Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Theology After Google

This past week there was a "Theology After Google" conference in California. I did not attend, and don't know much about it, but just listened to a podcast about it. I recognize Google is playing a new role in our current era. We know the printing press had a huge impact on Christianity. It put the printed Bible into the hands of the common folk. The internet is taking this a step further. With a simple search one can access volumes of past and present Christian resources larger than pastors and church leaders in previous generations could have collected on their bookshelves.

A couple of thoughts...
  • The printing press allowed Christians to send written messages to the masses.
  • Radio allowed Christians send audio message to the masses.
  • TV allowed Christians to send video and audio to the masses.
  • The internet is sending video, audio, and text... but it is allowing the masses to also interact with the message... search for answers to their own questions, and dialog with others on similar journeys.
Yes these are potentially dangerous times for theology. Individually we need to rely on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and other wise godly people in our lives, or we could potentially go way off track. It is much safer if the masses would just follow the teachings of the trained leaders of the Church. (But which church tradition? The ones that have the longest history, that have changed the least over time??? Or a church tradition founded on questioning past traditions, yet hesitant to allow it's traditions to be questioned...)

Then I had to check what searches are common with Google:
Ouch... 'Christianity' is taking a bit of a beating by the average Google user.

At least God and Jesus are fairing a bit better.

And I see some interesting searches for the term church.

It's good to recognize what tools and sources we allow to influence our beliefs.

Past generations benefited from radio, tv, and the printing press to spread the good news of Jesus. I just thought it's interesting to recognize the role the internet is playing today.


Al said...

Thanks for the results of your Google searches--quite revealing!

I think organized Christianity of the day didn't like easy access to copies of the Bible, because it took away from the authority of the church leadership.

In more recent times, organized Christianity hasn't liked radio or TV because it took $$ away from the historical organization, and put them in the hands of upstarts.

For better or worse, I expect organized Christianity will not like easy access to information through Google et al.

At the same time, I think there has been lots of value in upsetting the structure of the organization, and putting more responsibility in the hands of the hoi polloi. There are many pitfalls in letting us loose with this much information (or mis-information), but the organization hasn't exactly been exonerated in its handling of its authority over the centuries.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Al for adding that perspective. I think you are right that at the time the "church" did not appreciate the freedoms brought by the printing press. It was the "heritics" that made the most of it. But in hindsight we see that there were benefits.

hoi polloi... I needed google to translate that one. :)

God bless.