Over the past several decades, technology has leaped forward, faster than ever before. Most of the information and knowledge we have is stored on the Internet and is easily accessible. Books are becoming outdated forms of learning and research materials. Some people still believe that books are the best way of getting information and that the internet could never replace a good book. Who is right? Nicholas Carr says in his book The Shallows that the way we learn is changing, from reading whole books and studying the information carefully, to quickly skimming information and only getting the gist of the subject.
With all the Internet has to offer, research is easier than ever before. Finding information on the internet is almost instant, and it appears in so many different forms (blogs, podcasts, web pages, social media, articles, etc.). Carr says that the internet is actually remapping our neural circuitry, changing the way we learn and think. Instead of spending long hours reading through a book, we are finding it harder to concentrate and our attention spans are shortening. Even the author of The Shallows says,
I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.
The internet has changed the way we think and learn, we quickly browse over material instead of studying it carefully. Could this also affect how modern authors write? Many people browse over text sometimes only reading the first and last sentences trying to find the main point. Should writers adapt to this new form of learning and gleaning information by shortening paragraphs, using informal prose, in formats that people are more likely to read? Writers that choose not to adapt may find themselves left behind.
Ok, Shakespeare did not in fact have a sister. But suppose that He did. Virginia Woolf, a twentieth century English writer, imagines in the book, In Search of a Room of One’s Own, that Shakespeare had a sister. Why would Woolf or anyone care if Shakespeare had a sister or not? Woolf says that even if Shakespeare had a sister who had his literary genius and all the resources to write amazing works, even the same works as Shakespeare penned, she never had a chance too. Woof elaborates,
For it needs little skill in psychology to be sure that a highly gifted girl who had tried to use her gift for poetry would have been so thwarted and hindered by other people, so tortured and pulled asunder by her own contrary instincts, that she must have lost her health and sanity to a certainty. No girl could have walked to London and stood at a stage door and forced her way into the presence of actor managers without doing herself a violence and suffering an anguish which may have been irrational.
Middle class women were treated with little or no respect when it came to writing throughout history. Even if they had all the talent or more that men had, their writing, acting, and education was shunned by men. The women who tried were laughed at and humiliated. Women became so frustrated that they changed their names to a man’s name.
Why were women throughout history treated so poorly by men? The culture taught that women were to tend to the house and family and were not meant to have an occupation and should not concern themselves with other things. I think Woolf’s point is that women should have been allowed to write on the same level as men and we would have an accurate picture of what life was like for women in history.
What makes a law just or unjust? How can we know for sure? Questions come up about whether abortion is just or not and opinions differ depending on the particular person’s perspective. Another similar example would the current debate about same-sex marriage. People in favor of same-sex marriages argue that the existing laws are unjust. But others argue such legislation would be immoral. Martin Luther King Jr. presents a reliable way to judge whether a law is just or unjust in his famous Letter From Birmingham Jail.
Why does Martin Luther King Jr. encourage breaking laws so freely? He states that, “The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust”. What qualifies a law to be unjust? His definition of the two is as follows.
A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law of the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.
He refers to the philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition of a just and unjust law which states that, “An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust”. Both definitions claim that a just law is rooted in something; moral law, law of God, eternal law, or natural law. Every law is at least partially rooted in morality, if humans had no morals then there would be no desire to create laws. Yet humans have differing moral perspectives. So how can one know what kind of morality is behind a law, making it just or unjust? King says it best that a just law is one that is under the law of God.
Laws need to be checked by the Scriptures, only then can you be sure whether it is just or unjust. Some laws could be drafted with good intentions at first, for example, abortion. The law is for women to have the right to choose whether to have the child or not. The problem is that the law considers the woman’s rights but disregards the rights of the child inside her. Abortion laws examined against the Scriptures are unjust. God’s law says you shall not murder. It does not matter if the woman has the right to free choice because that right does not grant her the right to violate another person’s rights. Even if that other person is her child.
God is Holy and has perfect standards, so if we follow His laws and use them as the standard for the laws we make, we can be sure that they are just laws. Consider Titus 3:1, “Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good”. We need to make every effort to obey the laws set before us until they command us to disobey god’s law or prohibit us from following His law. Make God’s law the standard for your life and examine the laws of man against what is in the Scriptures.