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  • Hubert Marlin

Technology and Religion


Science and religion seem to be antagonistic in their process of understanding. If science focuses on logic and reason, religion is based solely on the faith and conviction of a higher power. Belief or religious faith is not based on any material proof, while science, and especially, its materialistic aspect, is based on tangible data to explain its paradigm. Also, when we believe in religion, in technology we know. Knowledge seems to be in the real, whereas belief remains fictitious, immaterial. However, in religion as in technology, there is a logic of escape and improvement of the tarnish or nuisance that nature would have imposed on humanity. Also, the human being must use his creative genius to improve his earthly experience, by influencing his ecosystem as well, by transforming it by the processes related to the habitat, without forgetting, to improve himself by using methods ranging from medicine to trans humanism, based on advances in artificial intelligence and biology to promise the abolition of old age, sickness and death and the emergence of a new humanity . Does a science that would provide adequate answers to the anxieties of humanity would become a religion? Is it necessary to celebrate the human genius which, by the origin of its divine creation, as the majority of monotheistic religions attest, does God's work, in improving humans and their environment? Does technology try to substitute God by mimicking and explaining it?

Several researchers believe that people's craze for religiosity is strictly related to the level of technological and economic development. economically less developed peoples who have a low degree of penetration of scientific and technological knowledge tend to shed more in religion. An assertion that seems logical because the inexplicable seems at all times, return to religion. Also, in some countries the appearance of rainbows in skies during rainy seasons, can be understood as events mystically explainable in the experience of popular beliefs. The rainbow looks like a giant bridge or a gate and is often called "the path of the sky". Many people believe that the rainbow is a ray of light falling on the Earth when St. Peter opens the doors of heaven to let in another soul. In Hawaii, Polynesia, Austria, Japan and for some Native American tribes, the rainbow is the path that souls take in their way to heaven and it's called the bridge or ladder to go higher up, or in other worlds. The Russians say that the rainbow is the gateway to heaven. In New Zealand, dead leaders would travel on the rainbow to their new home. Other myths say that the rainbow is a stream where souls drink. The Zulu of South Africa names the rainbow "the Queen Arch" because it is one of the frames that supports the house of the Queen of Heaven. In Germany, the second paler rainbow that can sometimes be seen above the first is seen as the work of Satan trying to outdo God. However, in science the rainbow is nothing but a mixture of water and light observable, through a glass of water placed against the light beam of a light bulb, even if the same colors are produced, in a smaller magnitude, this explains that.

