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The relationship between religion, science, and technology is like bread and butter. There is no way to separate them as each are dependent on each other to operate. Societies organized by religion have created the foundations that modern technology and science operate from. Scholars from Pagan, Christian, and Islamic backgrounds developed the individual elements of the scientific method used today.

Philosophers, scientists, theologians throughout history have stated the interdependence between religion, science, and technology, including Francis Collins, Augustine of Hippo, Francisco Ayala, Kenneth R. Miller, Thomas Aquinas. Roger Bacon, the man who formalized the scientific method, was a Franciscan friar. Historians of science and mathematicians such as John Lennox, Thomas Berry, and Brian Swimme shared these views.

Although there are many factors that influence the development of technology such as coincidence, natural resources, environment, ambitions for economic growth. Religion has had a major role in shaping cultures, influencing social behaviors and the technology that we use today.

How Religion Affects the Technology We Use Today

Religion has a significant affect on the technologies used by everyday people today. From the way we communicate to the scientific theories we use to produce technology. In the thirteenth century devout Christian Johan Gutenberg invented the printing press because he needed to find a way to publish and print as many copies of the Bible as possible for everyone to have access to it. You see, prior to this invention books were largely reserved for those wealthy enough or influential enough to afford them. If you wanted to read the Bible you needed to have access to one. You also needed to be educated enough to read it.

old wooden printing press Johan Gutenberg
Pictured old wooden printing press

Gutenberg’s press pioneered the ability to have movable type sets to make printing way less expensive than before. This revolutionized accessibility to the Bible and all books, making education available to the majority instead of the social elite. Without the religion of Christianity Johan may never have had the passion to invent the printing press. Mass media communications as we know it today were shaped by this invention, innovating exchange of information and transforming society.

Scientific research from Copernicus, Robert Boyle, Rene Descartes, and Isaac Newton were sponsored and funded by religious institutions. Religion isn’t always helpful because people are involved and not all religions are founded in objective truth. An example many people think of is the trials of Galileo Galilee, although he was not nearly as persecuted as we are led to believe.

Religions that Don’t Believe in Electronics

When considering religions that don’t believe in electronics most people will think of the Amish and Mennonite movements that were started over 500 years ago from the Reformation. The Amish traditionally did not accept modern technology and electronics while the Mennonite were more open to it.

Horse pulling amish buggy on dirt country road.

Amish and Mennonite religions seek to live a simple way of life. Both are increasingly adopting technology like computers, battery operated lights, and they even utilize real-estate websites to buy and sell their properties. There are still traditional sects of Amish and Orthodox Jew that adhere strictly to living without electronics and technology, but in researching most will realize these groups utilize technology daily, they just decide what particular decade they want to freeze it in.

“We believe the lifestyle of simplicity, modesty, is very important,” Donny said. “We love it. We believe it’s the right way, we still adhere to that.” – Donny Swartzentruber a Mennonite


Neo-Luddism is the name for a modern philisophy which opposes many forms of modern technology. It is a leaderless movement with a wide variety of groups that desires all technology devolve into a more primitive form as a means to alleviate the negative affects it has had on our lives. It finds its roots from the English Luddite movement between 1811 and 1816. Luddites oppose all forms of technology while neo-luddites only oppose technology deemed destructive to society.

The leader of the Luddites, 1812. Hand Colored etching.

Neo-Luddite Characterizations:

  • Leaving technology.
  • Sabotaging technology.
  • Simple living.
  • Groups that adhere to it include: anarcho-primitivism, radical environmentalism, deep ecology, and the anti-globalization movement.

How Technology Affects Our Spirituality

Technology has consumed our everyday lives. There are apps to track and help people develop healthy tech habits, tracking down to the hour and minute of use. Technology is a tool that can be used in a way that affects our spirituality positively or negatively. It is important to know that we are responsible for our spiritual health. How we interact with technology needs to be defined in our daily lives as developers are making technology more and more consumable, easier to use, wear, and share.

