The Digital Public Square — a new resource produced by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention — goes live today (Sept. 16).
The research project, affirmed by the board of trustees Sept. 15 during the group’s annual meeting in Nashville, convenes top Christian thinkers to explore the intersection of Christian ethics and the digital public square.
It will focus on the areas of human dignity, ethics, free speech and religious freedom. Jason Thacker, ERLC’s chair of research in technology ethics and author of the forthcoming book, “Following Jesus in the Digital Age,” from B&H Publishing, is spearheading the project.
Over the course of two years, ERLC will produce numerous resources for the church, business community and government leaders on how to navigate the challenges of the digital public square in a way that upholds free expression and religious freedom, as well as contributes to a more civil and constructive public discourse across ideological and religious viewpoints.
The project will focus on issues of Christian ethics — including the public nature of faith, religious freedom, hate speech/violence, sexuality/gender issues, pornography, objectionable content, misinformation, digital authoritarianism and issues of discipleship in the digital age.
“The ethical issues surrounding technology are often extremely complex and challenging,” Thacker said. “In an increasingly digital society, technology is the primary means through which much of our public discourse occurs. The ERLC wants to equip Christians and the wider culture to make sense of an ever-changing digital culture and to gain wisdom to navigate the most challenging aspects of technology and social media — including the nature of religious freedom and free expression in the digital public square. We often fail to see how technology is shaping not only our own walk with Christ, but also our churches and communities in ways that are contrary to our faith.”
Acting ERLC President Brent Leatherwood added, “The ministry assignment Southern Baptists have given the ERLC asks us to assist churches in applying the moral and ethical teachings of the Bible to Christian life — and this is especially crucial as technology affects more and more aspects of our society. Jason has proven himself to be one of the leading voices in technology ethics and we are so thankful for the biblical wisdom he is providing in this area.”
In addition to Thacker’s book, leaders of the Digital Public Square project also are working with B&H Publishing on a 2022 release of “The Digital Public Square: Ethics and Religion in a Technological Society,” which will include contributions from 14 leading thinkers from B&H Academic.
To learn more about the Digital Public Square project, visit ERLC.com/digital.