iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives

Photo of Craig DetweilerCraig Detweiler, Director, Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University was the featured speaker for the third installment of the 2014 MMF webinar series on June 17. Craig writes the Doc Hollywood blog on Patheos.com and his latest book is, iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives.

iGods book coverHe has written or edited several books besides iGods, and in 2013, Craig produced and directed a documentary, unCommon Sounds which brought musicians to Lebanon and Indonesia to build sustainable peace through music. It premiered on ABC’s “Visions and Values” series. Craig’s cultural commentary has been featured on ABC’s Nightline, CNN, Fox News, Al Jazeera, NPR, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Here is a link to the recorded webinar

Brief summary notes are below.

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Introduction. The smart phone is the latest disruptive technology. Can we press the pause button? Are we training ourselves to look down or look up? The rarest thing we can offer to ourselves and to God… is our attention. The iGods of our day are the tech titans (Jobs, Page, Zuckerberg, Gates). Theirs is a quest for global domination.

  1. Is Technology an Idol? Technology is a new kind of religion. Steve Jobs is our high priest. He has tempted us with the beautiful technology. The new “age of accountability” is when kids get their own phone. Some of the questions that caused Craig to write the book…
    • What is our relationship to technology?
    • What questions or concerns do we have?
    • What does God think about technology?
    • Do we have a theology of technology?
  2. God is the first technologist. We are comfortable calling God a potter or surgeon, so why not a technologist? He called us to be fruitful and multiply. And we have done so. But we are to also replenish the earth. Technology is a God-given gift even in the midst of sin. The Greek word for carpenter is “techton.” How often does Jesus use “building” metaphors?
  3. People of faith have always been at the forefront of technology. Look at architecture, art, music, mechanical devices (monks invented watches…not to mention viticulture).
  4. Things to Consider. Is technology a blessing or a curse? Yes. Depending on who holds the technology.

Technology Values: Smaller. Faster. More efficient. Are these values we should fully embrace?

How much faith should be placed in technology?

What does God think about technology? Two stories from Genesis. Is technology a life-saving force or a presumptuous folly? Yes.

  1. Noah is called to build an ark to exacting specifications. It was meant to preserve humanity and our biodiversity. Technology is a life-saving gift.
  2. At Babel, they said let us build a “platform” to help us reach the heavens.

"I love you more than this" (mobile phone)Who or what is being elevated by the technology devices?

Are we looking up instead of down? We are better when we are looking face-to-face instead of screen to screen.

What is the goal of our connectivity? Wisdom remains the elusive goal. It takes time, maybe even a lifetime to acquire.

Personal Questions: Do you feel distracted? If God unplugged on the seventh day, shouldn’t we? We may need to power down in order to power up.

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One Response to iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives

  1. Lukyamuzi Frank June 25, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    Glad to have this information about the thrid webnier. I missed attending due to bad internet connection here in Uganda but very glad and happy to see the procedings here anda also to hear about the Audio version. Excited to attend the next Webnier and trust that Internet connectivity here in Uganda will favour me dearly.
    Thanks Craig for the Information, thanks Benjamin for hosting us all and finally thanks to MMF.ORG for keeping us uptodate
    Kindest regards
    Frank
    Uganda

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