Between Theology and Technology

In the first chapter of Cybertheology: Thinking Christianity in the Era of the Internet, Antonio Spadaro questions the relationship between faith and technology. He claims that many have written on the use of Internet as an instrument of evangelization. He suggests that we should be questioning the challenges of the so-called digital thought, and its effect of faith and theology.[1] On an unfortunate note, Spadaro comments on the use of technology, rather than the indwelling of. He notices that many are still seeing the Internet as a tool rather than as an environment.

This new cultural environment “determines a style of thought, creating new territories and new types of education, contributing also to the definition of a new way to stimulate the intelligence and to tighten relationships.”[2] Thus, he suggests the need to discover the “symbol and metaphors that are significant to the people.”[3] He furthers that Christians need not learn only how to ‘use’ the internet but to regard it as an “environment to ‘inhabit’.”[4] Christ, for Spadaro, is compared to the Web, since He calls “humanity to be ever more unified and connected.”[5]

Spadaro claims that the “Internet is, therefore, a reality that is necessarily becoming ever more interesting to a believer, affecting his or her capacity to comprehend reality and therefore his or her faith and way of living it.”[6] Redemptoris Missio, back in the 90s, spoke of the media as an evangelization tool. However, I think that the Church stopped at this stage: stopped at seeing the Internet as a content deliverer, or rather, a billboard of moralisms. There is a “need to integrate the message itself into this new culture that has been created by modern communication.”[7] Interestingly Spadaro reminds us that Christianity is a communicative event.

The Incarnation is a communicative event that utterly shatters our paradigms, says Boeve.[8] Thus, the task is therefore not the how-to-use, but rather the how-to-dwell in this culture. Levy furthers that one “cannot separate the material world—and even less its artificial part—from the ideas through which technological objects are conceived and used by the men who invent them, produce them and use them.”[9]

Paul VI speaks of the technological being, being also, a spiritual being. In light of this, one can re-iterate Beaudoin’s idea speaks of cyberspace as underlining our finitude, reflecting our innate desire for the infinite, and thus, springs us to open to the divine. Thus, the Christian needs to remodel his mind to aid in the seeking of such a fullness particularly at the point where spirituality and technology intersect.[10]

[1] Antonio Spadaro, Cybertheology: Thinking Christianity in the Era of the Internet, 2014, doi:10.5422/fordham/9780823256990.001.0001.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Lieven Boeve and Gregory Hoskins, ‘Recontextualizing the Christian Narrative in a Postmodern Context. An Interview with Lieven Boeve’, Journal of Philosophy and Scripture 3, no. 2 (2006): 31–37.

[9] Antonio Spadaro, Cybertheology: Thinking Christianity in the Era of the Internet.

[10] Ibid.

Matthew is a Masters graduate in Informatics and is currently reading a Bachelor’s Degree in Sacred Theology. He has a strong interest in merging the tech field, particularly Artificial Intelligence and Social Media, with theology. He is also in his sixth year of formation at the Archbishop’s Seminary.

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