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Craig Detweiler on Apple, Google and other "iGods"

Josh Larsen

Calvin College's January Series is still underway, but organizers were kind enough to share this video of one of the more intriguing talks so far: Craig Detweiler's discussion of "iGods."

Based on his book, iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives, Detweiler's presentation explored the "big four" entities that dominate our digital existence - Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google - and the technological tools we use to interact with them.

The central question Detweiler asks is whether or not technology has become an idol. “Is this what we now center our lives around?" he wondered. "Has technology become a kind of religion that we’ve placed our faith in?”

Far more than a diatribe against tech, however, the talk instead considers its potential as a "consolation and a comfort amidst sin." Especially compelling was his comparison of technology with God's original creative act, suggesting that the digital separation of ones and zeroes is an heir to God's separation of light from dark.

Detweiler ultimately proposes a sort of digital discipleship, one focused on “how to love and care for one another both online and offline.” It was encouraging to hear someone so immersed in technology acknowledge the importance of offline life. “The rarest thing today is our undivided attention," Detweiler said. "That’s a real sign of love – when you actually put down your device.”

Detweiler is professor of communication and the director of the Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University. We'll continue to livestream the January Series at our Chicago-area offices through Jan. 27. More details and a speaker schedule can be found here.

Topics: Online, Culture At Large, Science & Technology, Technology, Gadgets