I came across this humorous but thought provoking post somewhere online, modified a bit for relevancy, believability and poignancy on how much technology is affecting, or is likely to further affect our (religious) lives:
Pastor: Praise The Lord, SomeBadi!
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The Holy Atmosphere Will Be Turbo Charged As Tablets Flicker, And Smartphones Ping, I Tell Ya.
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Can We Now Open The Electronic Bibles On Our Tablets To Ephesians 14:1….
Churches already use bulk SMS, email, Instant Messages (IM) to broadcast messages and announcements. Lots of people do not bring the physical bible or Hymn Book to church anymore.
It is easily possible to have tele-conferencing during church services, you can livestream church ministrations, have automation handle tithes and offerings, and print statements on- demand from the church web enabled applications.
Registration can all be rendered paperless, and every member information is just a browser away with Software As A Service (SaaS) church software.
In the more elitist or upscale churches, things like this are very common . Projectors, television, radio, wireless microphones and wireless loudspeaker, etc, allow more people to partake in religious functions.
Technology is enhancing (and degrading!) almost all aspects of our quality of life, so, it is normal that religion / worship would not be exempted. Taking advantage of technology for greater efficiency is what we need to embrace more.
In all of these… three questions pop-up in my mind..
First. When people no longer carry paper based physical Bibles, jettisoning it for the electronic variants on their smartphones and tablets , does that detract from the solemnity of the occasion? Aren’t the presence of the physical holy books emblematic of worship in a religious congregation ?
Second. In the Catholic Church, the officiating Reverend Father often sprinkles Holy Water on the Attendees. How do you catch that blessing when you worship from afar, electronically?
Third. Supposing you smartphone or tablet contains less than holy videos and pictures, how appropriate is it to bring it to the House Of The Lord, and worse use your electronic bible and concordance from the same “tainted* smart device ?
Is it not likely that, with this era of nomophobia and cellphone /tablet addiction, the minds of the congregation would wander with excessive use of technology like electronic tablets, and church WiFi?
Can we therefore say that some aspects of the application of technology to worship actually detracts from worship?
Would you have your confession in a Roman Catholic Church setting done over the internet? What if some malicious hacker get to record your conversation with Papa, then threatens to release the sordid details online, unless you “co-operate”?
Can we say technology and spirituality don’t mix, a la the “666” prediction which is looking more and more imminent?
“And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into the fiery hell.