Spiritual technologies: Exploring the intersections between religion and modern tech

religion in the digital age

From brain-based tech designed to trigger, enhance, accelerate, modify or measure spiritual experiences to new spiritual movements in Silicon Valley and the everyday ways technology is used in worship and devotion, there is a brave new world of transcendent tech giving both pious pioneers and defenders of traditional religion something to ponder.


Background

In scholarly circles, “spiritual technology” is used to refer to any practice believed to enhance a person’s religious practices or identification. Here, we are talking specifically about the increased interplay between technology and spirituality.

Technology has always played a role in religion and spiritual practices have long involved technologies of various kinds. For millennia, revolutions in travel, printing and digital technologies were impacted by — and significantly transformed — religious traditions.

But today, innovators across religious traditions are actively probing the ways technology can be used yet again to augment and modify spiritual experiences (and vice versa).

The examples are numerous: from ultrasound beams for fast-tracking attempts at enlightenment to church in the “Metaverse,” Christian NFTs and online dating by Orthodox Jews and conservative Muslims. Meanwhile, as the space race heats back up in the private sphere and more people are going to space as paying passengers than as government employees, people are beginning to wonder what religion might look like … in spaaaaace!

While regulators in Europe, China and the U.S. try to rein in tech giants, things like electronically mediated meditation and virtuous virtual reality are no longer fringe exercises, but part of commonplace conversations everywhere from churches in the Midwest to coffee shops in Silicon Valley.

Thankfully, there are researchers, experts and other policy briefs here to help us appreciate the trends, trace the background and understand the technological terms that are coming at us hard and fast:

The Angel of Technology

Related stories

The following stories run the gamut of religion and tech intersections. Whether you are looking for stories on “Israel’s ultra-Orthodox tech scene” or new Sikh emojis, Bitcoin epiphanies or “space pagans,” you will find a story below that will take you deeper into the convergence of high-tech spirituality on offer across traditions and around the world.

Technology and Faith


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Image Credit: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann, BBC / Religion Apps

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