2 thoughts on “Question Concerning Technology and Religion

  1. Thanks for uploading this. I am working on my paper on Cybertheology. And one of the most formidable blocks I am foreseeing is the question whether theologizing can be done through the cyberspace. Do you have any take on this? Thanks!

  2. Donnie, my first question would be — why not? What are the impediments to theologising (and what do we even mean by that word?) with cyberspace as a medium?

    A couple of quick follow-on observations: first, I try to resist using “space” as a metaphor for online activity and interactions, because the first objections to digitally-mediated theological activity arises when someone notices ways in which digital interactions aren’t spatial (shock, horror). If we allow digitally-afforded behaviour its own determinants, we’re in a sounder position to discern what’s better or worse, than if we assimilate digital activity to spatial models and then deprecate them because they aren’t as good at being spatial as space is.

    Second, we should check to consider the possibility that what we call “theologising” doesn’t come with built-in assumptions that themselves favour or discountenance online alternatives. Since we’ve gotten pretty good (not comprehensively good) at sizing up physical-world aspects of theology, we might easily slip into the assumption that stuff we approve online must measure up to offline equivalents, without noting that what counts as “equivalency” changes when we introduce the characteristics of online environments, and that the digital complement might bring with it positive benefits that to some extent offset the disadvantageous differences.

    With none of this do we gain a simple, automagical test for what’s good or bad about theologically-charged digital interactions, just as we don’t have simple, instant tests for offline theology. (OK, some people think their theological way is simple and decisive, but that assessment masks a great many complexities regarding how one reaches such a verdict in the first place, and regarding how the simple, decisive religion works itself out in practice. But that’s at least another whole essay.)

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