Discussing
Hacking for the Kingdom?

Chad Thornhill

Chad Thornhill
November 26, 2014

Hacktivism can be an act of social justice, but does it fall under the central mission of the church?

Chris Hunt
November 26, 2014

I think hacking is most easily analogous to breaking and entering. If an activist who wants to do good breaks into a home or office to obtain information, the activist has undeniably committed a crime. The justice of the cause will not shield the activist who breaks into private or public property from prosecution. Effective civil disobedience is done non-violently, even passively, on open public property. Hackers, by definition, are breaking and entering. Even to do something "just" it's a crime, and therefore, is wrong from a biblical standpoint.

Paul did exhort Christians, heavily persecuted by a hostile government, to respect the law, and to obey the civil government. Perform civic duties; pay taxes. But, Paul recognized that Christ is above every earthly ruler, and that no law on earth can supersede Christ's command to make disciples of the nations. So, we smuggle Bibles into "closed" countries, broadcast across borders, and set-up fronts for missionary activities. Interestingly, this is bringing something of the highest value...it's not entering to extract something. Against the fruits of the Spirit, "there is no law."

Chad lands on the right question. What are "Christian hackers" trying to do? Are they advancing the Gospel? Are they bringing the fruits of the Spirit? Or are they trying to take something? I agree, Christian activists need to be demonstrating and proclaiming the good news. Great article.

DDiana
November 26, 2014

This is not something I personally would do but when you bring the Bible into the 21st century, it might be a way for a group of "anonymous" Christians to witness to those who would not otherwise listen. Hopefully it allows the followers of these websites to see what Jesus says about the information on the websites.

Chad Thornhill
November 26, 2014

The laws vary from state to state which makes the legality issue complex. Usually the laws focus upon specific theft or damages which occur, such as stealing credit card information, embezzling, etc. The laws do not seem as clear on the "take down" type instances where no information is taken or theft committed. Definitely a more complex issue than it might appear at face value.

Chad Thornhill
November 26, 2014

Interesting comment. Thanks for sharing! How effective do you think the witness would be in those types of situations?

Brett C
November 26, 2014

So a Christian "hacktivist" executes a denial of service attack or hijacks a porn website and instead points it to a page that brings up statistics on the harm porn does and links to gospel-centered resources to break porn addiction.
Moral? Ethical? Biblical?

(If this happens, it wasn't me! I have no expertise in this area. Just glad to figure out how to leave a comment!)

Casbergc
December 1, 2014

It's destructive vigilantism and mob vandalism at best. Encouraging this on any level opens up far, far more problems than it could possibly even pretend to solve.

There are legitimate ways to identify, protest, and counter evils in the world. That's the wonderful thing about democracy! We are empowered to do so, and we have many effective tools. Self-identified hacktivists opt for the easy way (certainly not the "narrow path") and launch self-righteous campaigns from the comfort of their chairs. They have no concept of the hard-fought battles for justice. They are noisemakers at best, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

To give deluded vandals a modicum of moral highground is a recipe for disaster.

Chad Thornhill
December 1, 2014

@casbergc, I think that is the initial reaction from many, but as I tried to demonstrate, hacking takes many different forms, some of which are very invasive and some of which are not.

Also, what about where people are not in a democratic society and do not have free speech? Would you grant it as permissible then?

Casbergc
December 1, 2014

No noninvasive methods have been advanced. Taking down or altering a website is, in all cases, invasive. It violates and defaced another's property.

We can imagine all manner of unusual scenarios in which such violations might be permissible. We can do the same for theft and murder. Robin Hood. Poisoning Hitler. Why spend so much time wondering how we can repurpose destruction to our own ends?

By the way, my wife and I had to forgo our ritual of watching Netflix tonight because hackers launched an attack on the Xbox Live servers and have rendered the service inoperable. All for a righteous cause, I'm sure.

Chad Thornhill
December 2, 2014

I would certainly not suggest that the XBox attack would be a form of "Christian hacktivism," if we can identify such a thing. My point in the article is not to defend hacking in all of its forms but rather to ask if it can be used as a legitimate form of protest.

Denial of service attacks, for example, are often noninvasive and flood a system with external requests so that it cannot handle the "traffic." Again, I think this is analogous to a "sit in" in which services are disrupted but no defacing or stealing takes place.

I'd also be interested in your thoughts on hacktivism in non-democratic societies as I mentioned above.

HolyHacker
March 28, 2016

The original meanings of the word "hacker" are preserved within the software community - that is, someone who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, or who is simply a master programmer.

Spread the Gospel or scripture messages using guerrilla advertising tactics. We will have a greater impact spreading the Gospel than fighting evil. Expose it, creatively.

Sean Merritt
March 6, 2017

Yeah but what happens when our government turns against the Christians and the anti Christmas takes over? Have you so quickly for gotten about him and what is coming? Is it wrong to fight against the ruler of the devil the anti Christ? Do you think in this day and age that the devil isn't using evil people who are high in government and influential or in Hollywood to harm christians, we have Donald trump trying get to turn the tide trying to bring Christianity back to America but you have witches and devil worshippers praying against him, you say it would not be OK as a patriot to find out who these people are and pray against them and even slow them down some how I believe that is our Christian duty to protect Christmas as much as possible and America as long is America wants to stand with the Christians

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