Reading List: December 2

 

Each week, we put together a reading list of the best articles on technology, new media, and religion from across the web. Below is what we’re reading this week.

If you are looking for some book-length reads, be sure to check out books by our editorial board and contributors in our new Store!

Evangelii Gaudium – Pope Francis

“The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.”

The Vatican’s Journey From Anti-Communism to Anti-Capitalism – The Atlantic

“The pope has taken a firm political stance against right-leaning, pro-free market economic policies, and his condemnation appears to be largely pointed at Europe and the United States. His explicit reference to ‘trickle-down’ economic policies—the hallmark of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and their political successors—is just the beginning: Throughout 224 pages on the future of the Church, he condemns income inequality, ‘the culture of prosperity,’ and ‘a financial system which rules rather than serves.'”

Religious Mobile Apps Changing the Faith-based Landscape in America – NY Daily News

“Call it a Gutenberg moment. Thanks to a host of apps, cellphone users can read the Bible Koran and even the Bhagavad Gita on their devices. Developers say religion-based apps are changing the way faith is practiced in America.”

Our Evolving Discourse: Communication in the Age of Social Media – The American Conservative

“Facebook friends do not constitute true ‘community.’ They are virtual presences, people we cannot see, hear, or touch. In discussing (or arguing) sensitive and personal topics with other users, it is impossible to know the immediate impact of our words. We cannot see furrowed brows, bit lips, or clenched fists. Thus, online discussions become immensely dramatic, sarcastic, and inflammatory—much more than usual face-to-face conversations.”

If this doesn’t terrify you… Google’s computers OUTWIT their humans – The Register

“Google no longer understands how its “deep learning” decision-making computer systems have made themselves so good at recognizing things in photos. This means the internet giant may need fewer experts in future as it can instead rely on its semi-autonomous, semi-smart machines to solve problems all on their own.”

 

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About the Contributor

Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin Robertson
Benjamin Robertson is a founding editor at Second Nature. He has worked in advertising for the Chicago Tribune and Gannett, and now is a web developer at Up&Up. He studied Communications and Media Studies under Dr. Read Schuchardt at Wheaton College in Illinois. He has presented papers on Marshall McLuhan, media ecology, and Christianity at the Media Ecology Association, National Communication Association, and the McLuhan's Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference in Brussels. He lives with his wife, Ruth, in Greenville, SC. His personal website is benjamingrobertson.com

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