Are People of Religion Social Engineers?

As we live in a world of change, we need to reflect on the two significant changes humans have experienced: The Agricultural revolution and the Industrial Revolution, to see how the “technology” of each era shaped and molded their thinking and actions. We should not forget the “technology” of the Agricultural and Industrial ages shaped and molded the religious beliefs, interpretations of religious tradition, scripture, and activities, of their time. Most importantly, we need to look at the events of restorative justice in each age and how the technology helped bring about the greater good. 

Understanding the cause-effect of technology on society, including religion, will help us better understand our current situation and our world events.  

We are embarking on the next major revolution, where the technology is so significant that our fundamental religious, social, and societal beliefs will be challenged.

The Autonomous Technology Revolution, from a societal phase change perspective, is more about the effect the technology has on society than the tools themselves. But most importantly, how will we use the autonomous technology to bring about the changes necessary to create who we are as humans? We need to come to grips with the reality that technology creates and shapes our culture and establishes new norms of work that are so different from what we are accustomed to experiencing. 

If we are people of faith, we need to understand better how we, as social engineers help our fellow human beings on the road of change.

As religious people, people of various faiths, how will our minds adapt to cyberspace? To robots? To Artificial Intelligence? To people living in a society where wealth may no longer be distributed through work-related activities? How will organized religion evolve, and will it be different from one that functions effectively in physical space only? In a world where we think of what we do and identify our own identities based on what we do for a living and now experience that changing the question will be: How will some people address personal self-worth? Culture changes and becomes different every time a new technology becomes a norm for how we live and operate as human beings. Just think of religion in the late 1800s, practices, belief systems of culture, for example, the concept of Privacy we are discussing today as a result of technology was not even a passing thought in the 1800s.

Technology will create social conflict. And this is where people of faith need to become real social engineers if the greater good is to prevail. More and more conflict will occur because the speed of technology becomes part of the social fabric and moves faster than humans can digest. What we notice first when change occurs is not the good but evil and the ugly. We seem to understand all the social unrest first, and we are faced with all the unpredictable results first as the technology weaves into society and our religious institutions.

Science, technology, and religion grow and live together. They are not divorced from each other. How do we, as people of faith, embrace the social phase changes we are experiences for the greater good of all humanity?

Do we, as people of faith, embrace the technology and understand the technology to bring science, technology, and religion together versus creating a polarizing factor that will drive people apart?

When science, technology, and religion become a seamless garment for the greater good of society, we see the potential to give everyone a voice to express their faith, practice their faith and empower communities to strive for the greater good.

If religious institutions are going to evolve as meaningful entities in the lives of people who are in search of meeting the Significant Other of our universe, we as people of faith must become “social engineers,” and this means we must integrate not only scripture, our traditions but all of what sociology, psychology, history, economics, and the humanities have to offer us to gain that understanding of the difference in being human and the difference it makes. When we can do this, we will be in a much better position to change as the future unfolds.

As people of faith, we are, in essence, social engineers. The social engineers of faith need to find ways to leverage technology, embrace science, and understand where our constraints exist in society’s social fabric.

In the new Autonomous Technology Revolution, people of faith need to become engines of social transformation. We do this by embracing Action & Contemplation as a way of living our lives in our work a day world.

In the words of Walt Whitman: 

“I celebrate myself and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

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