Habits of the High-Tech Heart

Living Virtuously in the Information Age

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Habits of the High-Tech Heart addresses the major drawbacks to the network computerization of our society and the growing tendency to substitute technology and innovation for morality and virtue.

The solution is not to dismantle our growing technologies but to pay more attention to the "habits of the heart." Schultze calls for a renewal of community and offers readers ways to live by habits of the heart in the information age.


"Habits of the High-Tech Heart is an erudite manifesto to virtuous living in an age of technological savvy. This beautifully written book is a testimony to the ancient proverb it quotes: 'Ask radical questions but act in the real world.' Schultze is one of those rare bilingual authors who is such a pleasure to read-a master of both the digital life and the life of goodness. With wall-to-wall argument and dazzling research, we're shown the path of moral discernment. This book's luminous wisdom shines a spotlight on our bandwidth envy and lights up our mind and heart at the same time. A superb book and compelling read from beginning to end."--Clifford G. Christians, director, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"There are those who worship technology, and there are those who hate it. There are even people who still think media are neutral and do little to shape the culture that flows through them. Then there are Quentin Schultze and the people who have been lucky enough to tap into his writings during the past generation. Anyone who followed his work knew he would one day write about the World Wide Web. Turns out, the Web is both glorious and fallen--like the rest of God's good creation--and Schultze has produced a provocative, balanced, witty look at both sides of that equation. Habits of the High-Tech Heart is a must-read for church leaders and others who want a sane guide in this minefield."--Terry Mattingly, associate professor of mass media and religion, Palm Beach Atlantic College

"This book is quite a tour-de-force. Its subtitle says it's about living virtuously in the information age, and that's right. It's a critique to jolt us out of technological complacency and to rethink our priorities. Habits of the High-Tech Heart speaks to an audience that should perhaps know better--it's a warning; yet in the best prophetic tradition, Schultze identifies with the audience, seeing himself as one who's deeply involved in the very world he questions."--David Lyon, author of Jesus in Disneyland: Religion in Postmodern Times

"What are the new information technologies 'doing' to us as human beings? Quentin Schultze's exploration of this question has amazing breadth and offers profound insights. This is a virtuous book about cultivating the virtues in an information age."--Richard J. Mouw, president, Fuller Theological Seminary

"This book is well targeted and superbly up-to-the-minute, calling attention to an urgent issue of our present age. Distracted by our high-tech skills, we can fail to note that they do not make obsolete or negligible human, moral values. If our high-tech societies do not attend vigorously to matters of virtue, we will betray the whole human race, which of course includes ourselves. This is the only world we know, and for it we must exercise what responsibility we can. Quentin Schultze's book is a guide to doing what we can do, not irresponsibly but responsibly--which means virtuously, with patience, kindness, and the hard work demanded by wisdom, under God."--Walter J. Ong, SJ, professor emeritus, Saint Louis University

"Quentin Schultze's new book warns us that the age of technical information is becoming an age of moral ignorance, and its appetite for data is replacing concern for character. Firmly based on a well-informed diagnosis of our technological times, Schultze's book is likely to be one of the most important published in the year 2002. Woe to those who ignore its message."--Lew Smedes, author of Mere Morality

"'Luddite!' 'Reactionary!' I will not be surprised if such abuse is hurled at this important book, but the hurlers will have entirely missed the point. The point is that putting excessive hopes in a computer upgrade may degrade our humanity. The point is that the techno-utopian promise of a global village may lead to a globe of village idiots, especially moral idiots. To really get the point, get, and read, this book."--Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, author of American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile

"What a delight! On every page I found insight, depth, and compelling thought. With moral and ethical integrity, Schultze cuts through the Internet hype and vapid online culture. Next time you're stressed out by your computer, refresh yourself with a chapter of this book."--Clifford Stoll, author of Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway

"Rapid technological change is wonderful, scary, liberating, confining, upsetting, and enabling-all at once. What is the responsible Christian to do in the face of such bewildering change? For a start, read this book by Quentin Schultze, and it will be a lot clearer what we should welcome, what we should oppose, and why."--Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

"This book is an open-eyed, mind-boggling, soul-piercing look at what we do to ourselves when we are not alert to our society's informationism and the symbol brokers' cyber-myths of progress. Quentin Schultze asks all kinds of faithful, wise, crucial questions--and thereby offers gifts of humor, contemplation, cultural and historical memory, integrity, true justice, hope, and the right kind of fear to help us 'fall into humility.' This book is a must read for those who love, resist, or merely use technology."--Marva J. Dawn, teaching fellow in spiritual theology, Regent College, Vancouver

"Technology promises virtually anything and everything. This same technology endangers virtually everything it touches. Quentin Schultze's wise and comprehensive assessment provides essential Christian discernment as we negotiate this glittering and danger-fraught landscape."--Eugene H. Peterson, translator, The Message

"An important, measured response to the hysterics of cyber-utopianism. Schultze deftly maps out the tricky new terrain and helps us to begin shaping a new morality for our fast new world."--David Shenk, author of Data Smog

The Author

  1. Quentin J. Schultze
    © Corriveau Photography

    Quentin J. Schultze

    Quentin J. Schultze (PhD, University of Illinois) is professor emeritus of communication at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and CEO of Edenridge Communications. Schultze has been quoted in major media including the Wall Street...