The creator of the infinite scroll feature, you know the one that allowed you to waste lots of time looking at photos of how great other people’s lives are on Instagram? Yeah, that one. He said he is sorry for making it because of its influence on tech addiction. Look around you the next time you are at a restaurant, faces in phones all over the room. One of the more depressing sights is when parents use technology as a digital pacifier for their kids.

top view of smartphone lying on wooden board with cutlery, phone addiction concept
Top view of smartphone lying on wooden board with cutlery, phone addiction concept.

Overall people have a hard time leaving their phone behind, leading theorists to believe it has become an extension of the human brain, an idea popularized by trans-humanist proponents. When the internet connection is slow studies show a correlation with psychological issues . There is even research documenting that technology is changing how our brains function. Technology creating new neural pathways and causing information overload in other areas.

Ways Technology Affects Our Brains:

  • Neuroplasticity, neural pathway association. Unused pathways weaken just like a muscle.
  • Information overload in the prefrontal cortex makes it difficult to control impulses, harder to focus, poor decisions witht time, and hinders development of long-term memory.

Most Christians are wandering dangerously into the fast innovation of technology without regard for how it is affecting their spirituality. These changes to the brain and psychology affect prayer, contemplation, study of scripture, and memorizing God’s word. It has changed our social interaction with each other in fellowship, how we interact in worship, and our relationship with God. Whether its use of readers, game consoles, streaming tv, computers, smart wearables, or tablets technology is weaved in our daily lives.

“In the tourbillion of life, we are much more likely to be practicing the presence of the smartphone than the presence of God. We are much more likely to be tuned into the blessings of convenience, comfort and control than the blessings of God”

Source: Dovich, Laurel, “Digital Media Technology and Your Spiritual Life: An Uneasy Alliance” (2017). Christian Engineering Conference. 2.
The Functional MRI brain scan image on the left displays brain activity while
reading a book; the image on the right displays activity while engaging in an Internet
The Functional MRI brain scan image on the left displays brain activity while
reading a book; the image on the right displays activity while engaging in an Internet
search. Source: UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations.

Because technology has become a requisite for our daily lives we have to be intentional about how we engage with it moving forward. What kind of habits are we actively developing with technology? We need to think about what it is doing to our brains, hearts and souls.

Ways Technology Affects Our Habits:

  • “Always on” anxiety. We have become more accessible than ever, and expected to be available to those around us 24/7. Many use apps now that allow others to see their location anytime.
  • Multi-tasking pressure from efficiency overload. Working with dozens of window tabs, notifications from emails, social media, texts, the minute they come in. How much of our time is being used effectively?

In Phillipians 2:12 it says to “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;”and in 2 Peter 1:10 “Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choice of you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;” As Christians we must stay diligent, actively involved in shaping how our hyper-connected lives may detract from the presence of Jesus in our lives and where we are getting our fulfillment from. Christian developers should be at the forefront of the charge to make sure digital use does not shut Jesus out of people’s every day lives. We shoulder the responsibility of educating the World how to use technology responsibly, and in a redemptive way.

Can Christians Use Technology?

Christians have and will continue to utilize technology as a means to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Looking at the history of technology it is apparent that Christians have been on the forefront of science, technology, and religion.
The early church utilized the technology of the Roman Roads. This road system was spread throughout the known world and allowed for expedient travel and communication, even though it was invented for a different purpose. Christians saw a redemptive use for it to travel as missionaries.

Lightstream Pocket device created by Renew Outreach shown playing the Jesus Film.

Throughout history Christians have invented or adapted the use of technology for redemptive purposes. This is exactly what we’re seeing today with the use of the internet and electronics. When the internet was invented Christians were there. In the face of de-platforming Christian software, electronics are being developed to as an alternative. Renew Outreach is a great example of this. Where the traditional internet is no longer available for Christians new communication avenues are being utilized such as Tor, I2p, Freenet, Zeronet, IPFS, Lokinet, and Yggdrasil. The Bible4U project has already set up translations of the Bible on these networks for people to access all over the world unhindered.

