FULLER dialogues: Becoming Digital Neighbors

+ The Fuller Missiology Lectures is an annual conference held by the School of Intercultural Studies. The 2019 lectures “Techno-Sapiens in a Networked Era: Becoming Digital Neighbors” explored how digital technology shapes human interaction, virtue formation, and engagement with the cultural and religious other. The conference was hosted by Amos Yong, dean of the School of Theology and the School of Intercultural Studies, Kutter Callaway, associate professor of theology and culture, and Ryan Bolger, associate professor of church in contemporary culture.

“It is significant to consider how datafication forms the socio-technical context within which missional life is expressed” – Pauline Cheong

+ In her lecture “Data, Discernment & Duty: Illuminating Engagement in the Internet of Things,” Pauline Cheong, professor and director of engagement and innovation at Arizona State University, explores the implications that intensifying datafication has on religious life and missional engagement.

+ In her lecture “When Religious Internet Memes about Religion are Mean: Loving the Religious Other,” Heidi Campbell, professor of communication at Texas A&M University, considers how Internet memes can negatively shape popular understandings of the religious other—and how we can respond with positive counter narratives.

+ Pauline Cheong, Marcia Clarke, Heidi Campbell, and Erik Aasland discuss data collection, Internet memes, and learning about the religious other, in a panel moderated by Ryan Bolger.

+ In her lecture “A New Neighbor or a Divisive Force?,” Noreen Herzfeld, Reuter Professor of Science and Religion at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, speaks about the image of God and asks whether we can consider AI a new kind of neighbor.

+ In her lecture “The Techno Human: Better World or Deeper Problems?,” Ilia Delio, OSF, Josephine C. Connelly Chair in Theology at VIllanova University, considers the issues of digital dualism that arise with emerging Artificial Intelligence.

“It’s not about ‘are we getting smarter?’ but ‘does this deepen love?’” – Ilia Delio

+ Noreen Herzfeld, Kirsteen Kim, Ilia Delio, and Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen discuss embodiment and transhumanism in a panel moderated by Kutter Callaway.

+ Bala Musa, Matthew Eppinette, Clarissa Joan Middleton, Enoch Charles, and Greg Cootsona share about the conversations they led during the conference’s lunch-time breakout sessions. The panel is moderated by Ryan Bolger.

+ In their lecture “Positive Youth Development and Technology: Developing Character in Youth in the Present Technological Landscape,” Sarah A. Schnitker, associate professor of psychology at Baylor University, and Madison Kawakami Gilbertson, PhD student in psychological science, explore how digital technology might advance young people’s spiritual lives and virtues.

“Technological developments and the technologically mediated interactions they occasion are concrete expressions of in-spirited Humans”

+ In her lecture “Back to the Future: Immortal But Not Fully Alive,” Angela Gorrell (PhD ’16), assistant professor of practical theology at Truett Theological Seminary, examines what life-affirming Christian witness should look like during this period of technological development.

“What should be the ultimate aim of technological solutions, improvement, and self-transformation from a Christian perspective? . . . Christians witness to the hope of becoming more fully human.” – Angela Gorrell

+Sarah Schnitker, Madison Kawakami Gilbertson, Susan Maros, Angela Gorrell, and Wilmer Villacorta discuss virtue formation, power, and salvation, in a panel moderated by Kutter Callaway.