(This post is part of the Sinai and Synapses Discussion Forum, a collection of perspectives on specific topics. It is part of our Fall 2014 series, “Are We Using Technology, or is Technology Using Us?“)
Many a pundit has suggested that the Internet has stirred – or is a symptom of – the greatest technological revolution since the dawn of the industrial age, or even the invention of the printing press in 1448. In fact, they could well be understating the impact of technological advances in all areas of our life, including our spiritual lives.
Religious communities and all of the relationships therein are being reshaped with remarkable rapidity. Technology is creating greater symmetry in relationships between clergy and congregants and encouraging greater institutional transparency. Many of these changes are positive, while others, such as distractions within interpersonal interactions and the search for meaning, may be causing challenges.
No matter one’s feelings about the interaction of religion and technology, religion is being pushed, cajoled, uplifted, and profoundly changed by the technological advances of our time and merits greater study.
I recently had the opportunity to join with the Reverend Paul Raushenbush, Executive Editor of Huffington Post Religion to more deeply examine the ways that changes in communication technology, and particularly the Internet, are affecting religion – from the vantage point of someone at the cutting edge in his presence within both spheres.
In a time of change, what remains constant? Where does authority come from in a decentralized world? What are the implications of the “always-on” nature of public speech today? How has technology created new ways to pray?
We look forward to your reactions and to continue the conversation about these ever-unfolding changes.
Part 1: Who has authority?
Part 2: New kinds of relationships
Part 3: What does public speech look like now?
Part 4: New ways to pray