Religion and Technology: A Study in the Philosophy of Culture

Religion and Technology: A Study in the Philosophy of Culture

Religion and Technology: A Study in the Philosophy of Culture

Religion and Technology: A Study in the Philosophy of Culture

Synopsis

Religion and technology have always been at the heart of any civilization, says Newman, and the changing relations between them have and will continue to have a powerful influence on social and personal development. Newman begins with a look at religious criticism of technology, most specifically the view that technology undermines religious world views, religious practices, and spirituality in general. But what the religious antitechnologist might be misunderstanding, he argues, are the essence of technology, its relation to progress, and its significance as a religious endeavor. Indeed, religion may be a form of technology, or both may be the same as culture itself.

Excerpt

If technology were a person, she might be moved by now to propose that if only her critics knew her better, they would not be as hasty to blame her for so many contemporary cultural problems. Why should technology be difficult to know well? For one thing, grasping the concept of technology can be tricky. the term technology is used by "ordinary" users of our language in "ordinary" everyday situations, and most of us would object to being told by some self-proclaimed expert that we should avoid using it because it is basically a technical or semi-technical term best left to specialists of various kinds. of course, as is often the case with words that we use in ordinary language, including some of the words that we use most frequently, it is not at all easy to provide, when requested, a straightforward definition of technology with which we can feel entirely comfortable. We generally are confident that we have a sound working conception of the nature of technology, and we understand on reflection that this conception is largely based on the consideration of particular technologies that we take to be paradigms. We assume that most people with whom we discuss technology have roughly the same group of paradigms in mind; and although sometimes we come to realize, in the course of a conversation, that the particular person with whom we are sharing use of the term technology has something significantly different in mind from what we do when she uses the term, that occasional surprise does not discourage us from keeping the word in our everyday vocabulary. Still, maybe we take for granted that such signifi-

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