Review of Virtually Human
Virtually Human by Ed Brooks and Pete Nicholas aims to give a theological foundation for life in the digital world. The book is split into two parts. The first part puts our technology in the framework of our theology and the second part covers five more specific areas and how technology interacts with them; Identity, Relationships, Time, Sex and Wisdom.
I gave this book a 4/5 on Goodreads which means I really thought it was a good book, but I thought it had some way to go to be an outstanding book.
I think Part 1 did a very could job of dealing with the technological and theological context. It is helpful to see how technology itself is not a new thing, just our current technologies. Ed and Pete do a great job giving us a healthy understanding of how we should both say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to technology, though I do feel they could have unpacked their theology of subversive fulfilment a bit more. I heartily recommend the first few chapters of this book.
Part 2 to me seemed a little scattergun. In and of themselves each chapter was challenging and helpful but lacking in depth - there’s really not enough space in a book this size to deal with these topics in full enough way. I particularly found the chapter on time to be a little weak and toothless. What I’d love is for these guys to revisit these topics and perhaps a few more in more depth.
If you want to think about technology as a whole and get a good theological understanding to build your decisions on, then this book - particularly part 1 - is for you. If you want a book that’s going to challenge you in specifics and change the way you relate to technology then I’d recommend Tony Reinke’s 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You over this. My suggestion, read them both - borrow them from me if you want!