By Craig Detweiler
Brazos Press, $17.99, 246 pages
In iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives, Craig Detweiler ponders the technologies that inform who we are: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Pixar, YouTube, Twitter. How does a Christian worldview interact with today’s social media culture? Rather than calling for a step back, as more wary Christian conservatives sometimes do, Detweiler asks that we function boldly within the culture of technology, weighing astutely the choices that we make. We must be careful, Detweiler argues, to not reduce the mightiness of God to an Amazon Prime product: “The Bible makes it clear that our ways are not God’s ways. We are called to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. The danger arises when we’ve fashioned that God out of our own shopping list” (93).
“So how might the surrender of our search function alter our hearts and minds? If Google seems to give us what we want, will we build in enough time and perspective to even consider what we need? I wonder what happens when we outsource searching. How do we decide what matters and what to pay attention to?”
The danger of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter is when we allow their influence to convince us that we, too, hold the prominence of what Detweiler calls “iGods”: “The temptation of Google goes back to the garden – to become like God. … The proper response remains timeless – resist temptation. Acknowledge how little we know despite the resources available. Practice humility because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (225). With a Ph.D. from Fuller Seminary and a self-proclaimed love of all things Apple, Detweiler presents a cogent, important argument in a book that shouldn’t be missed.
Reviewed by Jennie A. Harrop