In religion people want to escape suffering, by faith and the practice of certain rites, that often defy all logic, whereas in science the problems that the human encounters are trying to find their solution in so-called logical and technical processes. In general, when the technology does not meet the expectations of the human being, the latter seems to become more religious. It is not uncommon to see the terminally ill from an incurable disease whose science could not save, simply surrender to God, hoping for a miracle. Similarly, when comfort and technological change do not seem to protect against natural disasters, there is usually a peak of religiosity in disaster-affected populations. In 2011, for example, a massive earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, which is a country known for its degree of secularism. The people who witnessed this event experienced a sudden spurt of religiosity, while the rest of the country remained as secular as ever. Psychologists attempting to explain the reason for logic and the reason for religion in the human being readily evoke the "Theory of the Double Process". Which states that humans have two very basic systems of thought. System 1 and System 2. If System 2 would have evolved relatively recently, it is that voice in our head. This narrator who never seems to be silent - which allows us to plan and think logically. System 1, on the other hand, is intuitive, instinctive and automatic. These abilities would develop regularly in humans, regardless of where they are born. It relates specifically to survival mechanisms. System 1, for example, gives an innate revulsion of spoiled meat, allows us to speak our mother tongue without thinking about it, and gives babies the ability to recognize parents and distinguish living objects from non-living objects. This makes us inclined to look for patterns to better understand our world and to look for meaning in seemingly random events such as natural disasters or the death of loved ones. In addition to helping us navigate the dangers of the world and find a partner, some scholars believe that System 1 has also allowed religions to evolve and perpetuate themselves. System 1, for example, makes us instinctively ready to see vital forces - a phenomenon called hypersensitive agency detection - wherever we go, whether they are present or not. Millennia ago, this trend has probably helped us avoid hidden dangers, such as lions squatting in the grass or venomous snakes hidden in the bush. But it has also made us vulnerable to the inference of the existence of invisible agents; it could take the form of a benevolent god watching us, of an unsatisfied ancestor punishing us by a drought, or of a monster hidden in the shadows.Likewise, System 1 encourages us to see things in a dualistic way, which means that we have trouble conceiving the mind and the body as one unit. This tendency is apparent early in young children. Regardless of their cultural context, humans tend to believe that they have an immortal soul, that their essence or personality existed somewhere before birth and will continue to exist. This arrangement is easily assimilated to many existing religions where, a little creativity added, lends itself to the development of original constructions. However, it is important to note that the existence of this innate propensity to religiosity is not always a view of the mind for the believer who sometimes can find adequate answers in the practice of his religion without knowing how his prayers were answered , just as in science or mathematics a conjecture, is a real fact that one cannot unfortunately prove by a mathematical formula, but which the result is always known without explanation, a bit like in the religious faith, where the believer knows that God exists, even though he cannot always prove it.It also happens that science tends rather to prove the existence of God. Dr. Penfield, pioneer in the field of advanced surgery, had expanded the methods and techniques of brain surgery. His scientific contributions to neural stimulation extended to a variety of topics, including hallucinations, illusions, and déjà vu. A believing Scientist, he was one of those who, after the principle of belief in the omnipotence of the science of the ages of light and the industrial revolution, thought that science was only a tool for explaining things often more powerful than science. Also, he devoted much of his thought to mental processes, including the contemplation of the existence of a scientific basis that could prove the existence of the human soul. "The human soul can in many cases be confused with human consciousness and reasoning. This notion is reproduced in computer technology, by what is commonly called software, which are programs that are strictly composed following a certain logic, to perform tasks. Similarly, the human uses his brain and consciousness to think of the facts and actions that his body performs.The main peoples responsible for the application of religion to technology were the monastic orders, for whom work was already another form of prayer and worship. This was especially true for Benedictine monks. In the sixth century, practical arts and manual labor were taught as essential elements of monastic devotion, for the goal of all times, was the pursuit of perfection. Manual labor was not an end in itself, but was always done for spiritual reasons. The mechanical arts and technology were easily integrated into this program and were also invested with a spiritual purpose.The creation of works from the mind emphasized the divine essence. according to the dominant patristic theology, humans were divine only by their spiritual nature. The body was weak and sinful, so redemption could only be achieved by transcending the body. Technology provided a means to achieve this by enabling a human being to achieve far more than what was physically possible. Technology was declared by the Carolingian philosopher Erigena (who coined the term artes mechanicae, mechanical arts) as part of the original endowment of humanity from God, and not as a product of our last fallen state. He believed that the arts are "the bonds of man with the Divine [and] that they cultivate them as a means of salvation". Through efforts and studies, our powers prior to the decadence of the original sin, could be regained and we would be well on the path of perfection and redemption.

The development of millenarianism, or chiliasm (or, but erroneously, chialism), is a religious doctrine that supports the idea of a terrestrial reign of the Messiah, after he has driven out the Antichrist and before the last Judgment. This thought is present in certain currents of Judaism, in the Apocalypse of John, in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers and in Sunni and Shiite Islam. Millenarianism has a significant impact on the treatment of technology. For St Augustine, time being heavy and immutable, technological development once identified its spiritual importance, would have a clear view of the future of humanity. Technology would thus provide the assurance that humanity improves its position in life and succeeds in providing adequate answers to the challenges that nature poses to it. However, for other apocalyptic millenarians, technological progress was rather a harbinger of the end of times, which would see the victory of the Messiah against evil, to establish an era of peace and eternal happiness. Also, to this day in the popular imagination of some believers, technology is only decadence, a harbinger of the end of the world, when many think that in the time of digital information, with the Internet, social networks, and smartphones the veil that hid knowledge is torn apart and that the period of revelations prelude to the redemption and return of the Messiah has arrived.

In England the Enlightenment has played an important role in the development of technology as a material means, for spiritual purposes. Soteriology, (the study of salvation) and eschatology (the study of the end of times) were common concerns in scholarly circles. Most scholars took Daniel's prophecy very seriously. "many will run up and down and knowledge will be increased" (Daniel 12: 4) as a sign that the end is near.Their attempts to increase knowledge about the world and improve human technology were not part of an impartial program, that aimed simply to learn more about the world, but it rather wanted to be active in the millennial expectations of the Revelation. Technology has played a vital role as a mean by which humans have regained control of the natural world promised in Genesis, but that humanity has lost in its downfall.

As the historian Charles Webster points out, "Puritans sincerely believed that every step of the conquest of nature represented a movement towards the realization of the millenarian condition". For the monk Roger Bacon (Frater Rogerus: 1219/20 - 1292), science meant mainly technology and the mechanical arts, and it did not exist for esoteric purposes but for utilitarian purposes. One of his interests was to make sure that the Antichrist, would not be the exclusive possessor of technological tools in the coming apocalyptic battles. Bacon wrote this: The Antichrist will use these means freely and effectively, in order to crush and confuse the power of this world ... The Church should consider the use of these inventions because of the future perils that the Antichrist would bring to the world. He urged the authorities of the time, the princes and the church to invest in technological knowledge, so that good souls would be able to use the same weapons to defend themselves against the plans of the evil one.

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