“On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”
Peter Steiner in The New Yorker July 5, 1993
Theologians comment on
how the internet changes
our world, our life,
Digital natives are
“Those born and
raised in a digital
Which one are you?
Digital immigrants think …
“Everything invented before you were
born is just ‘stuff’.
Everything invented between birth and
the age of 30 is wonderful.
Everything invented after you turn 30 will
bring about the death of society”.
But does God really care
about “internet media”?
“God’s media are many:
stone-tablets, scrolls, talking
donkeys, prophets, mighty-
voices, still-whispers ….
Any serious study of God is
a study of communication...”
The internet changes the way we learn
“There’s a information overload…our intellects are spread
a mile wide and an inch deep” Shane Hipps
“We are becoming reliant on the internet for outsourcing
our memory. We no longer remember things, we just
know where to look for them – including the Bible”
The internet changes the way
The printing press changed
society fundamentally – the
internet does it again
“Society is increasingly
connecting and fragmenting
at the same time”
“More connected does not
necessarily mean better
“ Like road-rage – there is
separation from the other
person” Glen Marshall
“When we go online it’s as if
we leave part of our humanity
behind” Pete Phillips
“What does the fruit of the
spirit look like online?” Bex Lewis
“Practice not being a jerk in
real life and your online
behaviour will follow suit”
And we easily give and take ofence …
Who we learn FROM may be changing
What happened to accountability?
In most church structures authority comes with
accountability - but online coolness can make anyone an
“Everyone thinks they are the best theologian in the
world because they have a voice online”
“Google will list answers according to “relevance”
– it will not list them according to “rightness”
We are accustomed to
managing small pieces of
information – frequently – with
lots of interruptions BUT …
“A good portion of the Christian
life requires the ability to
concentrate … spiritual depth
requires the ability to pray for
more than a few minutes, to read
and memorise Scripture, to love
God with all our hearts and all
our minds” John Dyer
How we relate to God may be changing
When viewing internet theology …
… ask 3 questions:
• Who is writing this?
Why did they write it?
• Do I believe or mistrust it
because of my prejudices?
Am I willing to be open-minded
within the limits of Biblical truth?
• What is this asking me to love?
Are they the things Jesus would
have loved? Young & Kinaman
• Switch your devices off. There’s a social
expectation that we answer every email and
always know what’s going on.
You don’t have to!
View the infographic
Bennett, J.M. (2012), Aquinas On the Web? – doing theology in an internet age, T&T
Dyer, J. (2011), From the Garden to the City – the redeeming and corrupting power of
technology, Kregel Publications.
Hipps, S. (2009), Flickering Pixels, Zondervan.
Meadows, P.R. (2012), Mission and Discipleship in a Digital Culture (Paper),
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.
Young, J. and Kinaman, D. (2013), The Hyperlinked Life, Zondervan.
Pete Phillips - Director CODEC Durham University
John Griffiths - Consultant
Glen Marshall - Principal Northern Baptist College
Bex Lewis - Snr Lecturer Manchester Metropolitan University