Sensuality and Modern technology – I

Have you seen a book titled ‘You are not a gadget’? Yes, it’s a published book and a good one at that. Humans have been shaped so much by technology that we do not know when we are behaving more like gadgets. We have changed to the extent that we no longer know what it means to be human. People have become so mechanical that many would not find anything absurd about the phrase – ‘he is precise like a clock’; or referring to an organization that ‘operates as smoothly as cogs and gears’.

So, humans are admired when they are able to show machine like efficiency and relationships are diminished to ‘gears and cogs’. So also in the area of Sexuality we have become mechanically obsessed and lost the beauty and transcendence of it. Technology has been abused in this area too. Most probably the worst! Take the instance of ‘pornography’. The easy availability of pornography on
the internet has lured people to a lifestyle that they may otherwise not have got entangled in. A large percentage of personal bandwidth usage of the internet is used for downloading adult content. At the peak of the recent global economic crisis this aspect of the online industry was running very profitably. Not only are people induced to pornography by their own weaknesses, there are  those who are deceitfully drawn into it.

Take the instance of a child who was doing a biology project where the search engine gave a pornographic site as the result for the search. The website is the site of the President of the United States of America. Till very recently, there was a website which was a website that  made adult content available online. If a user typed a .com instead of a .gov she would have the shock of seeing pictures that she had least expected to see. Cellphones have also become another menace. Not only are they used to shoot pictures of strangers who may be attractive, they are also used to circulate MMS clips of people in compromising positions.

Most teenager and a youth today not only have such content on their phones but also actively circulate it. A recent news report
stated that teenagers were under pressure to sext – yes you heard it right – it’s spelt s e x t like t e x t – but sext: meaning sexually oriented text messages. Then internet sex addiction or cybersex addiction is becoming a common problem – where the
internet is used almost exclusively for sensual gratification in some form. These addictions range from just online porn to online
interaction between individuals to sensually stimulating software. So, it is normal to find individuals involved in chat room
conversations where not only is the talk sexual, there is also an exchange of both audio and video content which is explicit. There are also games and movies which are now available that are centered around sexual themes.

Without doubt, technology has encouraged us to sexual voyeurism faster that we would have slid without its aid. So, anyway we come to probably the most important question: Is there a proper basis for dealing with human sexuality? People have different perceptions
about their sexuality. Some think that sex is evil. Others, that sex is the only reason for their existence. The fantasy world portrayed by
smut promoters seems truer than reality actually is. Does God have anything to say about this subject? Or is it taboo? Are we left to depend on the experience of others to learn about this subject?

God’s Word does teach us about sexuality. In fact, one of the books of the Bible is actually a romantic ode. No, the Bible is not a manual on sex, but it tells us enough to deal rightly with it. The Bible gives us the perspectives of being sexual beings, yet not feeling dirty nor being obsessed with it. There are a few basic concepts that make it possible for us to understand that sex is not the result of a conflict between the sexes or the result of human perversion. Image of God As we grow into teenage and adolescence, we go through certain physical changes. But that is not all – we also go through certain emotional changes. Often times the physical changes are cared for, while the emotional ones are ignored. The scars of these do not go away easily.

The key emotional problem is the problem of identity. In the midst of emotional changes, young people usually ask the fundamental questions of life. Who am I? What is the purpose of my existence? Sex then, being the rage of our times, presents itself as a credible reason for existence. Added incentive: Sex being uncharted territory for them leads to experimentation. An understanding of the message of the Bible helps. When we know we are created in the image of God, it makes a big difference to these fundamental questions. God says we are made in His image – this gives a sense of dignity. We can respect and even love ourselves – there is nothing dirty inherently about ourselves.

It is God who made us male and female. So, the differences that we see in each other, both physically and emotionally are part of a bigger picture. Need for Relationships When God made Adam (before Eve was created), He said that it was not good for him to be  lone. God asked Adam to name all the creatures that He had created. But, as the animals passed before him, Adam found no suitable mate. Then God formed Eve as a partner suitable for him. A limerick celebrates this complementarity Woman was created from the rib of man. She was not created from his head to be above him Nor was she created from his foot to be trampled by him She was taken from his side to be his equal, From beneath his arm to be protected by him, From near his heart to be loved by him.

Thus, God established that the relationship between man and woman was unique yet equal. This is the basis for intimacy between man and woman. That enjoy nature and animals, but they cannot find contentment, except in a monogamous human relationship. The first poetry that is recorded in human history is an ode of love written by Adam about his beloved, Eve “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

Let technology not steal from the  poetry of human sensuality. If you have been entangled in the miry world of illicit sensuality driven either by the online world or otherwise, Jesus can free you from it. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.



About the Author

Cyril serves with RZIM as the Chief Training Officer. He has worked in the Information Technology and Airline industry prior to this and the family has lived in the cities of Nasik, Delhi and now Mumbai.

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