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CybertheologyThinking Christianity in the Era of the Internet$
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Antonio Spadaro

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823256990

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823256990.001.0001

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Hacker Ethics and Christian Vision

Hacker Ethics and Christian Vision

(p.51) Chapter 4 Hacker Ethics and Christian Vision

Antonio Spadaro

Fordham University Press

In this chapter, the author gives an overview of hacker ethics and associates these with cybertheology through tracing their development and using the works of those who have written on hacker ethics, such as Levy, Raymond, Pitman and Himanen. He notes that Himanen suggests the Sundayization of Friday – overturning the protestant work ethic that Weber had suggested. The hacker sees work as a joy, something playful, yet s/he is never idle. Spadaro uses Wikipedia as an example of what this type of ethic can produce – something that would have been impossible without a great deal of effort and cost, had the world’s experts not built this online encyclopaedia voluntarily. While exulting in the possibilities that such collective works offer, he uses Pierre Lévy’s warnings on the dangers of prevarication and collective stupidity, exploitation and control, as a means of bringing us back to earth. He then outlines two models which have been offered: Raymond’s model of the Cathedral and the Bazaar, and Himanen’s model of the Monastery. While he notes that there are problems with both models, Spadaro asks if open source theology can offer us anything. In Christian terms, he says, Revelation is the open source of theology, but through this open source attitude we may risk what McLaren has called an imperial form, which may become a participative narration that may lead to groups and individuals who have frames and contexts that are culturally disparate being left out. Will such problematics not lead to clashes within the Catholic Church? The narrative then moves on to the concept of the gift, which he associates with Peer to Peer (p2p) sharing. In this p2p logic, the concept of the neighbor is also changed. We do not know to whom it is that we give this gift. As in blood donation, those receiving the donation are unknown to us. This is not horizontal exchange but opens us to the notion of a deductible and inexhaustible grace, this has passed through traditions, hierarchical, sacramental and historical mediation. Were we to stop at this juncture, there would be a radical incompatibility between theology’s logic and the Web’s. The author attempts to explain this through use of the concepts of the ‘freebie’ and the ‘freemium’. Grace does not respond to the logic of profit, nor can ecclesiology be reduced to ecclesial sociology. Spadaro returns to discussing how hacker ethics can assist in argument around the ecclesial surplus that is the Church, and in assisting our search for the transcendent.

Keywords:   Hacker ethics, Sundayization, Cybertheology, Pierre Lévy, Open Source Theology

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