What Christianity and the Bible Says About Technology

God created us with creative ability. We are able to to use all kinds of tools in this sandbox called life that God has put us in to Glorify him. Tools like art, literature, music, and technology. For most of history Christians have been leaders in these categories. The Bible has clear references to all kinds of societal institutions. Our technological creativity is from our being made in the image of God. Therefore we can choose to celebrate technology as being part of God’s creation and partake of it in a redemptive way.

Genesis 1:28 says “God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” The first man and woman were given this cultural mandate, we continue it to this day. The command to fill the Earth is not only to populate it but to multiply it culturally as well, this includes utilizing and developing technology.

The Following are Verses Related to the Use of Technology for Both Good and Bad Purposes Throughout the Bible:

  • Cain builds a city (Gen. 4:17)
  • In the lineage of Cain, Jubal was “His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and flute.” (Gen. 4:21 NASB) and Tubal-Cain, “As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.” (Gen. 4:22 NASB). It is worth noting that bronze is an alloy made from copper and tin, showing a certain sophistication in Tubal-Cain’s tooling technology.
  • Noah is directed by God to build an ark. Using God’s engineering instructions, Noah built this complex transport. (Gen. 6)
  • The tower of Babel was a monument to man’s sinful pride, which led God to confuse the languages. (Gen. 11)
  • In an example of civil engineering Abraham and Isaac dug wells in Genesis 21 and Genesis 26.
  • Filled with the Spirit of God Bezalel built the tabernacle “And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to create artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, so that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.” (Exod. 31:3–5 NASB).
  • Aaron fashioned an idol in the form of a golden calf using a tool in Exodus 32:4.
  • King Solomon builds the temple in 1 Kings 6, and we learn of Huram, who is skilled in bronze work, in 1 Kings 7.
  • King Uzziah employs “skillful men” (engineers) in 2 Chronicles 26:15 to design machines to shoot arrows and hurl large stones. However, after Uzziah becomes powerful, his pride leads to his downfall (v. 16).
  • Psalm 20 examines human reliance on technology: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (Psa. 20:7)
  • Isaiah prophesies that the people who go up to the mountain of the Lord will “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” (Isa. 2:4)
  • Jesus uses technology examples in the Sermon on the Mount and other parables, such as:
  • House construction is described in the story of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7:24–27.
  • City gates are described in Matthew 7:13–14
  • Cities and lamps are described in Matthew 5:14–16
  • Fishing nets are used in Matthew 13:47–50
  • Oil lamps are used in Matthew 25:1–13
  • The used of coins in Luke 15:8–10
  • Paul communicates with the early churches by letters (which are then copied and distributed)
  • Paul speaks of the armor of God in Ephesians 6
  • History begins in the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8) but ends with the Holy City (Rev. 21:2)

Works Cited:

DeWitt, Calvin. “Christians and the Environment: How Should Christians Think about the Environment? – Christian Research Institute.”Christian Research Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2016.

Ehrlich, Paul R. “Human Natures: Genes Cultures, and the Human Prospect” Island Press, 2000, pp. 203-252.

Kroeker, By Kirk L. “Interview with the Episcopal Church’s Tom Ferguson.” Technology and Religion. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2016.

Ross, Cody. “China and Gunpowder.” Middle Ages Technologies. Four Rivers Charter, n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2016.

Uyehara, Kazuo. :Religion and Technology”. Swarthmore College. 2 February 2006.

Whitbeck, R. H. “The Influence of Geographical Environment upon Religious Beliefs.” (n.d.): n. pag. Geographical Review. American Geographical Society, 10 Apr. 2016. Web.

White, Jr., Lynn. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” Science 155 (1967): 1203-7.

Wyeth, Will. “Technology and the Crusades.” All Things Late Roman”. N.p., 29 Mar. 2010. Web.