There’s no denying that technology has had a huge impact on the lives of people across the globe, regardless of the sector you’re referring to. From education to healthcare, technology has crept its way into every aspect of life with the aim of improving an existing process. Something that is hugely important to billions of people worldwide is religion as, for many, this is what dictates how they lead their lives. Despite its worldly authority, religion has still not gone unaffected by the growth of technology. On the whole, technology has had a predominantly positive impact on the concept of religion, but in what way has it affected it?
First thing’s first, it’s abundantly clear that online engagement has optimized one’s ability to access religion. For example, various Islamic charities provide an online Zakat calculator, so that Muslims can calculate how much Zakat that they owe. Since Zakat is an obligatory charitable contribution, without an online calculator, Muslims would simply be forced to calculate the amount themselves. Not only would this be timely and complicated for some, but it could result in the donation of an incorrect amount. This would mean that one is not fulfilling their religious duty in the right capacity.
Distance isn’t a Problem
Another thing that technology has defeated is the problems that distance presents. This was particularly highlighted during the pandemic, when it wasn’t permitted to gather with people outside of your household. As a result, religious services were held online, so that followers of certain religions could still worship in a group and pay their respects to their god. These practices have continued even as we begin to make our way out of the pandemic for vulnerable people who are unable to leave their homes or even the hospital. Similarly, this allows people to partake in religious services worldwide.
Religion is often deemed an old-fashioned concept with outdated beliefs, but the emergence of technology has meant that reputations are changing. You’re now able to download all manner of apps on your smartphone to aid you in the following of your religion. Whether you download an app version of the bible, or an app that tells you the correct direction to face whilst praying, religion is no longer an outdated concept and is moving with the times. Similarly, this platform allows followers of all types to interact, meaning that there’s no longer one set view out there. Instead, everyone is able to express their beliefs.
Emphasis on Statistics
The development of technology has meant that everything has become a lot more measurable. At the click of a button, you can discover that upwards of 2.38 billion people practice some form of Christianity, around 14.8 million people practice Judaism, and around 1.7 billion people follow Islamic practices. Not only this, but religious followers are quantified via Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and other forms of online subscribers. This notion of quantifiable value plays a role in influencing religious groups, which can have positive and negative effects. By placing a number on anything, it introduces an element of competition, which isn’t particularly healthy when it comes to someone practicing their individual religious beliefs.
Finally, the boom in technology means that religion has a means of reaching people that may have never interacted with it previously. For example, social media is a great way of engaging young people that otherwise may not have an interest in a certain religion. Similarly, it allows people to learn about religions that are outside of their own beliefs. They’re then able to make an informed decision about religion best adheres to their values.