Technology and Religion
Question: As we live an work in a society of technology how can we bring worship into this realm? Religion seems to be the one area in many people’s lives where there very little modernization in comparison to the rest of society. Google has brought the whole world to our finger tips. Can church as we know it continue to exist in a modern based society?
Response: Good question. I think that we are seeing a number of ways in which technology is changing the church: for example, beliefnet.com, speakingoffaith.org, religion-online.org, all serve the pervasive curiosity about religion. Worship services also incorporate all sorts of technology to make them go!
I think that the broader question is even more interesting, however, namely, “What do we mean when we say ‘church?'”
My uncle once visited Norway, and asked the bishop to please show him the local church. The bishop looked at him, stunned, and said, “But there isn’t time!” After the confusion died away, they realized that my uncle meant the building, and the bishop meant the people.
Facebook, for example, has broadened our definition of community. People are indeed linked to one another in a powerful way, even strangers, who enter immediately in prayer or extended and sincere concern for friends of friends who hurt.
I wonder if we need to consider whether technology (here I mean internet-based technology), like alcohol or television, is not innately troublesome at all. It is the abuse of it, the distortion of it, that causes problems.
So to the degree that technology enhances community, hospitality, conversation, justice, mercy, and humility, it serves to strengthen the things that the reign of God is purportedly about. To the degree that it hinders that, lending itself to even further isolation, or becomes a substitute for person-to-person encounters, then it may be time for reflection.
What do you think?