Could new satellites lead to "Big Brother" watching you?

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New satellites will take us “one step closer to a Big Brother-is-watching kind of world”

February 27, 2024 -

FILE - Cars on a highway are seen as from the vantage point of a zoomed-in space satellite, with a square centering in on on specific vehicle. By Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com

FILE - Cars on a highway are seen as from the vantage point of a zoomed-in space satellite, with a square centering in on on specific vehicle. By Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com

FILE - Cars on a highway are seen as from the vantage point of a zoomed-in space satellite, with a square centering in on on specific vehicle. By Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com

My iPhone installed its latest update this morning. These often address security issues with the software; for example, a recent update fixed a bug that allowed Siri, the company’s AI-based virtual assistant, to record people’s conversations without their consent, even if they opted out of it. Apple didn’t disclose whether the latest update addresses such issues, so I guess I’ll have to wait to see if I should be worried.

I’m not alone in my concern: more than half of the mobile devices in the US are Apple devices using its proprietary iOS operating system. Privacy issues are not limited to our mobile phones: for example, one university is racing to remove vending machines that were found to be collecting students’ facial-recognition data without their consent.

Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that new satellites orbiting the Earth at very low altitudes “may result in a world where nothing is really off limits.” The satellites will be able to image objects as small as four inches.

According to one critic, “This is a giant camera in the sky for any government to use at any time without our knowledge.” A Harvard astrophysicist adds, “It’s taking us one step closer to a Big Brother-is-watching kind of world.”

The New York Times is reporting that new satellites orbiting the Earth at very low altitudes “may result in a world where nothing is really off limits.” The satellites will be able to image objects as small as four inches. According to one critic, “This is a giant camera in the sky for any government to use at any time without our knowledge.” A Harvard astrophysicist adds, “It’s taking us one step closer to a Big Brother-is-watching kind of world.” How can we best live with optimism and hope in a world filled with pessimism and fear?

An astonishing fact

This week, we’re discussing paths to optimism and hope in a world filled with pessimism and fear. The wrong response is to ignore the frightening challenges of our day. The right response is based not in our circumstances but in our Creator, remembering that he loves us, not because we are worthy of his love but because he “is” love (1 John 4:8).

Consequently, as Edmund Burke noted, “There is nothing you could ever do that would change the way God feels about you.” This fact applies to you today, as St. Augustine observed: “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”

The astonishing truth is:

God loves you as much right now as he has ever loved anyone in human history.

Here’s why this is such good news: If we could merit God’s love, we could forfeit it. Anything we must earn, we can lose. But since God loves us by virtue of his unchanging character (Malachi 3:6) rather than our fallen nature, he can never not love us.

Just as there is nothing we can do to make him love us any more than he does, there is nothing we can do to make him love us any less.

Imagine a world like this

Now comes the practical point.

Our transactional culture has made us consumers of commodities, including other people. Accordingly, we tend to love the lovable and detest the detestable. However, Jesus clearly instructed us: “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). Just as in the Greek means “to the same degree, in the same way.”

How does Jesus love us?

  • Sacrificially: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
  • Unconditionally: “Neither death, nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39).
  • By taking the initiative: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
  • Despite our failures: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Now we are to love others as we are loved. This means that the more they reject us, the more they need our compassion and intercession. The sicker the patient, the more urgent the physician.

Again, our love for others is not based on their merit. Nor are we to love people in order to merit God’s love for us in return. We are free to love because we are loved, not so we will be loved. And the more we experience God’s love, the more we are empowered to share that love with others (cf. Galatians 5:22).

Imagine a world in which everyone found their self-worth in God’s love and then loved everyone else as they are loved. What would be the impact on war? Crime? Pornography, adultery, and sex trafficking? Loneliness? Suicide and other deaths of despair? How powerful and compelling would our Christian witness become? How many lost souls would find God’s love through ours?

Four transforming prayers

Tomorrow we’ll see how this conversation relates to the problem people in our lives, seeking ways to experience and share God’s love in response to our deepest hurts.

For today, I invite you to take a moment to pray:

  • Thank your Father for loving you before he created you.
  • Thank him for loving you despite every sin you’ve ever committed and every sin you’ll ever commit.
  • Thank him for loving every person you’ll meet today as much as he loves you.
  • Now ask his Spirit to help you love those you meet today as you are loved by your Father.

If each of us began every day like this, how could our lives—and our world—be the same?

NOTE: “Her constant reminders of God’s goodness, even when we may not understand his ways, was such a healing balm.” That’s what one reader said about my wife Janet’s devotional book. If you’re searching for God’s peace, I highly recommend Janet’s devotional,A Great Calm.

Tuesday news to know

Quote for the day

“In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human successes, but on how well we have loved.” —St. John of the Cross, 1542–91

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