The Effect of the ‘Digital-First’ World on the Disabled (Part 2): Downsides

The disabled community has become accustomed to the world having little-to-no awareness of how things affect them. But, the downsides to our ‘digital-first’ world affect both able-bodied and disabled people (although not to the same degree).

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Just like anything in this world, the ‘digital-first’ world has incredible upsides andincredible downsides.

As Part 1 pointed out, the upsides of the ‘digital-first’ world for the disabled are availability, simplicity, and connection. These upsides are not simply enhancements to the disabled community’s access to the Bible; these upsides can allow first-time access to God’s word.

As great as those upsides are for the disabled community, it is illogical and impossible to dismiss the downsides that can come from these accessible platforms.

Stated in Part 1, author Trevor Sutton insightfully points out the upsides and downsides (for able-bodied people). So, what are the downsides in his opinion?

A Brave New World – Speed Tramples Godliness

Again, let’s preface by stating this: The article offers a great deal of sound guidance and teaching. 

The article concludes by saying that we should not reject technology as a whole. Sutton also writes, 

“The speed and rapidity of modern technology can easily trample over things like wisdom, discernment, and quiet contemplation.”

That’s true. The speed and at which we use technology can prevent our willingness and ability to use that same technology in beneficial ways. So, I agree.

What I disagree with is that this its the main concern for the disabled community. Just because that statement is true does not mean it’s the ‌biggest downside.

There are to downsides that far outweigh all the others.

The Downsides for the Disabled

The disabled community has become accustomed to the world having little-to-no awareness of how things affect them. But, the downsides to our ‘digital-first’ world affect both able-bodied and disabled people (although not to the same degree).

Going Solo (Neglecting the Church)

A downside of all the improvement in technology and accessibility to God’s word is that the lie of doing the Christian life alone is okay, if not better. The lie creeps in and morphs into going solo and believing you don’t need the Church.

The Bible says that all Christians are members of a body, and that its members are different, diverse, needing each other, serving each other, and loving each other (Romans 12:12-26). There are plenty of other passages but every passage on the Church is clear: We need it, they need us, and God wants us together to proclaim to the world the glory due his name.

A temptation of the ‘digital-first’ world is to go solo, but God saves people into a family.

Accessibility Gone Wrong (Access False Teaching)

The other major downside of the ‘digital-first’ world is that the new-found access can result in access to harmful and, at times, heretical teaching. The beauty of access can very easily turn into dangerous pathways to false-teachers/preachers. This downside can be intensified if the person is isolated and outside of the Church.

How can we (the disabled) prevent access to veer into harmful access?

  1. Join a local, Bible-believing/preaching church.
  2. When we encounter new teaching or interpretation, bring it to your friends at you church. Bounce things off people you trust to tell you the truth and lead you to deeper faith in Jesus.
  3. Read, listen to your Bible. Get to know God’s word so that it becomes easier to spot lies and distortions.

The temptation to believe false teaching and heresy can be easy with unfiltered access, but God gave us his Church to guide us in truth, all rooted in his word.

Is It Even Worth It?

After going through Part 1, and now Part 2, we need answer to one final question: Is the ‘digital-first’ world, for the disabled community, worth it?

Yes.

The upsides (availability, simplicity, and connection) are historical for disabled men, women, and children. Even with the two major downsides (temptations of neglecting the Church and access to false teaching), there are simplistic ways to combat these temptations.

So, my answer is yes. Yes, it’s worth it. 

Praise God for how we live in a time when millions of disabled people have more access to the Bible. 

Praise God that more people can read and hear the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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