Religion and Technology: A Study in the Philosophy of Culture

By Jay Newman | Go to book overview

5 Religion, Technology, and Culture

RELIGION AS A KIND OF TECHNOLOGY

It should be clear by now, if it was not from the start, that technology can be usefully viewed as "compatible" with religion by some significant criteria of compatibility. In fact, at least with regard to the forms of religion that are apt to be most familiar to most readers of this study, the term compatible does not do complete justice to the ways in which technology can be properly regarded as a genuine religious endeavor. Still, if we are to attain something that qualifies as a philosophical understanding of relations between religion and technology, we need to move on to a more abstract level of analysis. Given the point at which we find ourselves in the inquiry, we may conclude that the most prudent transition to this more abstract level of analysis would be to consider the reasonableness of regarding religion, at least in its most familiar forms, as itself a kind of technology.

Early in the inquiry, it was assumed that readers of this study have working conceptions of religion and technology based on their own experience and reflection. With respect to the idea of technology, it was necessary in time to proceed to conceptual clarification, which took up much of Chapter 2. No comparable clarification has been provided for the idea of religion; discussion of this notoriously complex idea would likely be superficial in a study of this size and scope and would probably be more of a distraction than an aid to understanding. In the course of discussing particular religious phenomena, I have tried to avoid the underhanded imposition of a dogmatic theory of the nature of religion. However, it may

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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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