Modern Technology and the Human Future
Technology is not neutral.
From the plow to the printing press, technology has always shaped human life and informed our understanding of what it means to be human. And advances in modern technology, from computers to smartphones, have yielded tremendous benefits. But do these developments actually encourage human flourishing?
Craig Gay raises concerns about the theological implications of modern technologies and of philosophical movements such as transhumanism. In response, he turns to a classical affirmation of the Christian faith: Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God, took on human flesh. By exploring the doctrine of the incarnation and what it means for our embodiment, Gay offers a course correction to the path of modern technology without asking us to unplug completely.
Gay demonstrates that the doctrine of the incarnation is not neutral either. It presents an alternative vision for the future of humanity.
"The two words from which we get technology—tekton and logos—were both used by New Testament writers to describe Jesus. Technology and Jesus—and therefore technology and humanity—are inseparable and delicately linked. Technology, like the human body itself, is a good servant but a bad master. Craig Gay has written a learned and lucid reflection on how it can both help and hinder human flourishing."
"One of the most critical conversations of our day is quite simply this: How do we manage the machines and technologies that intersect our lives in a way that is consistent with our core Christian commitments? Craig Gay in this volume makes an invaluable and essential contribution, helping his readers think critically and more clearly about aspects of our daily experience that we all too easily take for granted. And part of the strength of this contribution is that Gay insists we need to think theologically about technology—that is, to view technology and respond to technology in light of the Triune God and a biblical understanding of what it means to be the church. And, of course, to then respond to the challenge of our day in a way that is intentional, discerning, and hopeful."
"Craig Gay is neither a luddite nor a technophile. He's something much different—a thoughtful, engaged theologian grappling with some of the core questions raised by modern technology and its apparent move toward disembodied life. Like Ellul and Postman before him, Gay notes many of the ills of technological society, but he moves beyond these seminal voices by offering a constructive rather than merely descriptive account. Even for someone like myself who tends to be a bit more optimistic regarding the theological potential of modern technology, Gay offers a helpful corrective that is as incarnational as it is hopeful. I recommend it."
"In his new and captivating book, Craig Gay issues a call to right stewardship of modern technological development, so that we might live into the fullness of our embodied, ordinary, created human being. The chapters of this penetrating cultural appraisal constitute a tour de force of social philosophy, economic history, and theology, equipping us to live more Christianly. We are given reason and hope to practice resurrection."
"This superb book is crucially important in four ways. First, it provides a lucid and chilling overview of what we all know in our bones but find it hard to talk about coherently: the more that technology—especially automation, our devices, and the internet—makes our life easier, the less that increasingly disembodied life seems to flourish. Second, it shows how, through a series of well-meaning mistakes (the ways we have shaped our science, our religion, and our commerce, and then let them reshape us), we got ourselves into a fix. Third and most important, it outlines how a forgetfulness of the beliefs that shaped our culture—creation, incarnation, redemption—have led to our current problems with disembodiment and psychic homelessness. As Gay puts it, 'When the trajectory of modern technological development is away from ordinary embodied existence it is at odds with God's purposes for his world.' But fourth—and here this book departs from most other laments about modern technology—the book ends with a robust and detailed survey of some of the ways (from how we eat to what and how we worship) that we can re-member what our skewed technologies have dis-membered. Everybody who wants to recover their full humanity should read this book."
1. Machine Technology and Human Being
2. The Momentum and Inertia of Modern Technological Development
3. The Technological Worldview
4. Remembering Where We Are and Who We Are
5. What On Earth Shall We Do?
A Personal Conclusion
Epilogue: On Eucharistic Embodiment