John Caputo on Cyberspace

Far from undermining religious sensibilities, the advanced communication technologies are actually trading in religious goods and thus provide a new space, a cyberspace, for religious imagination. For if, as I have been arguing, religion disturbs our sense of reality and leaves us a little unhinged, if it causes our pre-set sense of the real and the possible to tremble by exposing us to something hyper-real, then the communications revolution going on in our midst, with its accompanying sense of “virtual reality,” which gives us the power to “visit” distant “sites” in cyberspace with the click of a mouse, is laced with religious implications. We have begun, God help us, to tamper with our sense of what is real. But is that not what every religious figure from the Jewish prophet to the televangelist has dreamed of doing? To break the grip of material actuality and open our eyes to being otherwise, to a dimension beyond reality that lifts the limits imposed upon us by presence and actuality – is that not something that classical religion has been trying to do ever since Moses took a hammer to Aaron’s golden calf, which tried to contract the transcendence of God to a physical object?

John Caputo, On Religion, 68

Published by Wess Daniels

Teacher, author, Quaker, ​and public theologian. Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College.

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