Christian Scholarship And The Philosophical Analysis Of Cyberspace Technologies -- By: Douglas Groothuis

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 41:4 (Dec 1998)
Article: Christian Scholarship And The Philosophical Analysis Of Cyberspace Technologies
Author: Douglas Groothuis

Christian Scholarship And The Philosophical Analysis Of Cyberspace Technologies

Douglas Groothuis*

* Douglas Groothuis is assistant professor of philosophy of religion and ethics at Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary, P.O. Box 10,000, Denver, CO 80250.

I. The Challenge To The Christian Scholar

The recent explosion of cyberspace technologies in modern culture raises some salient questions for Christian scholars who endeavor to bring a Christian mind to bear on the analysis of these computer-mediated forms of communication. Responsible Christian scholars should serve both the Church and the culture at large by bringing Biblical tools of cultural analysis to the matters at hand. We should emulate the Hebrew tribe of Issachar “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chr 12:32). As Christians we are commanded to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor 10:5) and to be “transformed through the renewing of our minds” (Rom 12:2) in order to know the will of God in our day. These imperatives are especially cogent for the Christian scholar, whose public role of articulating perspectives to students, peers and the population at large constitutes an important teaching ministry. Although we may not teach in a local church in an official position, Christian scholars face the challenge of sober and careful thinking, writing and public speaking, for “we who teach will be judged more strictly” (Jas 3:1).

Those who hold a Christian worldview need to discern the nature and function of cyberspace interactions in order to appraise rightly their signifi-cance, worth, and potential for the Christian cause and the culture at large. Several recent philosophical and cultural analyses of cyberspace and its culture have applied various non-Christian viewpoints from postmodernism to pantheism. One’s philosophical orientation will to a large measure determine which questions to ask and what proposals to make with respect to cyberspace. For instance, Jeff Zaleski repeatedly asks the question of whether cyberspace can transmit prana, a Hindu term for spiritual energy.1 For Christians who do not believe in the existence of prana (an impersonal pantheistic force) the question is moot.2

A thoroughly Christian analysis of cyberspace brings to bear the questions and imperatives that flow out of a Biblical understanding of life, such as how the Holy Spirit—n...

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