    Continue reading about Quentin J. Schultze


"A fascinating and provocative look at the impact the Internet and digital technology have had on today's society, Habits of the High Tech Heart argues against the cyber-revolutions's mythology of progress that subtitutes technology for morality. The solution is to pay more attention to the 'habits of the hear' discernment, moderation, wisdom, humility, authenticity and diversity which must reshape our understanding of digital technology."--CBA Marketplace

"Whether addressing the lack of personal connection that can occur when too much time is invested in front of the computer screen, or the compromised integrity that can result from creating false identities on message boards and in chatrooms, Schultze always manages to strike a balance. Rather than attempting to hammer a point home, he's simply waving a warning flag that could provide for some interesting discussion later."--Christa Farris, CCM

"Schultze is up-to-date and well informed, and this 256-page volume was written with the thoughtful reader in mind."--Christian Retailing

"Schultze has penned the authoritative theological analysis of digital technology in the new century. It is fitting that he do so; there are few media experts who have the theological depth of Schultze and likewise few religious scholars who have Schultz's experience and expertise in the field of communications. This book teaches much about both areas, and, true to its theme, answers the noise of the digital age with a voice of wisdom."--Nathan Biema, The Banner

"Schultze has written extensively on the intersections between religion and media, covering both old media and new media. In contrast to the typical issues-oriented approach to cyber-ethics, Schultze offers a richly researched and elaborated virtue ethic for the information age. . . . This book is highly recommended for all levels, especially faculty, students, and information technology professionals."--J. Gresham, Choice

"This book should be read by thoughtful Christians who strive to cultivate godliness in a computerized culture."--Doug Groothuis, Moody

"Persuasively argues that the time has come to think theologically about the impact of the Internet on our lives. In so doing, [Schultze] invites us to unweave the Web long enough to step back and evaluate both its peril and its promise. . . . This is a book worth listening to as we enter a broader discourse about technology that permeates our lives as much as the air we breathe. It raises important questions about what we should welcome, what we should oppose, and why. . . . A well-written call to name and tame this latest development in the march of human inventiveness, before we are made into the image and likeness of the machines we have created."--John Freund, Theology Today

"[A] well-informed and sobering book. . . . Schultze's book serves as a thoughtful companion on the kind of contemplative journey he advocates, and this book goes a long way toward the goal he sets for all of those who would minister in the cyber age. He implores all of us to find ways to serve responsibly and to enhance relationships with others, both online and off. Certainly these are virtuous goals for any age."--Lynn Schofield Clark, Calvin Theological Journal

"Schultze has penned this volume with a desire to help Christians use technology in a manner that is sanctifying and virtuous. . . . [He] concludes his book with practical ways by which virtue can be promoted in a high tech world. . . . This volume provides much on which to reflect in terms of using God's gift to us. . . . The volume is well written. It should be read with much contemplation and its thesis taken to heart by each of us."--T. E. Byron Snapp, Christianity.com

"[Schultze] attempts, and I believe he does so successfully, to show pitfalls of technology in its use by sinners in a fallen world. . . . This volume provides much on which to reflect in terms of using God's gifts to us. . . . The volume is well written. It should be read with much contemplation and its thesis taken to heart by each of us."--Byron Snapp, The Chalcedon Foundation (online review)

"Schultze makes a compelling case for the idolatrous nature of cyberspace. . . . Schultze's important book, based on careful research of current trends and developments in information technology, offers rare insights."--Johan Tangelder, Christian Renewal

"A provocative and engaging book that will foster dialogue among philosophers, theologians, technology experts, and all those concerned with the impact technology has had on our society. And while it is both comprehensive and scholarly, Habits of the High-Tech Heart is engaging and accessible enough for the thoughtful lay reader."--Business Reform

"A needed book. . . . Clearly written, with frequent summaries and overviews in the introduction and in each chapter. It is supported by thorough research. . . . I know of no other book that has even considered the ethical and moral implications of information technology. . . . I thank Schultze for this book, and I hope it will be widely read and will spark thoughtful discussions among evangelicals."--John S. Hammett, Faith & Mission

"Reading this book helps readers see clearer what is and what is not acceptable about rapid technological changes."--Journal of Christian Nursing

"[Poses] crucial questions that are seldom asked and, perhaps more importantly, reminds us of the perennial wisdom available in venerable traditions, which can guide sojourners to be engaged in an increasingly technological society without being defined by it. . . . Schultze's exceptional meditation provides a rare opportunity for campus-wide conversations on these matters, not just cross-departmental, but between faculty and administration, between tech department staff and students." --Michael C. McKeever, Teaching Theology and Religion

"As Schultze reminds us throughout his very well-written book, cyberspace tends to valorize both the rational and the individual in self-reinforcing ways. . . . This book can and will speak to multiple audiences, even a thoroughly secular audience, for we can appreciate Schultze's concern for his neighbors, his students, his colleagues, his family, and the generations that will follow him. It is an impassioned concern. We would do well to share it with him."--Davis W. Houck, Rhetoric & Public Affairs

"[Schultze's] writing is clear and thought-provoking, and his argument is well organized and supported. . . . Schultze's book is worth reading and considering, especially for those who minister to the generations and in the communities that are highly digitized and techno-dependent. It provides a healthy counterbalance to one of the prevailing ills of our world."--Donald E. Keeney and Rachel T. Keeney, Clergy Journal

"The combination of excellent research and careful writing makes Habits one of the must-reads of the year. . . . Just about everyone who longs to write an e-mail should be made to read [this book]."--Mark Y. Herring, Libraries & Culture

"There is much profit to be gained in the world of cyberspace, and Schultze has provided some wise counsel for those who would seek it. He offers a needed corrective to our frenzied, immoderate pursuit of technology. Schultze has clearly written Habits to benefit all citizens of the cyber-world, Christian and non-Christian alike."--Richard K. Hiers, Presbyterion

"As quickly as technology has progressed over the past 20 years, so have people's lifestyles and habits. This progression seems to perpetually leave the church playing catch-up. However, this book offers readers a helpful way to frame the situation and calls the church to consider how different technologies are impacting us as God's beloved."--Prism ePistle