This entry is reposted from Yu-Ling’s Phd Research blog:
Religion’s just a technology. How the hardware of humanity gets used will depend on the software – Irwin Kula
In a Time article, titled, This is Why Religion is Just a Technology (published July 25, 2014), I was first introduced to Irwin Kula, an eighth generation Rabbi. The article would introduce Kula, a progressive Rabbi who would be among the speakers at the BIF – a Business Innovation Factory conference.
In the TIME article, Kula asks, “what would happen if we applied innovation theory to religion, to compress the resources it takes to create good people?” In his talk, Kula explains how he is going about researching this questions. He is conducting a study on religious traditions in America where people are asked “what is the actual impact on the user” and “what is the actual impact on the person in their life.” His research questions include, will gratitude increase? Will hope increase? Will a sense of belonging increase? Kula’s research should appear in a peer reviewed article in Jan/Feb 2015 which would have implications for the business model and pedagogical model of religious practices, as he is attempting an empirical analysis into his definition of human flourishing.
As Kula is speaking to a business audience, he suggests the development of “accountability technologies” as there is no more God in the sky as the overarching seeing eye may be replaced by the technological surveillance eye, or perhaps a spiritual sense of inner seeing eye, being accountable to our communities.
While Kula’s research is indeed interesting and merits further investigation, his ‘practical suggestions’ and general posture seem to veer towards what David Noble calls, the religion of technology. It may be that his research is perpetuating the religious fervour for a technological utopia which may include spiritual rituals mediated through accountability technologies. Of course, this discussion would be greatly clarified and further enhanced once his research article comes out and his notion of human flourishing is clarified.