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iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives

This is the third in a five-part 2014 webinar series put on by the Mobile Ministry Forum.  Presenter Craig Detweiler Ph.D., spoke from his latest book is iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives. Craig directs the Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture and the new masters program in media production at Pepperdine University.  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 the recorded webinar.  

Brief summary notes are below.


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 viniculture).

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.

     A. Noah it’s called to build an ark to exacting specifications.  It was meant to preserve humanity and our biodiversity.  Technology is a life-saving gift.

     B. At Babel, they said let us build a “platform” to help us reach the heavens.

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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