Writer and blogger Oliver Staley penned a fascinating article on faith in Silicon Valley. Staley offers an outside perspective based on interviews with various people and visits to churches.
In my view, he paints a fairly accurate, multifaceted image of faith in Silicon Valley, often recognized as one of the least “Christian” regions in the US. Staley notes that committed believers are challenged to live out their faith in a region in which co-workers, neighbors, and colleagues range from curious to indifferent to sometimes hostile to Christian faith. “Silicon Valley’s Christians describe life as an uneasy negotiation, between expressing their faith as called for by the Bible and integrating themselves into secular workplaces where religion is viewed, at best, as an anachronistic curiosity, and at worst, as a malevolent force.”
Staley describes a more pervasive, different sort of religion in Silicon Valley. “There’s a strong current of belief in Silicon Valley, but it’s not in organized religion…Traditional religion in the Bay Area is being replaced with another sort of faith; a belief in the power of technology and science to save humanity. It’s a creed that says poverty and disease are simply programming challenges yet to be solved, bad code to be debugged.”
Staley cautions, however, that the religion of technology has not always worked out positively. “Despite its ambitions and lofty view of itself, evidence abounds that Silicon Valley’s trajectory toward a utopian future has gone askew. Facebook is accused of spying on its users and undermining democracy. Forums like Twitter and Reddit have become breeding grounds for racism and misogyny…”
Evident in Staley’s observation is the opportunity for outreach. Many people who are not Christ followers experience isolation, loneliness and a search for meaning in their lives. One interviewee sees “a frustrating aimlessness in much of the tech world…”
What Staley didn’t uncover, however, is what I believe is the beginning of a movement of God in Silicon Valley. The area hosts some amazing churches that are expanding to multiple campuses, new churches are forming, entrepreneurs are starting businesses to glorify God, and organizations like the Silicon Valley Prayer Breakfast and Transforming the Bay with Christ (TBC) are gaining traction.
The Silicon Valley Prayer Breakfast — an outreach activity — sells out all its events. TBC is unifying the Christian Community in the Bay Area, as well as facilitating effective service activities, and helping form new churches. In fact, TBC recently announced a fund — much like a venture fund — to launch new churches. Readers of this blog can view many other examples of how God is moving in Silicon Valley.
Nevertheless, Staley’s article is well worth reading. It gives an excellent outside perspective on faith in Silicon Valley. Just click on How to Talk About God in Silicon Valley.