BRISTOL, Tenn., May 3, 2021 — As we spend more and more time in the digital realm, are we creating a separate morality that’s based on the online world?
That’s one of the questions that Robert H. Woods, Jr., Ph.D., deals with on a daily basis. His 2019 book, “Ethics and Religion in the Age of Social Media: Digital Proverbs for Responsible Citizens,” argues that the giants of the digital age — Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and more — have created rites and rituals that define who we are, how we should act, and what kind of people we should be.
In doing so, Woods writes, Silicon Valley is creating its own kind of religion, and generating false equivalence between technological capacity and human virtue.
Woods will join King’s Institute for Faith & Culture (IFC) to discuss these ideas and others on
Monday, May 10, at 7 p.m. EST in a Facebook Live event entitled “A More Humane Online World: Proverbs for the Digital Age.” The discussion is open to the public, and registration is not required. For more information and to participate, click here.
“We’ve all experienced situations where people say and do things online that are different from their in-person behavior,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the IFC. “Dr. Woods asks us to stop and examine the influences that are pushing us to act in this way, and also challenges us to make a distinction between our abilities to use technology and to exhibit moral virtue. Rightfully, he states that information is not equal to wisdom, and invites us to work together toward an online world that fosters greater human freedom and socio-economic equality.”
For nearly 20 years, Woods served as a professor of communication and media at Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, Michigan. He currently serves as the executive director of the Christianity and Communication Studies Network (CCSN), an organization that provides resources and training on ways to integrate faith into the field of communication.
Woods received his Master of Arts degree and his doctorate in Communication from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and has earned additional degrees in education and counseling. He is licensed to practice law in Virginia.
Woods’ articles appear in such journals as the Christian Scholar’s Review, Review of Religious Research, Journal of Media and Religion, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, and Christian Higher Education. He is the author of “Understanding Evangelical Media: The Changing Face of Christian Communication,” “Prophetically Incorrect: A Christian Introduction to Media Criticism,” and “Prophetic Critique and Popular Media: Theoretical Foundations and Practical Applications.”
For more information about the King Institute for Faith & Culture, visit king.edu/faithandculture.