NGU News

Scholars Ponder Technology, Gender Identity, and What it Means to Be Human During Christian Worldview Week

Posted on: March 28, 2024
By Billy Cannada,

Tigerville, SC Technology, gender identity and what it means to be human.

Those were the topics covered at North Greenville University’s (NGU) annual Christian Worldview Week in March, as Dr. Katie McCoy and Jason Thacker presented talks on “Thinking Christianly about Human Nature.”

“I couldn’t be more pleased with this year’s Christian Worldview Week,” said Dr. Nathan Finn, executive director for NGU’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. “Many of the most pressing issues in American culture are related to human nature. Dr. McCoy and Professor Thacker are experts in their fields, devoted followers of Christ, and gifted communicators. They served our community well, and I continue to hear positive comments from students and faculty about the presentations.”

McCoy serves as director of Women’s Ministry for Texas Baptists. She has a PhD in systematic theology and is the author of “To Be a Woman: The Confusion Over Female Identity and How Christians Can Respond” and co-author of the volume dedicated to the doctrine of humanity in the “Theology for the People of God” series. 

“Your generation is living at a time when Christianity has fallen deeply out of favor with broader culture,” McCoy told North Greenville University students during her lecture. “You are living at a time where there is widespread gender confusion and epidemic levels of anxiety and depression.”

“Facts have been replaced by feelings, evidence has been replaced by emotion, and biology has been replaced by beliefs,” she continued.

McCoy said despite the many challenges facing the current and future generations, there is hope for believers who hold a Christian worldview.

“I’m not trying to pull us back to the 50s or a time that seemed simpler,” she said. “Instead, I want to pull you back to the very beginning—to the intent and significance of humanity as male and female, made in the image of their creator.”

“If you are in Christ, you are his ambassador,” McCoy said. “You are not just a passive recipient of what he’s done for you. You are a part of the kingdom of God so that you can advance the kingdom of God. You have a purpose and a reason for being alive.”

Thacker, who serves as assistant professor of philosophy and ethics at Boyce College and directs the Research Institute for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, delivered two lectures on technology and how Christians can keep smart phones and artificial intelligence in their proper place.  

“Technology isn’t necessarily good. It also isn’t necessarily bad. But, it’s definitely not neutral. Nothing is neutral. Everything is shaping our worldview and perspective,” said Thacker. “AI isn’t some abstract reality that’s fun to think about. It is everywhere and it is shaping your world whether you realize it or not.”

Thacker spoke about some of the dangers of AI and technology but said rejecting helpful tools is not a solution.

“We have to understand what (these tools) are, what they’re doing to us, and how they are shaping us. You don’t know an answer? Just type in a question and it’ll give you a prompt to keep going. What’s that doing to you? It’s shortcutting the pursuit of wisdom and true education. Information is not education. True education is being transformed into a different type of person.”

The answer for Christians, however, is a complex one.

“I can’t give you five tips and tricks to right your relationship with technology and artificial intelligence so you can move on to better and more important things,” Thacker said. “Just as the bad habits didn’t form overnight, the good ones won’t either. It’s going to take time.”

“Slow down and think biblically about the things you see,” he continued. “Don’t be informed by your feelings, but be informed by the truth itself. It’s not that you are so unique that God loved you. It’s that God loved you, and that’s what makes you unique. He created you in his image and for a purpose. There’s a utilitarian ethic in our society that tells us that our value, our dignity, and our worth is based on the things we do and contribute. When you no longer do and contribute, you are no longer valuable. The Christian ethic flips that on its head. It says you are unique and valuable because God created you as a human being in his very image.”

Thacker is a PhD candidate at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of “The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity,” “Following Jesus in a Digital Age,” and the editor of “The Digital Public Square: Christian Ethics in a Technological Society.”

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