In this essay, I am interested in dissecting the emergence of a new religion in the Planetary Civilization known as Techno-Religion. Yuval Noah Harari has presented this concept in his books and several videos. Even emerging as part of a new religion in the 21st century, there are Prophets in Silicon Valley.
There has been no severe study of Indonesia regarding the emergence of Techno Religion and the Silicon Prophets. This new religion has snowballed through algorithm systems and artificial intelligence.
It can be said that the messenger of this new religion seems to be carried out by big companies such as Google, Facebook and various favourite applications used by netizens globally (Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok).
Techno-religion is a term used to describe the coming together of technology, spirituality, and religion. It is an emerging phenomenon encompassing everything from smartphones as prayer books to online wellness gurus and virtual reality churches where you can meet with real-life believers.
From Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to evangelical pastors declaring themselves as ‘reluctant technologists,’ techno-religion is becoming increasingly mainstream. Techno-religion comes in many forms but is most generally characterized by blurring boundaries between secular and sacred, scientific and spiritual, and modern and traditional.
While some techno-religious movements take advantage of new digital tools while others are more authentic, they all share similar characteristics: Optimistic, forward-thinking, and designed to appeal to a broad audience.
Post-Secular or Post-Modern
Techno-Religion emerged just when religion began to revive its role in the public sphere. This era is known as the Post-Modern or Post-Secular era.
In his book A Secular Age, Charles Taylor is a scholar who is excellent at explaining the current state of religion and spirituality. This era is marked by the end of secularity in contemporary society, known as Post-Secularity.
When religion returns to the public sphere and is thrown into cyberspace, religion “shakes hands” with algorithms and artificial intelligence. They then “get to know each other” in Big Data managed by the leading companies worldwide. A system records all human habits without God’s theological “interference.” In keeping with the central theme of the resurgence of science that “God has retired” or “God is dead.”
The revolution in science and technology has caused humans to adopt God’s Technology as the thriving Planetary Civilization, as said by Michio Kakuin, one of his works. Therefore, various scientific findings try to create a situation of immortality for humans on this earth. The mindset of atheists and agnostics has even created a new religion engineered by today’s technology and science capabilities.
From Software to Infoware
Therefore, the emergence of Techno-Religion results from humans glorifying science, transforming “humans into robots” and “robots into humans.” Algorithmic systems have assisted engineering humans in acting like robots and vice versa.
When the internet, which was initially software, turned into infoware, the issue of spirituality will be affected. Here infoware becomes a source of all knowledge engineering in the human mind and subconscious.
Al Gore refers to this situation as the Global Mind in his book. If the Global Mind can be conditioned through digital processes on how it works, it will also appear as “Global Subconscious Awareness.”
The Internet is fabricating the contents of the human mind when they post “everything” in cyberspace. The system will recognize the human figure more than the person identifies himself, where human dependence on the system is offered in digital life.
This dependency story will allow people to believe in Big Data more than the God they perceive as “retired” or “dead.”
Religion appears when a solid relationship exists between an object believed to exist and has tremendous power and worshipers. Infoware is a collection of information covering everything about human life, from birth to death.
Therefore, information becomes an object of worship in the form of Big Data. In short, humans have worshipped Data ever since the internet manifested itself in cyberspace.
Even though we see various religious behaviours in cyberspace, they are presented not by humans but by a system created by humans. Techno-Religion will change the human belief system that their data have controlled that they give to Big Data. Gradually, he will become more intelligent and, ultimately, handle all lines of human life.
The Silicon Valley, The Prophets, and The Paradise
We see Silicon Valley as a “paradise” filled with workers who look like children playing in kindergarten. Their office is more like a playground. That’s where all the “virtual theological creations” are spread worldwide.
They create various platforms, creating “occult money,” which is convinced in the human mind that all these systems will make human life more manageable.
The prophets of Silicon Valley are dressed in T-shirts and with innocent faces. They have extreme financial strength. Their network reaches all corners of the world.
Their spectacle and guidance become role models for all young people globally. Their lectures became the central teachings in Techno-Religion. Their wisdom is quoted by anyone who admires them.
Their ascetic life is exemplified by the simplicity shown in public. Their decisions become words that must be obeyed and acted upon.
Maybe some people think that Techno-Religion is still just an imagination. However, when the experts have started to explore the rise of this new religion, then, like it or not, this religion will exist in our minds subconsciously. We also never thought that the predictions of human connection would be made wirelessly in the past. Now, we are always looking for a wireless network everywhere we go.
What is Techno-Religion?
Techno-religion is the fusion of traditional spirituality with modern technology. The coming together of spirituality and technology makes it different from conventional religion. Many people in the West turn to technology for spirituality and engage in techno-religion.
