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technology and glory

"I am no medievalist. I rejoice in the marvelous widening of our knowledge of this mysterious universe; I delight in the technical achievements of our day. This is God's world, and neither its good things nor its wonders should he despised by those upon whom they have been bestowed. Moreover, I cherish within my soul a vague yet glorious hope of a time when material achievements, instead of making man the victim of his machines, may be used for the expression of some wondrous thought. There may come a time when God will send to the world the fire of genius, which he has taken from it in our time; a time when he will send something far greater -- a humble heart finding in his worship the highest use of all knowledge and power. There will come a time when men will wonder at their obsession with these material things, when they will see that their inventions are in themselves as valueless as the ugly little bits of metal type in a printer's composing room, and that their true value will be found only when they become the means of expressing some glorious poem. Even today, amid all the noise and shouting and power of machinery, there are hearts hungry for bread that is bread indeed, hearts thirsting for the living water. The things in which the world is now interested are the things that are seen; but the things that are seen are temporal, and the things that are not seen are eternal."

-- J. Gresham Machen, "Skyscrapers and Cathedrals" (1931) 

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