Signposts for New Theologies and Spiritualities for a Digital Age
From a faith perspective, our authors have posited that God is present in and through cyberspace! Cyberspace can be transformed into sacred time and space in, for instance, online retreat and virtual chapels (Gallares). Inclusive virtual communities can be a glimpse of heaven on earth (Bong). The capacity ICTs give women to transgress patriarchal boundaries enables them to embody Jesus’ transgressive boundary crossing (Abraham).
Cyberspace, despite the link between online and offline lives, encourages distinct forms of identity and community expressions, which a spirituality for a digital age should address (Gallares). For Brazal, the cyborg offers an alternative way of envisioning the human, which transcends the man/woman, material/spiritual divide, and captures as well the inclusiveness of “Spirited Matter.” This re-imagination of the human in relation to technology, she argues, can be a foundation for a cyber-spirituality that can guide online relations. To counter negative aspects of cyberculture, Yap stresses what can be learnt from the praxis of photography—seeing with the eye, silence, creativity, and releasing the body.
The entry of humans into the digital age marks a crucial moment in the evolutionary process of human becoming. It is a critical phase that paradoxically blends complexity with simplicity, and the shattering of conventional footholds and the facilitation of explosive possibilities. Within this framework, human connectivity has reached a point of no return. The ethical, religious and feminist task in this context is to ask how prepared are we humans for this digital era, and to be vigilant to its vulnerabilities while being enabled to facilitate its potential for enhancing liberative engagements in human interactions. As Reese observes, “If the Internet is ubiquitous, and God is in the Internet, then there are powerful implications for the mystics in us.”12 Awakening the “mystic” who can creatively transgress established boundaries and venture into the new spaces of connectivity is perhaps the challenge before humans in the “wired” world of today.