This is Part 11 of my chapter-by-chapter blog of From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology by John Dyer. (Thankfully for you, it’s also my last.)
The subject of technology and how it relates to the Church certainly isn’t new, and there are a ton of different books and blogs and so on out there that have their own spin on it. The reason for that, I think, is because technology is a moving target. It’s constantly changing, and therefore how we think about it, how we approach it, and ultimately how we use it changes as well.
Technology, we said, is “the human activity of using tools to transform God’s creation for practical purposes.” It’s a means to an end, a bridge from one world to a better one, allowing us to overcome some sort of problem to accomplish a goal we couldn’t have on our own. Defining it further, we broke it down into four separate layers: technology as hardware, technology as manufacturing, technology as methodology, and technology as social usage. The first two layers, we concluded, are inherently neutral; a shovel is just a shovel. However, the knowledge used to create those tools and how the tools are used are most definitely not neutral; how we approach those various tools is determined by our own internal values but also has the ability to reshape those values over time.