Religion’s Relationship with Technology
A refined communication technology can be an extremely useful way of interacting and influencing people’s imagination, beliefs, habits, and even influence their actions in positive ways. However, there is also the dark side of it. As depicted in Hollywood, religion uses technology in ways that could create a complex and captivating scene within humanity’s potential that demonstrates people achieving almost unimaginable feats.
However, in certain scenes and scripts, we see massive destruction caused by the development of technology such as dangerous robots and portals to evil dimensions, priests led astray and satanic rituals etc.
The use of music, people marching and gathering people around large bonfires has been used for thousands of years to rally people together and indoctrinate them with chanting or catchy slogans to achieve the goal of a single leader of group, pushing people into one attractive ideal. Perhaps even a revolution that sways people by using covert instructions with a sweet promise of something wonderful at the end of the journey. For centuries, one of the most followed and at the same time, controversial concepts in our society were and still is, religion. Technology offers great ways to use this perfectly to influence people. What are these technology-based influencers?
We are living in the golden age of marketing. Before television and the Internet, reaching a target audience was challenging, getting results from said audience was tougher. Imagine this scenario for a moment, if you were Jeff Bezos trying to sell books without the current technology available, you would have to go door-by-door and ask people whether they would buy books or not. It was extremely hard to find the right audience for most business ventures. With religions using technology however, this was more problematic as the numerous beliefs often clash, finding the right location and time to influence people had to be carefully managed. Now with the use of technology and innovative strategies, reaching and developing an interested audience has become easier and a lot more efficient, now there are mobile apps dedicated to religious activities and connections to online communities that were not possible up until now.
The most popular ‘entity’, if it can be called that, in technology is social media. More people use social media than any other public pass time on earth. It takes one tweet, one post, one simple notification to go viral. A simple controversial post that attracts young and old people through their phones. Then the poster hosts online events based on the viral subjects that can lead a percentage of them to their belief system.
Online Religious Services
Post Covid-19, many religions have gone online. Prayer workings, Zoom meetings, other gatherings are justified in the building their followers up until a certain point, religious services such as sermons are now held at times and dates that were previously only held once each week in most cases. Having the opportunity to do online religious services opens a non-intrusive way to connect with people as they get to try connecting within the comfort of their homes. What comes next and how far can we take this?
Controversy – Pushing The Limits
How easy is it for a pastor or priest to listen to a confession over a Zoom or Skype call from a person sitting at home? What are the legal implications and if hacked, can the contents of this call be used legally? Perhaps it is too easy.
Can It Actually Be Used?
The reasons to use current technology have been mostly accepted and adopted by religions. Billions of people spend most of their daily lives online, marketing techniques are more sophisticated than ever before. Technology is neutral, it can be used for ‘evil’ or for ‘good’. Religions can influence people in entertaining ways and bring positivity and joy to a person’s life experience. That sense on connectivity and being part of an interactive online community can really fill the void that people can experience.