Just read this fascinating review of “Who Owns the Future?” The book (and the review) offers a startling assessment of the newish religion gaining strength among the Silicon Valley elite.
Jaron Lanier writes: “All thoughts about consciousness, souls, and the like are bound up equally in faith, which suggests something remarkable: What we are seeing is a new religion, expressed through an engineering culture.”
That’s astonishing. And this: “The “religion of technology” is not itself new. The late historian David Noble, in his book by that title, traced its origins in a particular strain of Christianity which saw technology as means of reversing the effects of the Fall.”
The church will have to answer for this–and answer it in a meaningful way. To do that, we cannot simply talk more, marshaling facts and reason. We will have to tell our story. The summary below hits the nail on the head, as it shows how logos and mythos (facts/reason and story/heart) really must work together to see change in human beings and their society.
“Sober responses to the problem of the disappearing middle class will be aided by Lanier’s work, but they must also realize clearly the nature of our situation: a new religion — not of the masses but of technological elites — is one of the driving forces in the economic and technological architecture of our world, and religion works not with mere reason (itself a fantasy, for reason always brings company), but with myth, stories about who we are and where we are going (to the stars, heaven, a utopian future). The only response to a bad myth is a better story, a truer myth. Do we have one?”
Christians do have a better story, one that also promises transcendence. But God’s plan promises transcendence not through technology, or even “progress.” Instead, we transcend our fallen humanity through redemption, and thereby we becoming the kind of human beings God intends, not a version we invent.