This introduction may be something more like back-of-the-envelope guesswork than verified science, but bear with me since I don’t want to take a deep dive into the Googleverse right now to look it up. But think about the history of human communication for a minute.
Let’s say we can peg the start of the history of human communication to the origin of speech, around 500,000 BCE. Fast forward a couple hundred thousand years and we might see the first use of technology in communication with the introduction of symbols about 30,000 years BCE. There we get cave paintings, petroglyphs, pictograms and ideograms. Tens of thousands of years pass and we get writing was the major innovation, then printing technology and, more recently, analog and digital telecommunications, and of course, the Internet.
Now think about how quickly one form of communication technology has been eclipsed or been supplanted by the next one. For example, it has been only 100 years since the first radio broadcast. And that brings us to this week’s topic, communication, technology, and the development of religious doctrine. To start us off, think about this:
If the gap from the first radio broadcast to today has only been about a century, what kind of modes of communication do you envision 100 years from now?
The writing of the Bible, like other traditions’ scriptures, was dependent upon the available technologies at the time: originally oral communication, later written down on tablets, scrolls, and parchment. Given the rapid advancement of human communication, could something like a singular holy book be created (or received) today?
Related to this, let’s talk about the role of available technology in the founding of various religious traditions. But more importantly, how do you think changes and developments in technology, especially communications technology, will affect religious life in the future. The pandemic forced many churches to adopt new, technologically enabled, ways of worship. Will those continue when religious communities are able to once again safely gather in person?
We’ll talk about all this and probably other unrelated stuff as well in our online conversation this week. Join us tomorrow evening beginning at 7 pm for our virtual discussion. Click on the link below to be part of the conversation.