NASHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 2, 2023—Jason Thacker, director of the research institute and chair of research in technology ethics for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, released a new volume titled, “The Digital Public Square: Christian Ethics in a Technological Society,” published by B&H Academic.
This volume is among the first to focus on questions of digital governance, content moderation and the role of social media in society from a distinctly Chrisitan perspective. It is a part of a long-term research project launched by the ERLC that explores the intersection of Christian ethics and the increasingly digital public square.
“Social media and emerging technologies have challenged some of our most basic understandings of truth, faith, and even the idea of a public square,” said Thacker. “Today we face immense ethical and social challenges such as the proper role of government, corporate responsibility, and personal accountability in light of the ways that technology is shaping us and the public square. The Christian moral tradition is not only sufficient for the immense task before us but also reframes these debates in light of God’s unchanging character, the Christian concept of human dignity, and a vision of social transformation and the common good rooted in the gospel message.”
Thacker assembled a team of 12 contributors to aid the church in applying the Christian moral teachings to topics including:
- Technology policy;
- Free speech;
- Conspiracy theories;
- Sexual ethics;
- Hate speech;
- Religious freedom;
- Digital authoritarianism;
- Discipleship; and
- Christian witness.
Contributors such as David French, Patricia Shaw, Keith Plummer, and Brooke Medina cast a distinctly Christian vision of a digital public theology to promote the common good throughout our society and around the world.
The Digital Public Square project was launched by Thacker and the ERLC in September 2021 and is a multi-year initiative in technology ethics. The ERLC released the first ever faith-based statement of principles on artificial intelligence in April 2019.
“For years now, the ERLC has produced a number of thought-provoking resources about technology and the ways it is both challenging and changing us,” said Brent Leatherwood, ERLC president. “This newest resource continues that work to help our churches understand the complexities of our increasingly online world. While it can be tempting to think the Bible doesn’t have a lot to say about emerging technology, Jason Thacker and the incredible team of thinkers he’s put together in this volume reveal how, in fact, Christian ethics offer the best possible guide for successfully engaging the digital public square.”
For more on this volume and the other resources from the Digital Public Square research project, visit jasonthacker.com/books.