Christianity, Arts and Monasticism in a Technological Age SophiaEuropa
This SophiaEuropa group brings together participants from diverse fields in sciences, humanities and the arts to consider the influence of technology on values in contemporary society, aiming to propose ways in which Christianity can enable right relationship and human flourishing through responsible engagement with technology. In addition to investigating the influences of technology on contemporary values and assessing the potential impact of Christian faith on culture, the group will design, produce, and disseminate practical resources for inspiring discussion on these topics in schools, workplaces, and selected public bodies. Some of the fundamental considerations include the pervasive nature of the Internet in disconnecting individuals from their external environments and the loss of the sense purposefulness, in lieu of increasing technical and functional aspects of life. Engaging a broad membership of monks from the abbey, scholars of theology, philosophy and human and natural sciences, business persons, and public servants, members will survey practical concerns of the impact of technology and its profound potential influences on culture and faith. Members will assess the potential contributions and special role of monastic cultural space, and other spiritual and artistic values, with technological culture in the design of resources for stimulating discussion. The project intends to provide a forum for the intelligent and systematic framing of the deeper implications for concepts of self, meaning, and societal leadership in relation to technological influence. The initiative convenes semesterly open forum meetings, inviting academics, teachers, pastors, scientists, theologians, policy makers, and the interested public to join the discussion. Plans include a pilot project to provide “information packs” for teachers in selected local high schools. Efforts are enhanced through a website, message board, and discussion list; a resource library; a bi-monthly newsletter; and radio appearances with Wired FM, the student radio station for Limerick City. Matching funds are provided by the Centre for Culture, Technology and Values at Mary Immaculate College.