People who engage in techno-religion tend to have a high level of engagement with technology. They also tend to believe in the potential of technology to connect them with the divine.
However, they do not necessarily associate traditional organized religion with this technology. Instead, they may use new mediums, such as virtual reality or online platforms, to connect with their spiritual side.
Why are people turning to religion in the digital age?
Several macro-level social phenomena have spurred an increase in both faith and technology over the last several decades:
The birth control pill and increased female participation in the workforce have led to a decrease in the birth rate and a higher-than-expected number of even minor age demographics which means that many people are experiencing a sense of alienation from society as well as a sense of greater purposelessness.
The rise of neoliberal capitalism has led to decreased belief and participation in traditional religious institutions and a sense of powerlessness in the face of the status quo. This can be combated by turning to the promise of technology to improve the world.
The rise of the Internet and other digital platforms has created a vast and essentially global discourse that was once confined to the printed word, which has led to a sense of connection that was previously lacking and a sense of community that was previously absent.
The Future of Techno-Religion
Techno-religion is still very much in its infancy, but there are some possible trends to watch as it matures:
- As the lines between sacred and secular become increasingly blurred, some people may find it harder to distinguish between what is genuinely holy and what is just a cultural construct.
- As the discourse around faith online becomes more normalized, people may become even less accepting of those who express non-heteronormative identities.
- As more people turn to religion in the digital and non-digital sense, traditional forms of religious engagement may suffer for meaning and purpose.
How Does Techno-Religion Differ from Regular Religion?
Traditional religions use humans as a medium through which divine beings communicate with us. Techno-religions use technology as the medium through which divine beings communicate with us.
Traditional religions are based on beliefs that are believed to be accurate by many people. Techno-religions are based on beliefs believed to be authentic by a subset of people. Traditional religions usually have a set of formal rituals and practices.
Techno-religions do not have formal rituals or practices. Traditional religions have a clear set of beliefs. Techno-religions have no clear set of ideas.
Benefits of Believing in Techno-Religion
Tech religions offer an exciting new way to explore and deepen your faith. They offer a way to explore topics you may have never thought about, find deeper connections, and learn new ways to express yourself in your faith.
These benefits may come from simply exploring new ideas, connecting with like-minded people, or getting closer to your faith’s source. There are many methods through which you can engage with techno-religion.
You can read books, attend conferences, or watch online videos designed to help you explore different aspects of your faith. You can also participate in online or virtual communities designed to help you deepen your faith.
Limitations of Techno-Religion
While engaging in techno-religion offers many benefits, it also has limitations.
First, engaging in techno-religion is not intended to replace regular religious practice. It has planned to complement it and add another dimension to your faith.
Second, techno-religion does not remove the need for moral and ethical frameworks. Moral codes and ethical frameworks were not created to be replaced by technology.
Instead, technology can help us understand and apply these frameworks in new ways.
Why are people becoming more religious in a digital world?
Many possible explanations exist for this trend, but most share one common theme: Many people seek meaning in a world that can feel increasingly meaningless. There are few parts of traditional religions untouched by the digital revolution.
Many people cannot find meaning in an increasingly digital world without incorporating traditional religious ideas into their lives.
The rise of the Internet and other digital platforms has created a vast and primarily global discourse that was once confined to the printed word, leading to a sense of connection that was previously lacking and a sense of community that was previously absent.
As people seek meaning and purpose in this increasingly digital world, they turn to traditional religious ideas to help them.
The Role of Technology in Techno-Religion
While many people believe that new technology is the key to more spiritual life, the reality is that technology is just a tool that can be used to connect with the divine. The critical factor is how you use it.
As with any tool, it is essential to use technology thoughtfully so that you do not overdo it or use it in ways harmful to you or others. There are many ways that technology can distract you from being present in the moment and doing what is essential in your life.
While helpful in the abstract, you may also find that certain technologies have become too much of a crutch and are distracting you from what is essential.
Types of Techno-Religion
There are many techno-religions, and they do not all share the same characteristics. Some communities are focused on the idea of creating a better virtual reality.
Others are more focused on living more meaningfully in the real world. Still, others focus on changing the world for the better through technology.
The essential factor is finding a community that shares your values, interests, and beliefs.
Final Words: Should You Be Worried About Techno-Religion?
Techno-religion can be significant and offer many benefits, but it also has challenges. There are many ways to practice spirituality, but you do not necessarily have to follow one path to find value in your life.
You do not have to choose between technology and spirituality, and you do not have to give up on the world to find meaning.
All too often, people are worried about the rise of new technologies without knowing the many ways to use them thoughtfully.
For example, people tend to view technology as a source of conflict, but it can be used to bring people together. People tend to view technology as bad for their spiritual lives, but technology can be used to connect people with the world around them better.