Religion and Technology: A Study in the Philosophy of Culture

By Jay Newman | Go to book overview

1 Religion and Antitechnology

AIMS OF THE INQUIRY

Sustained reflection on culture--on its historical (and prehistorical) foundations, existing patterns, and prospective conditions--almost inevitably leads to consideration of both religion and technology, and it often leads as well to consideration of some of the complex relations that obtain between religion and technology. Religion is universally acknowledged as one of the primary forms of human experience and culture; and whether cultural theorists be pious defenders of some ancient faith, materialist polemicists, or detached academic observers, they attest, with an imposing, consistency, to the historical and continuing cultural importance of religion. To be sure, not all of them can agree with the theologian Paul Tillich that religion is the "substance" of culture,1 or even with the severe critic of religious "illusion," Sigmund Freud, that religion "has ruled human society for many thousands of years."2 They can, however, dutifully follow a long line of renowned cultural theorists, from Plato, through Desiderius Erasmus and Friedrich Nietzsche, down to Ernst Cassirer, Bronislaw Malinowski, and humanistic and social scientific scholars of our own day, who have reminded us in a series of impressive studies that whoever would arrive at a clear understanding of culture had better do plenty of thinking about religion.

While one's fascination with the latest high technology of our own age may regularly result in a certain forgetfulness with respect to the historical and prehistorical relations of technology and culture, technology too has

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Religion and Technology: A Study in the Philosophy of Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • 1- Religion and Antitechnology 1
  • Notes 31
  • 2- Technology and Techne 39
  • 3- Technology and Progress 73
  • Notes 105
  • 4- Technology as a Religious Endeavor 109
  • Notes 138
  • 5- Religion, Technology, and Culture 143
  • Notes 170
  • Bibliography 175
  • Index 187
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