I read one time a forum thread among theological educators about the 5 G’s that serve now as threats to Christian ministry. The first three are familiar – girls, gold and glory. The other two are new – guys and gadgets.
When we think of gadgets, we usually associate them with technology. A question comes to my mind, “Is it really possible for technology to be a form of idolatry?”
In the recent popularity of Bitcoin caused by Cyprus banking crisis, I notice two mottos attached on the coin – “Vires in Numeris” and “In Cryptography We Trust”. The first motto literally means “strength in numbers” and the second motto reminds us “In God We Trust” placed on US coins and paper currency. Atheists and humanists dislike such use.
With the current banking and monetary crisis, we now see that using the popular motto did not prevent man to craft a monetary system that serves legal theft. In a way, we can say that the name “God” has been used to hide institutional plunder. We cannot therefore blame those who call for the abolition of the existing monetary system to also hate the institutional religion associated with it. With an economic climate that we have, it is difficult now for people to distinguish the difference between genuine religion and a religion that fails to see the evil of a financial system that perpetuates currency debasement.
I think, contrary to the original intention of originators of the two Bitcoin mottos, I see an appropriate place for them. If we see them not as ultimate expressions of trust, that is, not as rivals of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we can say that they are not idolatrous, but as expressions of appreciation given to free market advocates and human ingenuity.
Note: Originally posted in Studies in Economics and mirrored in Acts of the New Commonwealth last April 7, 2013