders of ethical positions. I think that largely has come out of our experience over the last 12 months with COVID.”

Lindsay firmly believes that it all comes back to the ethical decision makers. “Who’s making those decisions ethically of what’s right or wrong? We have a range of other matters that are concerning us. Technology in farming for instance – what does that mean in terms of ethical considerations? There’s some interesting developments that are occurring around artificial intelligence. And again, it says that we are at a point in time where we, as Christians need to start to say that this is the right and wrong from our position, as based on scripture.

We need to actually start to identify champions, Christian champions, who do have the power of a voice in Spirit. As believers need to start to think about where we stand in terms of higher education, and our position on artificial intelligence.”

Listen to the rest of Neil’s fascinating discussion with Dr Lindsay McMillan here…..

Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.

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