Sunday, October 2, 2011

How the Internet and Technology has Impacted Religion

How the Internet and Technology has Impacted Religion
                                                   (Guest Article By Ruben Corbo)

The ever-increasing popularity of the Web has risen out of necessity. The recession, gas prices, time constraints and countless other reasons have driven more people to the Web. During the recession, many people found jobs and solace through the church. As times grew more difficult, people confined to the home even sought religious information on the Internet. There are many church resources that can be accessed online, including church services. Technology and the Internet have significantly impacted religion and the way people worship today. Internet service providers facilitate this communication on the Web.
 According to a study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, nearly 25 percent of all Internet users have accessed information about religion online. Twenty-five percent of the entire Internet community equates to approximately 28 million people. This number has increased 21 percent since the year 2000. Sixty-seven percent of these people were seeking information about their own faith and 50 percent were seeking information about other faiths.

According to the same report, 38 percent of people have used the Internet to send prayer requests. Since people are online, churches have to meet people where they are physically located. The Internet allows churches to reach people in their homes, offices or other locations. Fifteen percent of people reported that the Internet makes them more committed to their faith.
What Religious Resources are Available Online?

Sixty-four percent of users found that it was easier to access religious materials online rather than through other sources. Forty-four percent of people also find that asking for a prayer request and devotional materials online was easier than asking for a request offline. Christians, Muslims and Jews have used the Internet forum for prayer and information.

For example, Muslims use the Internet to access their prayer schedules on their cell phones through an application called iPray. Muslims also have access to MuslimMatters, Elan and other sites that connect Muslims around the world in their faith. This is important to nearly two-thirds of Muslims that were born abroad but now live in the United States.

Christians may look up Bible passages through BibleGateway. They may also view church services online or participate in blogs. Many churches have Twitter accounts and some churches are hiring IT guys and consultants like to help them improve their online presence.

Jews may learn Hebrew through @JewishTweets. The lessons come 140 characters at a time. Jews also network with other people of their faith online. Jewish dating sites allow like-minded Jews to meet one another online and discuss their faith.

Even Atheists have their own sites. The Friendly Atheist, Atheist Revolution and the Atheist Blogger are among the most popular. These forums allow people to come together and critique religious news, politics and other topics. These forums help Atheists feel more comfortable about who they are.
What are the Benefits of Religion Online?

Not only is religion benefitting the parishioners of the church online, but the ministerial leaders are also utilizing the resources available. The minister of the The First Church of Cyberspace has used the Internet to collaborate with other ministers and also to find information for sermons. Ecunet is the resource that was established for religious professionals in 1985, and many found the resource to be “life changing.” The resource is convenient and full of incredible information. Other members of the religious community can critique the sermons online to improve presentation style.

The First Church of Cyberspace is designed for discussion and to promote deeper thinking in the religious community. The forum attempts to address controversial questions that traditional church organizations do not address in the pulpit. People, who cannot travel to church, no longer have to resort to one way communication from television programming. The online community can participate in the church community online. Nearly 45 percent of churches today have websites and experts expect that number to grow to 90 percent in the next five years.

Internet and technology has made a significant impact on religion. Many people who did not feel comfortable in a church environment, feel comfortable discussing religion online. As the costs decrease for Internet service providers, websites and web hosting services, the number of participating churches is expected to increase significantly. Churches may make a significant impact on people confined to their homes without significant resources.

This is a guest article by Ruben Corbo, a writer for the website Broadband Expert where you can find high speed internet service providers in your area and compare prices on different deals for your wireless internet necessities.

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