Spiritual technologies: Exploring the intersections between religion and modern tech

According to researcher Kate J. Stockly, the intensifying interactions between technology and religion are here to stay.

In a 2021 interview with Publishers Weekly about her book Spirit Tech — co-authored with Wesley Wildman — Stockly said that rather than fighting the trends, people should try harnessing the convergence for good.

“I think that if people with good intentions don’t become part of the conversation, we are going to have more problems,” she said.

From brain-based tech designed to trigger, enhance, accelerate, modify or measure spiritual experiences to new spiritual movements in Silicon Valley and the everyday ways technology is used in worship and devotion, there is a brave new world of transcendent tech giving both pious pioneers and defenders of traditional religion something to ponder.

This edition of ReligionLink explores the crossovers between religion and modern technology, with relevant stories, analysis, background and expert sources to get you up to speed in an ever-evolving landscape.


In scholarly circles, “spiritual technology” is used to refer to any practice believed to enhance a person’s religious practices or identification. Here, we are talking specifically about the increased interplay between technology and spirituality.

Technology has always played a role in religion and spiritual practices have long involved technologies of various kinds. For millennia, revolutions in travel, printing and digital technologies were impacted by — and significantly transformed — religious traditions.

But today, innovators across religious traditions are actively probing the ways technology can be used yet again to augment and modify spiritual experiences (and vice versa).

The examples are numerous: from ultrasound beams for fast-tracking attempts at enlightenment to church in the “Metaverse,” Christian NFTs and online dating by Orthodox Jews and conservative Muslims. Meanwhile, as the space race heats back up in the private sphere and more people are going to space as paying passengers than as government employees, people are beginning to wonder what religion might look like … in spaaaaace!

While regulators in Europe, China and the U.S. try to rein in tech giants, things like electronically mediated meditation and virtuous virtual reality are no longer fringe exercises, but part of commonplace conversations everywhere from churches in the Midwest to coffee shops in Silicon Valley.

Thankfully, there are researchers, experts and other policy briefs here to help us appreciate the trends, trace the background and understand the technological terms that are coming at us hard and fast:

Related stories

The following stories run the gamut of religion and tech intersections. Whether you are looking for stories on “Israel’s ultra-Orthodox tech scene” or new Sikh emojis, Bitcoin epiphanies or “space pagans,” you will find a story below that will take you deeper into the convergence of high-tech spirituality on offer across traditions and around the world.

Potential sources and experts

  • AI and Faith

    AI and Faith is a cross-spectrum consortium of faith communities and academic institutions. Its mission is to bring the fundamental values of the world’s major religions into the emerging debate on the ethical development of artificial intelligence and related technologies. Contact through the website.

  • Nichol Bradford

    Nichol Bradford is CEO and founder of the Willow Group and executive director and co-founder of the Transformative Technology Lab and Conference in California.

  • Heidi Campbell

    Heidi Campbell is a professor of communication at Texas A&M University. She has researched a variety of topics, including online faith communities, new media ethics and the relationship between digital culture and religion.

  • Carolyn Chen

    Carolyn Chen is an associate professor in the ethnic studies department at the University of California, Berkeley, whose research interests include religion, ethnicity, immigration and sociology of work.

  • Andrew Davison

    Andrew Davison is Starbridge Associate Professor in Theology and Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge. His work spans Christian doctrine, natural science and philosophy. Recently, that has taken in life elsewhere in the universe, but also an application of medieval accounts of analogy to help think about what we mean when we attribute humanlike capacities to machine learning or artificial intelligence.

  • Episcopal Network for Science, Technology & Faith

    The Episcopal Network for Science, Technology & Faith is open to all Episcopalians interested in the intersection of science, technology, medicine and faith.

  • Robert Geraci

    Robert Geraci is a professor of religious studies at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York, where he teaches a course on science fiction, fantasy and religion. He is the author of Virtually Sacred: Myth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life and Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality.

  • Noreen Herzfeld

    Noreen Herzfeld is a professor of theology and computer science at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict in Collegeville, Minnesota.

  • Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology

    The Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology in St. Louis is an interfaith organization of Christians working to foster a “community of scientists and technologists who are dedicated both to the advancement of scientific understanding AND to the growth of Christianity.” Sister Marianne Postiglione is director of communications.

  • Mujahidul Islam

    Mujahidul Islam is an ed tech specialist at Azim Premji University in Bengaluru, India. He works at the crossroads of technology, media and education with a special emphasis on the digital ways of learning and the theological underpinnings of mediated and perceptual learning.

