Tillich and Technology: An Analysis of Tillich’s Concept of Humanization in an Age of Technology

The intersection between theology and technology posits dilemmas as to how to use technology morally. Enthusiastic technophiles acknowledge the temporary negative side effects of specific technologies but are certain that these can be limited. On the other hand, humanist critiques emphasize that technological advances, although desirable in themselves, are destructive of the culture that enables people to live together. The debates over how to appropriate technology in a Christian framework are not new. Yet, the questionable use of technology is a continuous struggle for our current technical society. Some of the basic questions that require an answer regard: (1) how Christians are to relate to a techno-society and (2) how technology reshapes the ways in which humans relate to each other. To attempt an answer to these pressing questions, the dialogue of the theology of Paul Tillich with twentieth-century technology appears to be relevant. In that sense, this paper will argue that Tillich’s theology of love is a potential resource to finding humanization in the age of technology.
To prove this thesis, the work reconstructs Tillich’s theological view of anthropology and its relation to technology. First, the paper describes Tillich’s theoretical foundations. Three major factors are identified that shaped the Tillichian epistemology: Marxist humanism, the social theory of Max Weber, and the critical investigation of societal norms by the Frankfurt School of Critical Thought. The second section briefly covers Tillich’s doctrine of man under the dogma of an existentialist theology. This division also presents Tillich’s concept of the multidimensional unity of life and ends with an overview of Tillich’s understanding of a theology of evolution. The third division discusses Tillich’s doctrine concerning technology by evaluating the Tillichian analysis of some of technology’s adverse effects on human beings. The last part of the paper deals with humanization in the age of technology. Tillich’s solution to a technological society is agapeic love. The Tillichian agapeic theology of technology implies a love that cares for the human beings without taking away their freedom, even their freedom to suffer for the sake of others.

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