To be sure, technology can dull the spiritual senses, can dissipate the powers of attention on which prayer and meditation depend, or can clutter the mind with so many blazing distractions that stillness and self-reflection grow rare and then fabricated and commoditized. It is difficult to behold the mysterium tremendum in the starry midnight sky when your eyes are transfixed by the glowing screen. It is difficult to experience the immediacy of human relationships, the sacramental intimacy out of which religious communities large and small arise, when laptops and tablets and mobile devices interpose and interrupt every friendship.
However, people have found God and will continue to find God in, through, and in spite of our increasingly technological world. Writ small, new technologies can shape the fundamental ways in which we imagine, experience, and serve the divine. Writ large, religious movements often flow upon the tides of technological innovation. While religious history of course cannot be reduced to technology, it has in many ways been shaped by the history of technology.
The Christian theological tradition provides abundant resources not only for critiques of technology, but also for the positive appreciation of technology. It is this aspect of the Christian tradition that I will describe in two categories: first, how we can find God in the work of technology, in the vocation of the technologist and the purposes his technologies serve, and second, also in the works of technology, in technological innovations that can serve to glorify God or serve the kingdom of God.
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