"Realism and moderation" is required in the debate about digitisation and technological progress, according to the chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm. He was speaking on the occasion of the St John’s Day reception given by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) in the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche (a former French Huguenot Church) in the centre of Berlin on 27 June. Further, he argued for a strong Europe and the "closely related idea of a community united in diversity". The challenges of the 21st century cannot be met with the mindset of the 19th century, Bedford-Strohm stated: "Our full support goes to all political leaders who have (…) strengthened the European level and its human rights foundation."
In his address headed "…A little lower than God – Images of humankind in a digital age" Bedford-Strohm linked biblical testimony and current challenges: "A little lower than God, crowned with glory and honour, that also means: humans cannot talk their way out of it, they have to take responsibility for the world, for the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, that God has created and entrusted to their care, and likewise for the algorithms of the present that humans have thought out for themselves."
While the opportunities of digital transformation are considerable, the risks and challenges must not be underestimated, the bishop said. At present there are still no effective, internationally coordinated rules for transparency and regulation in the field of digital communication. That must change: "What is at stake is no less than regaining a social space in which human beings spend a lot of time every day, under conditions of massive non-transparency and on the basis of rules not subject to democratic control."
Numerous guests from political, church, cultural and business life accepted the invitation of the EKD Council plenipotentiary to the annual reception at Berlin‘s Gendarmenmarkt. They included Volker Kauder, CDU parliamentary party chair.
The address of the EKD Council chair is available as of the commencement of the reception (06.30 PM) for download. The St John’s Day address is also streamed live: facebook.com/ekd.de
Hanover/Berlin, 27 June 2018
EKD Press Office