Tuesday, May 28, 2013

John Dyer on Thinking Theologically on Technology and Culture

John Dyer is the author of From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology, a book on technology and its effects. It is an interesting read.

Here is a talk he did on the same subject at Dallas Theological Seminary that, like the book, is filled with some thought-provoking stuff. The basic premise is that technology affects everything, some in good ways and some in bad ways, but often in ways that we don’t think about or recognize. The downside of this presentation is the technology—you can’t see the screen, which means that you miss some things he is trying to communicate, particularly around 29:30.

Anyway, here are a few highlights.

Projecting the Scriptures on a screen may cause people to stop bringing their Bibles. Bad, right? Except that bringing personal copies of the Bible is a recent thing (50-100 years). And the screen may actually be more in line with church history where there were no individual Bibles, and everyone experienced Scripture in the same way at the same time.

Reading books moved towards individualism because reading a book is something you (generally) do alone.

Verse numbers twitterized the Bible, and thus changed the way that we encounter it, moving away from stories to statements. The words haven’t changed, but the way we read it has.

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