Naming, Understanding and Redeeming the A/Human Agencies with Which We Share Our World
Keywords:New Testament, technology
In this paper I argue that an important strand of ecotheology should be an articulated techno-demonology—an understanding of the ways that technologies increasingly confront us as indifferent or malign agencies. Drawing particularly on the New Testament language of spiritual agencies, I consider in turn three necessary components of techno-demonology. First, techno-demonology needs a taxonomic nomenclature, one which ‘names’ techno-demonological phenomena in a manner that reveals the specific ways in which the technologies can stand before us as autonomous powers. As a contribution to this task I distinguish between elementals (stoicheia) and powers (dynameis)—between technical systems which have become treated as ends in themselves, and have thus started to control human action, and technologies whose unanticipated side-effects overwhelm their intended purposes. Second, I suggest that techno-demonology should include an understanding of how such techno-demons arise; I thus give historical explanations for the proliferation of technological elementals and powers in the contemporary world. Finally, I argue that techno-demonology should include the redemptive task of restoring technology to its rightful place in creation.
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