Human Uniqueness and Technology: Are We Co-Creators with God?

Every now and then, Google Scholar (and other research sites) send an email to say someone’s referenced my PhD thesis in a publication. It’s a good way to keep track of other researchers who are also interested in theology, technology and transhumanism, as well as who is using the thesis.

The most recent of these references is this recent essay in an upcoming book:

  • Lorrimar, Victoria. “Human Uniqueness and Technology: Are We Co-Creators with God?” In Issues in Science and Theology: Are We Special?, edited by Michael Fuller, Dirk Evers, Anne L.C. Runehov and Knut-Willy Saether, 169-180. Cham: Springer 2017.

I’m looking forward to reading the whole essay (rather than just the snippets on Google Books) later in the year.

I’ve found that series of books – Issues in Science and Theology helpful for my own research in the past, including when writing the PhD when I used this one:

The books are part of a series produced by the European Society for the Study of Science and Theology.

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The PhD thesis – Transhumanism and the Imago Dei: Narratives of Apprehension and Hope – can be found here at the University of Auckland research archive.

 

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Youth Ministry Educators and “Networked Theology”

I was pleased to see a couple of references to the Networked Theology book in papers to be presented at the Association of Youth Ministry Educators 2017 conference in Dallas later this month.

Angela Gorrell’s paper on integrating theological new media literacy into Christian education and formation – Faith for a Way of Life: Christian Formation and Education in a New Media Culture – used it to assist with describing “new media” and the “social-shaping” of technology.

More significantly, Leslie Long’s (Oklahoma City University) paper – Stained Glass to Screens: How Modern Technology Influences an Ancient Faith – set the book as required reading for undergraduate class examining the theological implications of technology and its impact on religious practice and understanding.

An examination of our habits when using technology helped us explore the instruments we employ and the diverse attitudes students hold about a variety of platforms from Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, to the elements used in many worship settings. Using Campbell and Garner’s categories in Networked Theology to examine technological usage, “optimism, pessimism and ambiguity,” students strived to understand how different people respond to technology. Looking at technological justice pushed the class to deal with issues pertaining to how geographical settings, economic status, age bias, and other barriers to access could limit or eliminate programs and possibilities. Moreover, intense conversations took place around the topic of community. The class talked about what defines a community in general and the traits of specifically religious communities. Students considered the implications of exclusively online communities in contrast to more traditional face-to-face religious gatherings.

Nice to see the book being used in these contexts.

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2017 Loading Docs – Diversity

Loading Docs is a site I’ve blogged about before which showcases short documentary films from Aotearoa New Zealand. The 2017 films are now up on the site (along with all the previous years).

The 2017 collection is themed around Diversity – Many voices, many stories, many screens and you can find the films here: Home – Loading Docs

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On Embryos and Spin | Center for Genetics and Society

An excellent op-ed piece on the way reporting of biotechnology is often reduced, unhelpfully and dangerously, to a “promise” vs. “peril” dichotomy. To do so ignores the many different positions that arise from competing (and misunderstood) values in the interactions with biotechnologies, as well as how the application of such developments shape not only those who are the target of them but also those who apply them.

But gene editing is more like terraforming, changing the landscapes, changing the idea of roads, changing the people who walk on the roads. It would alter us as a species in at least two ways: some would be changed from being engineered; some would be changed because they undertook the engineering; and all of us would be changed by living in a world where the technology was possible. We would be defined by our stances towards it, our choices to embrace, refuse, accommodate, resist. It is not merely disease that is at stake, but identity, and in more ways than we can calculate, human gene editing would rewrite the meaning of pronouns—I, we, you—from the inside.

Source: On Embryos and Spin | Center for Genetics and Society

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THEOCOM17

For the past three days I’ve been attending the annual Theology and Communication conference THEOCOM17 at Santa Clara University in California. The conference describes itself as “A gathering of Theologians on Digital Communication” and this year’s theme is “Digital Shepherding: Pastoral Theology and Ministry in a Digital Age”.

The schedule of presentations is below, which I’ve annotated with relevant web links. Overall, some very interesting papers and excellent conversation.

Theological Foundations

    • Matthias Scharer
      From Pastoral Theology to Practical Theology: The Impact of Karl Rahner’s Understanding of Practical Theology in a Digital World
    • Archimandrite Alexandros Salmas
      St. Gregory the Theologian: A Patristic Paradigm for Pastoral Theology and Ministry in the Digital Age
    • Thomas Boomershine
      The Embodiment of the Word: A Pastoral Approach to Scripture in a Digital Age
  • Nadia Delicata
    Moral Theology in a Digital Age: Retrieving the Past for the Future

Media and Ministry

Education and Formation

    • Mary Hess
      Storying Faith Amidst Digital Cultures: Renewing Religious Education in the 21st Century
  • Rev. Jose Palakeel
    “Feed my Geeks”: Reflections on Ministerial Education and Formation in Digital Culture

Theology in Context

  • Theo Nicolakis and George Sarraf
    Conciliarity in a Digital Age: A Study on the recent Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church
  • Alba Sabaté Gauxachs
    Digital media, the New Space for Religion to Meet Youth. The Catalan case
  • David Trobisch and Seth Pollinger
    The Technology outreach of the Museum of the Bible

Pastoral Responses

  • Levi Checketts
    The Persona of the Pastor on Social Media
  • Antonio Spadaro, S.J.
    Social Media Practices

Pastoral Implementation

  • Fran Plude
    Building ‘Listening’ Communities of Faith: A Response to the Appeal for Dialogue of Pope Francis
  • Caroline Cerveny SSJ-TOSF
    To Be and Become Digital Missionary Disciples

Also good to see the book on Authority and Leadership from THEOCOM15 coming out in September (which includes a chapter I contributed).

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On the beside table

Looking forward to a few weeks of catching up on novels and audiobooks.

 
 
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gamevironments

Latest issue of Gamevironments is out.

Source: Gamevironments – Current Papers and Archive (2017)

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Gaming statistics (NZ)

Hunting around on the Internet over the past few weeks looking for some statistics on computer and video gaming in New Zealand. A few links so far:

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Queen’s Birthday Honours

I am increasingly impressed with The Spinoff’s more in-depth coverage of politics at a local level than the mainstream media (TV or newspaper). Even if you don’t always agree with the conclusions of their articles, you certainly have a lot of material to think about – rather than repeating what other people have tweeted (I’m looking at you, TVNZ).

With the knighting of our former Prime Minister in the QB honours list (Former PM John Key tops Queen’s Birthday honours with knighthood for services to the state | Stuff.co.nz), the following two articles made good reading today:

 

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Who should decide the fate of ChristChurch Cathedral? – The Listener

An insightful article in the New Zealand Listener on the ongoing saga around Christchurch’s Anglican cathedral years on from the Canterbury earthquakes.

Source: Who should decide the fate of ChristChurch Cathedral? – The Listener

At one level, an interesting case study on the interaction between religion and society in a ‘secular’ or ‘post-Christendom’ environment.

At another level an ongoing situation that is extremely upsetting and damaging to those involved.

(Photo: David Alexander (UCL IRDR) – https://www.flickr.com/photos/uclmaps/10186939655/in/photostream/)

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