Christ repeatedly told those he cured miraculously not to tell anyone about it, and we see why he issued the prohibition if we look at the typical popular response to a miracle. Start with the multiplication of the loaves, since it was obviously impossible for Christ to tamp down a popular response to the feeding of a crowd large enough to have 5,000 adult men. You can’t hide an event from the population when the majority of the population witnessed it.

The popular response is an attempt to make Christ king. The desire is easy to appreciate since Christ had just proven himself a massively impressive piece of bread-multiplication technology.

No doubt many persons had cynical or avaricious motives for making the bread-multiplier king, but they were probably a relatively small part of the crowd, and it’s least interesting part. Many more would want to make him king because of the truly good applications of Christ-technology. Just imagine the economic opportunities provided by a technology that increases food supplies by so many orders of magnitude! More to the point, it could solve poverty and hunger, and wasn’t care for the poor an antiphon of Christ’s preaching? Who knows how many in that crowd had gone hungry in the last week? While limitless bread supply solves a lot more problems than just hunger, even if it didn’t we would still be amazed at the wizardry that could supply it. Technology is self self-justifying, and none of us need to be told of our thrill at an amazing new display of it. We’ve idolized engineers for accomplishing far less than Christ.

Who wouldn’t want want to make Christ king, prime minister, president? Why not?

Technology is essentially and exclusively a means – the thrill we take in it is from its being a power that is entirely at our service and demands nothing. The thrill of the Nineteenth Century was the almost infinite increase of muscle and the speed of moving bodies, the thrill of the Twentieth was the increase in moving information, and both are raw, undemanding power entirely at the service of whatever goals we set. The apotheosis of technology is omnipotence and perfect apathy. We are weak, it is strong; but it’s only desires are from us. Christ can never be this. He might be omnipotent, but certainly can’t be evacuated of his desires. Technology offers means and has nothing to say about our goals while Christ is very clearly offering us, non-negotiably, a set of goals. In fact, we have to push the opposition further: technology fascinates us with the goals about which it has nothing to say, but Christ sets himself as the only goal we can “use” him to achieve.




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