Introduction: A Summary of the Book

Faith, Hope, and Love in a Technological SocietyI plan to begin the lessons based on the book Faith, Hope, and Love in the Technological Society next week. Of course, I hope that you will buy a copy for $25 from Amazon (just click on the book; a portion benefits St. Judes) or for $20 from the publisher, Wipf and Stock, at 541-344-1528 or Amazon now has the Kindle edition for less than $10.

The editor wrote a pretty accurate summary that appears below in a green box.

Franz and Frederick Foltz examine how modern technology creates an environment that significantly affects Christianity by reducing the mysteries of faith to manageable techniques. The body of their work analyzes the effects of technology on the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love, the triad that believers have used for a common narrative to understand and express their thoughts and experiences. They begin by looking at how recent developments have brought us into a post-truth era by removing words from their context in nature, time, place, and community. Popular theologies such as the power of positive thinking, the laws of creation, the plan for salvation, and the prosperity gospel reflect this change by gearing all for efficiently getting what we want and ignoring tradition. The authors then examine each of the virtues separately, finding that faith has become a risk management tool that depends on confidence in systems rather than personal relationships, hope is defined as the expectation that our present desires shall be granted rather than a vision of the future, and love has become an intimacy that provides escape from the real world and community rather than a self-denying care for them. Finally, the authors take a look at some appropriate responses.

The blurbs supplied from some very distinguished people included:

“This extended reflection on the life (or lack) of the distinctively Christian virtues in the technoscientific dispensation can be read as a meditative challenge. The theological framework is Lutheran, but it draws as well on complementary traditions found in Jacques Ellul and Ivan Illich. Would that the churches might move such otherwise marginal questions into the center of ecclesiastical concern.” –Carl Mitcham, Renmin University of China, Beijing

“Rescuing us from catchy clichés, overused jargon, and overdone metaphors, the Foltzes advocate for an embodied sense of community that leverages technology for cultivating community, rather than poopooing it as a fad from which we need deliverance . . . we’re invited to dive deeply into the quintessential theological question, ‘What does this mean?’ A thinking person’s compendium on what beloved community might look like in a technological age.” –Bill Gohl, Bishop of Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA

“While today’s realm of innovative, digital, networked, global technology is impressive for the material powers it offers, such marvels come at a high price–a diminishing grasp of humanity’s deepest needs and commitments. Faith, Hope and Love in a Technological Society seeks to renew our grasp of concerns that truly matter, clarifying words and ideas often lost in today’s fog of media chatter . . . A down-to-earth handbook on the good life, the book is a joy to read.” –Langdon Winner, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York

Faith, Hope, and Love in the Technological Society is profound on two levels: the Christian and the secular. The authors brilliantly demonstrate the contradiction between practicing faith, hope, and love today, and a belief in technology, our chief idol and the dominant organizing force in society. Christians must resist the ideological justification of technology without opposing technology in and of itself.” –Richard Stivers, Illinois State University

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