Digitization is a sometimes radical, sometimes very subtle process of transformation in all areas of our social, church and personal lives. The Corona pandemic in particular has once again brought this home and led to a sharp increase in digital communication in many areas of life. Sound theoretical modeling and theological reflection often lag behind real developments and the imaginaries spun around them. What can theological reflection contribute to the analysis, conceptualization, and evaluation of the emerging logics and narratives of the digital age? Conversely, how is theology challenged to interrogate the way it thinks about particular issues?
A group of German, South African, and U.S. theologians explored these pressing questions at a virtual workshop in 2021, relating theological issues that are crucial to the life of the church and Christian ethics. We invited the speakers to reflect, on the one hand, on how theological loci or concepts can contribute to the interpretation of contemporary developments and which analytical or conceptual "frames" are illuminating in the digital context. On the other hand, we discussed how classical theologumena can be questioned, rearticulated, and enriched through digital transformations. Hence, the focus was a mutual relations and dependencies between theological concepts and digital cultures.
Topics for the workshop have emerged from the first workshop in November 2019 (see Cursor_Volume 3: Theologies of the Digital 1), on the one hand, and current developments in the wake of the Corona pandemic and civil rights anti-racist protestors, on the other: Economic and communicative (interpretive) power, subalternity, perception of reality, mediality, and the emergence and transformation of community were discussed, each in international tandems of complementary dual perspectives.
We thank Cursor for the opportunity to combine an open conversation in the extended discussion with participants of the workshop as well as online participation before, while and after the workshop. Thus, gaining knowledge became a collaborative and interactive enterprise. In addition, our thanks go to the Evangelical Church in Germany for its financial support. Katharina Ide is sincerely thanked for the careful preparation of the manuscript.