“Our God is more expansive and powerful than we could ever imagine, the almighty Creator of galaxies beyond our reach. But He is also the loving Creator who has formed and fashioned you. Yet, as valuable as you are to Him, God’s best for your life is to invite you into a story that is all about Him.” ~ Louie Giglio - I Am Not But I know I Am - Welcome To The Story of God.
Cookies, the computer kind, not the sweet edible kind, when enabled, leave little footprints where you visit on the world wide web. Small files of information are exchanged between your computer and a website you click on and enter. In the new age of digital marketing the information gathered about you is then used in profiling you to entice you to buy merchandise.
Sounds innocuous enough, even if somewhat annoying, unless you look deeper.
Back in October, preparing for a grandson’s birthday, I ordered some party favors and supplies from an online party supply store. For the past two months, every time I open a news site or any site that allows advertising, the first thing I see is flashing reminders that I have not bought any crepe paper or party treats in at least two months. The obnoxious animated ads offer sales and reduction in prices to me, if only I will -->CLICK HERE<-- and come back to buy something. What is the matter with me that I don’t come back and buy buy buy? How long will they have to pay to advertise to me before I stop resisting and give in?
Well, for one thing, I may or may not ever need to make a purchase from the online party store again. Ever. And if I did wish to I probably would be able to find the website again, without daily reminders that they exist and are ready and willing to sell me party stuff.
But this got me thinking. Yep. Even though the cookie tracking thing is pretty much mindless and automated, generated by computers, not humans, I am fully aware that bits and bytes of information are gathered on us, by humans via their software, used to profile us, sort us, define what our likes and dislikes are. The benign object, of course, being to tailor advertising to our highest potential for spending. At least that’s the cover story. I have another take on this.
I am a curious sort. I get a whiff of something and I want to know more about it. On any given day my searching online may leave cookie crumbs all over the place. I might look up a historical figure on Wikipedia. I might research nano technology or the science of earthquakes or health issues or psychology or electronics or... . I might leave crummy footprints in a recipe site and then watch a Youtube video on how to make lipstick with coconut oil and crayons.
What does all this say about me? Who am I, other than a curious person? Can a mindless computer program really take all the website surfing and define my mind? Those who believe in statistics and behavioral science will say it can be done. Entire industries have been created to do exactly that.
Statistically speaking, I beg to differ. Lying with statistics has been around since the concept of statistics was invented. If information gathered can not really be used to get to the truth then what good is it? To manipulate perhaps?
I absolutely believe and understand that humans can be sorted into types but within those identifiable personality types the variables are as vast and unimaginable as the universe. As predictable as humans are, on the small scale, the great unknown is determined by how humans are not really in charge of anything. But God is. God created science and the laws we have noted thus far. He also created those things we don’t as yet understand, and perhaps never will. As we run to and fro furiously gathering information, learning more and more, we usually discover that we know even less than we thought we did. We come up with concepts to cover what we don’t understand about the things that exist outside of the laws we thought were absolutes. We call it String Theory or Quantum Physics. We say we are ‘baffled’ when things occur that we can’t fit into a category of our own understanding. We ‘discover’ new species and animals no human eye has ever seen before and instead of marveling about how dumb we really are we pat ourselves on the back and marvel at our great intelligence.
Our. Great. Intelligence. Right.
Well, seems to me, there will never be a program man can devise that can build a tower that reaches to God, or can figure out the how, why or wherefores of the mysteries of God. That arrogant, self-righteous puny humans think they can, only demonstrates a massive ignorance that cannot be quantified. Louie Giglio likens this to an ant unable to understand the inner workings of the computer it's crawling on.
But apparently, since day one, humans are destined to first choose to believe in their own intelligence, regardless how it seems to let us down again and again. Humans believe they can finally know the infinite variables of the universe and the human mind, even when given evidence that refutes this.
Perhaps it comes down to something as simple as the antichrist spirit working overtime hoping to bring God down to size. If the mysteries of creation can be compartmentalized, dissected, defined by boundaries, laws and absolutes, even if the absolutes don’t stay absolute, then God can be effectively retired. Humankind won’t need Him anymore. Then humankind can be compartmentalized, defined and manipulated. Like mindless robots.
Call me crazy but I think that is about as dumb a thing as any human ever thought.