A Christian Field Guide to Technology for Engineers and Designers
Our technology shapes the way we live, interact, work, play, and even worship. Technology and its power are both old and new—as is the wisdom we need to envision, design, build, and use it well. For Christians passionate about developing technology, it's not always clear how their faith and work intersect. How can designing and using technology actually be a way of loving God and our neighbors?
Veteran engineers and teachers Ethan Brue, Derek Schuurman, and Steve VanderLeest provide a field guide for fellow explorers working with technology. Using numerous case studies, historical examples, and personal stories, they explore issues such as:
Along the way they acknowledge the challenges arising from technology but also point to the wonderful possibilities it offers us and its ability to contribute to the common good.
For Christians studying and working in engineering, computer science, technical design, architecture, and related fields, this book is packed with wisdom and practical guidance. By sharing what they have learned, the authors encourage readers to ask harder questions, aspire to more noble purposes, and live a life consistent with their faith as they engage with technology.
"I believe that Christians are called to make the world a better place. Engineers and designers have a unique opportunity to pursue that calling. A Christian Field Guide to Technology for Engineers and Designers provides a helpful framework to experience appropriate pride in pursuing the meaningful field of engineering and design while also acknowledging the humility associated with human limitations."
"A beautifully and clearly written book on technology! After a long history and a recent spurt in development, the wonders of technology have left an all-controlling mark on our culture, so that we speak of the technological society. Thinking about that culture fills us with awe as well as anxiety. Technology knows the waywardness of Babel's tower as well as the blessing of salvation through Noah's ark. Responsible technology is rightly given much attention in this book: it is a technology in harmony with nature, in the service of all that lives, and above all subordinate to our neighbor and in praise of the Creator. The book makes it clear that it is not enough for an engineer to be just an engineer."
"Here is a rich resource for the early career engineer who needs help applying biblical truth to their technical endeavors in the workplace. Through an excellent overview of important theological concepts, thoughtful design principles, and practical vocational wisdom, Brue, Schuurman, and VanderLeest explain how integrating faith and work in practicing engineering and creating technology provides endless opportunities to both glorify God and enjoy him. If only such a book had been around when I entered the workforce with an engineering degree!"
"I have taught engineering ethics at the college level for more than thirty years. This is the book that I wish had been available when I started. Many modern engineering ethics books tend to ignore the relevance of Christian faith to the development and use of modern technology. This excellent book will be a helpful addition for Christian faculty and students at public universities, so they can see how their faith can relate to the use of technology. Similarly, it can encourage practicing Christian engineers who wonder how their work can be informed by their faith. For Christian universities this book would make an excellent text for either a freshman introduction to engineering course or a stand-alone engineering ethics text. If I were still teaching full-time, I would use this book in my engineering ethics class."
"We have been blessed in recent years with some wonderful explorations of what it means to glorify God in our daily work. Now this marvelous book shows us how to take further steps by focusing on the details of a specific area of work. The authors not only give us profound—and often very inspiring—guidelines for believers engaged in engineering and design, they also point the way for folks in other professions to dig into the specifics of their vocations."
"So often, Christians focus on the ethical and social implications of technology from a user's perspective but fail to recognize the faithful service of brothers and sisters who work tirelessly behind the scenes to design and develop these powerful culture-shaping tools. As the church rightfully proclaims how our faith connects to all of life including our work, I am grateful for this volume by these distinguished scholars and practitioners addressing the unique challenges that technologists face every day, given the importance of their work that touches every aspect of our society. This is an extremely valuable resource connecting Christian theology and ethics to the pressing challenges of technology today."
"Brue, Schuurman, and VanderLeest have provided an excellent resource for contemporary students who may be designing technology, systems, or software, helping them to think about the implications of what they are designing. It covers broad biblical principles that technologists can bring to the workplace to help shape a design in a responsible manner. The authors also recognize that even the best and well-intentioned designs can be subverted and become yet another idol in the lives of those who design and use them. This guidebook will help Christian engineers and computer scientists think more biblically about the technologies and systems they develop. My only wish is that it had been written when I was an undergraduate engineering student five decades ago!"
"Reading the pages of this book brings me back to fond childhood dinner table discussions with my father, Dr. Charles Adams. Dad was a visionary in the area of technology and faith. He believed that what we did as engineers on this earth deeply mattered to God. I would recommend this book to anyone in a technical pursuit who is seeking to serve the Lord in their work. In my own experience, many Christians today feel they have to leave their faith outside the office. This is so tragic, as so much of life's meaning and blessing come from seeing the Lord's hand in our daily work. If you are a Christian engineer struggling to find meaning in your work, this book is for you."
1. Dreams Take Flight
2. A Survey of Technology and the Biblical Story
3. Field Responsibility
4. Faithful Design Guides
5. Beyond Engineering Ethics
6. Modern Towers of Babel
7. Moving Forward by Looking Back
8. Technology and the Future
9. Must We Leave Our Neural Nets to Follow Him?
10. Letters to a Young Engineer
Questions for Reflection or Discussion