How living in an age of science and technology affects our understanding of Christianity
How living in an age of science and technology affects our understanding of Christianity: A 15-minute ISCAST board brainstorm (December 2016)
a. Science and technology have given us a way of thinking that is different from that of other ages and we have become dependent on this. We are less likely to understand the thinking of the past and why people acted as they did then (see h. below).
b. There is an expectation that science will answer all questions (eventually). Those that it can’t/won’t answer aren’t real questions anyway.
c. As Christians, we are acutely aware that science doesn’t answer the questions we consider most important.
d. This approach is utilitarian and creates a technical functionality to both our questions and the answers. This can lead us to losing our perspective of people as persons.
e. Science and technology have not made things easier. Many of the answers science has given have led us into further complexity and into realms that science cannot cope with. The interface between the different sciences is just as complex as the interface between science and religion (see g. below).
f. Science and technology have opened the door to secularism in which God is an optional extra. For many, science has replaced God and science has become the essential component to our thinking.
g. Science and technology have led us to specialisation in which the amateur clergy-scientists of the 1800s have given way to the exclusive study of distinct sciences by individuals, individual groups and industries. This has also split our lives into areas of specialisation (of which Christianity can be understood as one area).
h. There is a loss of respect for history and a tendency to think that what is happening now is the only way of things. Thus today, the wisdom of the past is ignored.
i. We are a “storied” people, each with our own individual and collective narratives but we forget this and so describe ourselves quantitatively (see d. above).
j. Having said all of that, we are currently moving away from this and re-enchanting our narratives (particularly in our movies, novels, games, but also in response to complex issues such as understanding our relationship to the environment).
k. Science and technology suggest that there is an objectivity to our relationship to nature that may not exist. There is a hermeneutical dimension to this that we need to understand. This interpretation is coloured by our (often hidden) values and presuppositions.