Digital Disruptions: Theology in the Age of Algorithms

A four-week course in which we will explore a wide variety of issues related to faith and technology.  The world is both changed and changing through immersion and engagement with technology. Digital culture is the new condition that religion finds itself in. This new condition requires new approaches and innovative theological conversations and responses.

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Network Culture

Digital technologies have transformed the way we live our lives. Affordable technology means that we have unprecedented access to information and multiple means of cultural production and dissemination. These new technologies mean that we are connected globally and yet often more disconnected from our local lives.

Digital Media

These digital times are challenging for institutions and organizations of all kinds. The inability to address these new cultural dynamics and our ever-changing times threatens the very life of many organizations. In order to survive new approaches need to be adopted: more innovation, imagination, creativity and mobility, and all of this while holding onto formative identities.

Post-Humanism

To be human is to already be post human because the human relies on technology to realize their humanity. The digital age has accelerated our connection to technology and we are dependent on technology in unprecedented ways that pose new challenges to our humanity and our theology. The post human condition is the new social imaginary which defines our existence.

4-Week Outline

After an introduction to the overall course, which will layout objectives, trajectories and reading opportunities, this lecture will introduce the key course topics in detail focusing on the impact the digital shift has made upon the world and the key theological questions and concerns it raises. Understanding the history and relationship between the human and technology will be a central focus.

This lecture will focus on the cultural conversations about post-humanism, the singularity and other apocalyptic notions that pervade both the Internet and the wider world. Conspiracy theories, fake news and and other prevalent social trends have a deep connectedness to the way in which access to information and communication platforms have engendered a new kind of social discourse and self-understanding. The theological implications of this will be highlighted.

Morality has been out of fashion for a long time and the early promise of the Internet was a technological new age stretching our horizon beyond morality, but the Internet is full of judgment, meanness and negativity. What should our response be to the state of things and how might we talk about ethics and morality in meaningful ways?

This lecture will also summarize some of the key issues raised by our discussions over recent weeks and turn attention towards the ethical and moral implications of the digital shift for those who seek to not only understand digital culture but converse with it from theological perspectives.

This concluding lecture will offer a strategy for theologizing in the digital age, examining a variety of approaches and methodologies. Theology is ever and always a conversation with the particular circumstances and contexts within which the community of faith finds itself living and as such must always re-visit it’s assumptions, presumptions and perspectives on both the world and the tradition from which it seeks to speak. Digital culture presents new challenges and opportunities for theology, key aspects will be explored.  

What the conversation is all about

The technological developments of the late 20th and early 21st Century have brought changes to virtually every aspect of social life. Social media has transformed everything from politics and economics to relationships and religion.  This course explores the digital world from diverse angles and takes a look at the implications of these new conditions and offers new ways and approaches to the intersections of theology and technology.

What you can expect

  • This course starts LIVE Thursday, July 2nd at 12pm PST via zoom.
  • For those who can't make the LIVE lecture it will be posted to watch at your leisure on our learning platform.
  • If you are purchasing this course after it has started you can go through the course from the beginning and still interact with the instructors in the archive learning section of each week.
  • Each weekly lecture lasts for about an hour or so and there will be a time of Q&A to further engage the content and instructors.
  • There are no assignments, but you can expect sessions packed with content as well as recommended reading and resources.
  • Click here to read our blog on this course.

The human is the animal that relies on technology in order to realize its humanity.”

-Dominic Pettman

Instructors

Barry Taylor

Co-Director of H&Co, a theologian-philosopher, musician, artist, academic and writer who has spent more than thirty years challenging traditional notions of religion and church and creating alternative communities built on the idea that life is uncertain, the future is unwritten and that none of us has the answer.

More on Barry here

Kester Brewin

A teacher of mathematics in South East London, speaker and writer and is the author of a number of highly-regarded works on theology and culture, long-time consultant for BBC Education, focusing on applications of digital technology in the classroom, and the importance of story in teaching.

More on Kester here