We are grateful to Revd. Dr. John Reader who has produced a new and ground-breaking module on Ecology, Technology, and Theology. This builds on an earlier publication from the William Temple Foundation on the Digital and the Environmental. At a time when environmental issues are high on the churches’ agenda notably with the Net Zero Carbon target of 2030, the module will enable students to understand how our dependence upon digital technologies has both detrimental and positive impacts on our relationship with the natural world. Ecology, as the relationship between physical beings and their surroundings, technology, the application of scientific knowledge, and theology, the study of God, are linked. In modern-day society, we already have an extensive understanding of how human actions affect the ecology of the natural world. We live alongside the digital technology we have created and use it in our day-to-day lives. Theologians ask where God is in our relationship with technology and the natural world. The module interrogates the relationship between these three areas, and in particular addresses the question, ‘What impact, positive and negative, does digital technology have on our natural ecology, and how can we think and act theologically to address this impact?’ It will become clear that such technologies are far from being neutral tools but are always intimately connected with and entangled in our relationships with the creation and require critical evaluation. Artificial Intelligence is a very important example of this. Theological areas relevant to the debate are the doctrines of creation, incarnation, and evil. The aims are that students will become more aware of the connections between environmental issues and digital technology and to encourage theological reflection upon this relationship with specific reference to those theological doctrines.
Images- creative commons.