Technology is an integral part our world. But how does inter-human technology affect our ability to be present to one another, to God, to ourselves, and to the world around us? Modern technologies are reshaping human relationships. While they offer new possibilities for presence across time and space, they also function as either a substitute for human relationships or as a filter that mediates relationships between ourselves and others. In our technologically saturated world, it is vital that we become aware of how these technologies alter our perceptions, our actions, and our relationships. Religious and Cultural Implications of Technology-Mediated Relationships in a Post Pandemic World offers a variety of positions on how technology is influencing religious communal and cultural life. There is no doubt that our interaction with technology will shape the human community up ahead. These essays provide a basis for thoughtful choice and action.
Ilia Delio is a Franciscan Sister of Washington, D.C. and holds the Josephine C. Connelly Chair in Christian Theology at Villanova Universe.
Noreen Herzfeld is the Nicholas and Bernice Reuter Professor of Science and Religion at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict and a research associate with ZRS Koper.
Robert Nicastro is a PhD candidate in the Theology and Religious Studies program at Villanova University.
Part I: Technology, Religious Practices and the COVID Pandemic
Chapter One: Technology and Ancestor Offerings
Chapter Two: The Meanings of Presence in Judaism: How Expressions of Social Community Evolved Over Centuries and Adapted Under Stress To COVID
Amy Sue Bix
Part II: Remaining Human in a Digital Age
Chapter Three: Social Technology and the Paradoxes of Spirituality and Attachment
Chapter Four: Re-visioning Friendship and Spirituality in an Age of Social Media
Jennifer Constantine Jackson
Chapter Five: Paying Attention to Where We Pay Attention: Rethinking the Attention Economy through the Lens of Simone Weil
Lisa M. Dolling
Part III: Digital Media and Contemplative Imagination
Chapter Six: Technology and Contemplative Pedagogy
Chapter Seven: Technology and the Arts
Part IV. Technology, Materiality and Embodiment
Chapter Eight: Crypto-Ethic? Presence, Relationality, and Care Among Digital Currencies
Chapter Nine: “‘Grow Old with Me’: Humanoid Robots and the Aging Process”
Part V. Looking Beyond the Pandemic
Chapter Ten: Why Technology Is Our Future
About the Contributors
When COVID isolated us from each other, technology kept us connected. Well, sort of. What actually happens when we human beings, who are innately social, put our social connections online? Are we still fully present to each other? Chatbots and robotic companions have already moved in to live with us, rechanneling if not replacing human connections altogether. Religious communities are discovering how quickly technology is altering religious practices. Will technology make us less human or more human? This book offers thoughtful analyses, multiple vantage points, and diverse perspectives all driving at one question: How is technology modifying the human social fabric and, in so doing, remaking humanity?
In an accessible and engaging manner, this book touches a raw nerve: technology and us. The last years have demonstrated the ambiguity clearly. Look at the questions and concerns raised by the pandemic and our technologically mediated responses or widely experimented artificial intelligence chatbots (like ChatGPT). The right relationship with nature and technology is not a given. Technology is a gift, technology is 'us,' and it is an achievement of many actors, not all of them technologists. Theologians, philosophers, psychologists, and educators will particularly benefit from this excellent collection of essays.