Technology and Theology

William H. U. Anderson (Ed.)

by Erin Archer (Concordia University of Edmonton), John Swann (B. H. Carroll Theological Institute), Jonathan Strand (Concordia University of Edmonton in Alberta), Grant Poettcker (Briercrest College and Seminary), Aaron Piel (Briercrest College and Seminary), Hazik Mohamed (Putra Business School), Justin McLendon (Grand Canyon University), Lucky Mutanga (Christ College of Zimbabwe), Robert Matikiti (Christ College of Zimbabwe), Adam Lloyd Johnson (Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), Kaz Hayashi (Baylor University), Peter Bush (St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church), Daniel Nii Aboagye Aryeh (Perez University College, Ghana), Cagdas Dedeoglu (Yorkville Universtity), John Paul Arceno (Southern Theological Seminary), Robb Torseth (Yale University)

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“As science fiction ever more rapidly becomes scientific fact, deep reflection on the human significance of science has never been more necessary. Professor Anderson has brought together a collection of essays that strikes a hard to find balance; it not only treats the subject with scientific rigour and theological depth, but also brings much needed cultural awareness and sensitivity to the subject. This book fills a much needed gap in the current dialogue.”

Dr. Jason West
President and Professor of Philosophy
Newman Theological College

Technology is growing at an exponential rate vis-à-vis humanity’s ability to control it. Moreover, the numerous ethical issues that technology raises are also troubling. These statements, however, may be alarmist—since Telus would tell us “The Future is Friendly”.
The Modernist vision of the future was utopic, for instance Star Trek of the 1960s. But postmodern views, such as are found in Blade Runner 2049, are dystopic. Theology is in a unique interdisciplinary position to deal with the many issues, pro and con, that technology raises. Even theologians like Origen in the third century and Aquinas in the thirteenth century made forays into Artificial Intelligence and surrounding issues (they just didn’t know it at the time). Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Transhumanism raise questions about what it means to be human. What is consciousness? What is soul? What are life and death? Can technology really save us and give us eternal life?
Theology is in a unique position to handle these questions and issues. This book also has practical applications in terms of ecclesiology (church) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic—both in terms of what it means to be a church and in terms of the sacraments or ordinances. Is there such a thing as a “Virtual Church” or must we gather physically to constitute one? Are Baptism and Communion legitimate if one is not physically in a church building but are “online”? This book struggles with these and many other questions which will help the scholar or reader make up their own minds, however tentatively.

List of Figures and Tables
List of Contributors
Acknowledgements

Foreword
Mike Wade
Director of the Centre for Applied Artificial Intelligence
Concordia University of Edmonton

Introduction
William H. U. Anderson
Concordia University of Edmonton

Chapter 1 On Technology, Mysticism and Ethics: Truth and Eros in Heidegger vs. Plato
Aaron Piel
Briercrest College and Seminary

Chapter 2 Who Am I? Personhood and the Self-Defeating Epistemology of Transhumanism
Robb Torseth
Yale University

Chapter 3 Emergence of Consciousness: Christian Friend or Foe?
Adam Lloyd Johnson
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Chapter 4 Testing the Spirits in Kurzweil’s Spiritual Machines: The Bondage of a Technological Teleology
Grant Poettcker
Briercrest College and Seminary

Chapter 5 “Hey Siri: Do You Believe in God?” A Posthuman Exposé of Belief Bias in AI Programming
Cagdas Dedeoglu
Yorkville University

Chapter 6 Theology, Technology and Moral Applications: A Muslim Perspective
Hazik Mohamed
Putra Business School

Chapter 7 Technology and Worship: Effect and Impact
Peter Bush
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Fergus, Ontario

Chapter 8 Virtual Church and the Means of Grace: Legitimately “Real” or Not?
Justin McLendon
Grand Canyon University

Chapter 9 Is Virtual Baptism a “Real” Baptism?
John Paul Arceno
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Chapter 10 Fetishism of Printed Bibles and the Spirit of Digital Bibles in African Christianity
Daniel Nii Aboagye Aryeh
Perez University College, Ghana

Chapter 11 Christian Faith, the Intellect and Rational Management of Technology in Zimbabwe
Robert Matikiti and Lucky Mutanga
Christ College of Zimbabwe

Chapter 12 Anima Ex Machina: Can Artificial Intelligence Have Soul?
John Swann
B. H. Carroll Theological Institute

Chapter 13 Will Androids Need Salvation? A Dialogue with Chalmers’ Philosophy of Mind
Jonathan Strand
Concordia University of Edmonton

Chapter 14 Does This Geth Unit Have a Soul? Aquinas and Origen on the Ethics of Transhumanism and AI in Mass Effect
Erin Archer
Concordia University of Edmonton

Chapter 15 Holograms and Idols: The Image of God and Artificial Transcendence in the Cultural Phenomenon of the Japanese Vocaloid Hatsune Miku
Kaz Hayashi
Baylor University

Bibliography
Index

William H. U. Anderson did his Ph.D. in Biblical Studies and Theology in Postmodern Literary Critical Circles at the University of Glasgow (Scotland). Dr. Anderson is Professor of Pop Culture and Religious Studies at Concordia University of Edmonton in Alberta (Canada) and has worked interdisciplinarily throughout his academic career. He was the Director of the Canadian Centre for Scholarship and the Christian Faith from 2011-2020 and hosted an annual conference on a different topic or theme every year. His next books with Vernon Press are Film, Philosophy and Religion expected to be out in 2021 and Anime, Philosophy and Religion in 2022.

Being, Enframing, Eros, Ethics, Mysticism, Technology, Truth; Certainty, Christian worldview, epistemology, Image of God, patternism/dataism, personhood, solipsism, simulation hypothesis Transhumanism; Complexity, consciousness, emergence, emergent, Emergentism, fine-tuning, materialism, naturalism, supervenience, teleology; Artificial Intelligence, Cultural Imperialism, Discernment of Spirits, morality, Ray Kurzweil, spirituality, Substantial Goods, transcendence; Artificial Intelligence, Bias in AI, Dialogue Systems, Ethics of AI, Homo Faber, Homo Religiosus, Personal Assistants, Posthuman Religion, Posthumanism, Post-Secular; Artificial Intelligence, Consciousness, Ethics, Moral Agent, Revelation; Canadian Presbyterianism, Communion, Worship Space, Worship Technology; Ecclesiology, Means of Grace, Preaching, Sacraments, Virtual Church; Baptism, E-Baptism, Immersion, Tecno-Culture, Virtual Reality, Virtual World; Africa, Bible, Charismatic Christianity, Digital, Healing, Miracle, Print, Technology, Theology; Apps, Christian Faith, Digital, Modernization, Rational Management, Social Media, Technology; Artificial Intelligence, Consciousness, Creation, Humanity, Image of God, Post-Humanism, Soul; Androids, Biology, Chalmers, Consciousness, Machines, Moral agency, Philosophy of Mind, Salvation; Cultural Hermeneutics, Digisexuality, Hatsune Miku, Hologram, Image of God, Japanese Popular Culture, Vocaloid

Bibliographic Information

Book Title
Technology and Theology
ISBN
978-1-64889-086-4
Edition
1st
Number of pages
350
Physical size
236mm x 160mm
Illustrations
3 B&W
Publication date
January 2021
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