We live in a technology-saturated world, full of wonder and amazement about what will be developed next and how it will influence our lives. The rate of technological innovation is faster than ever, and it often feels like we’re just getting started. How should we respond to this whirlwind of change?
In his recent book, Braving the Future: Christian Faith in a World of Limitless Tech, Douglas Estes helps Christians navigate these challenges by providing a theological and philosophical approach to technology. The main thrust of his argument is that technology is a tool Christians must learn to wield with wisdom. We need to develop a rich theology as we move into the new technological frontiers of virtual reality, autonomous machines, gene editing, artificial intelligence (AI), robots, nanotechnology, and cybernetics.
Estes is an associate professor of New Testament and practical theology at South University in Columbia, South Carolina, a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s science channel, and the editor of Didaktikos, a journal for theological education. He is also a self-proclaimed tech optimist who believes that technology, when used properly, will improve our lives and lead to greater flourishing for our neighbors.
Theological Approach to Technology
Estes approaches technology as a tool, not an active agent that has the power to form culture, mold human choice, and shape the future (39–40). Using this instrumentalist view, Estes shows how Christian theology provides a coherent worldview to navigate emerging technologies.
He does the reader a great service by explaining the often misunderstood concepts of materialism, pragmatism, humanism, and transhumanism in an accessible way using movies and stories to illustrate. Each chapter focuses on a single piece of technology, but his application often overlaps as he applies the doctrines of redemption, aseity, omnipotence, and omniscience to each.