  • Israel Science and Technology Homepage

    The Israel Science and Technology Homepage is a database and directory of science- and technology-related sites in Israel. The site also includes sections on Jewish scientists and students in the Diaspora. Contact through the form on the website.

  • David Zvi Kalman

    David Zvi Kalman is scholar-in-residence and director of new media at Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, where he was also a member of the inaugural cohort of North American David Hartman Center Fellows. He leads the Kogod Research Center’s research seminar on Judaism and the natural world.

  • Patricia Karpas

    Patricia Karpas is co-founder of Meditation Studio, a mindfulness meditation app. She is also the host of Untangle, Meditation Studio’s original podcast that shares stories from experts and thought leaders about how mindfulness practices change us. She is a former media executive at CNBC, NBC and AOL.

  • Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology

    The Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology is an independent organization recognized by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that works to promote awareness, conversation and action on the implications of science and technology on faith. The Rev. Bruce Booher, a retired pastor, serves on the steering committee. Contact via Heather Dean.

  • Harold Morales

    Harold Morales is associate professor and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and the City, department of philosophy and religious studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore. His research focuses on the intersections between race and religion and between lived and mediated experience. He uses these critical lenses to engage Latinx religions in general and Latino Muslim groups in particular, with a focus on how they use digital media to create community.


  • National Academy of Sciences

    The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an act of Congress signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.

  • Seyyed Hossein Nasr

    Seyyed Hossein Nasr is a world-renowned scholar on Islam who teaches Islamic studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. His writings include Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis in Modern Man and The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity. Much of his work focuses on Islamic spiritual values, but he has also written about the religious and spiritual dimensions of the environmental crisis.

  • Catherine L. Newell

    Catherine L. Newell is associate professor of religion and science at the University of Miami. Newell is a scholar of the conjoined histories of religion and science (specifically technology, ecology and medicine). She is particularly interested in how scientific paradigms frequently owe their genesis to a religious idea or spiritual belief.

  • Diana Walsh Pasulka

    Diana Walsh Pasulka is a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her areas of specialization include Catholic studies, religion and new media, digital culture and gender.

  • Religious Technology Center

    The nonprofit Religious Technology Center was established in 1982 to “preserve, maintain and protect the Scientology religion.” The center guards against improper use of Scientology’s religious symbols and technologies and has final ecclesiastical authority regarding their application, but it is not involved in routine church matters. Its international headquarters are in Los Angeles. David Miscavige has been the RTC’s chairman of the board since 1987.

  • Joshua Ruben

    Joshua Ruben is a technology professional, security engineer and coordinator for Technology Awareness Group, Chicago (TAG Chicago). TAG is an international organization dedicated to meeting the Orthodox Jewish communities’ technological needs by offering educational and training sessions, developing technology policies and providing filtering solutions.



  • Chris Skaggs

    Chris Skaggs is the founder and chief operations officer of Soma Games and Soma SoulWorks, based in Newberg, Oregon. Created in 2005, Soma Games fancies itself the “C.S. Lewis of video games” and strives to honor that aspiration by making artistically excellent games for people who may never go to church, but who find themselves having fun while pondering eternal things.

  • Society of Ordained Scientists

    The Society of Ordained Scientists is an ecumenical fellowship of ordained people with an expertise in science, medicine or technology. The SOS has several aims, including “To offer to God in our ordained role the work of science and technology in the exploration and stewardship of creation.” The Rev. Stig Graham is warden. The Rev. Pamela Conrad is warden for the group’s North American province.

  • Kate Stockly

    Kate Stockly researches affective neuroscience, cognitive science and evolutionary biology to construct biocultural theories of embodied religious ritual at Boston University.

  • A. Trevor Sutton

    Trevor Sutton is pastor at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Haslett, Michigan. He has written extensively about the intersections between Christianity, worship and technology.

  • Synchronicity

    Synchronicity is a foundation and retreat center founded by M.C. Cannon (aka Swami Vivekananda Saraswati) that developed High-Tech Meditation and the Holistic Lifestyle as a modernization of the ancient wisdom traditions it believes empower the journey to enlightenment.

  • Hava Tirosh-Samuelson

    Hava Tirosh-Samuelson is a professor of modern Judaism and history at Arizona State University in Tempe, where she studies Judaism and ecology, bioethics, and religion and science.

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