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Technology and monotheism: a dialogue with Neo-Calvinist philosophy

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2010
JournalPhilosophia Reformata
Number of pages17
Original languageEnglish


In Nature, Technology and the Sacred (2005) I argued that the modern project of the technological mastery of nature remains profoundly shaped by its religious roots. In this paper I explore connections and tensions between this analysis and the neo-Calvinist critiques of modernity and modern technology advanced by Herman Dooyeweerd and Hendrik van Riessen. I explore the relationship between Dooyeweerd’s analysis of Western culture as a sequence of religious ‘ground motives’ and my own in terms of the series of ‘orderings of the sacred’ which together constitute the ‘long arc of monotheism’. I relate van Riessen’s analysis of the internal structure of technology to my argument that this structure has been shaped by transformations in the sacred since the Protestant reformation. I conclude with some observations, prompted by the divergences between the two accounts, concerning the relationship between technology, monotheism, history and politics.