The world we live in is vastly different from what it used to be only fifty years ago, let alone a century or two ago. Technology has advanced immensely, and we have seen such innovations, that we could never dream of. However, due to this development, life had to adapt to it, and thus, life became faster, people started working more and having less and less free time. In the United States, one of the leading countries in technological development, this is felt very strong. There is little to no time to even attend church anymore. That, of course, doesn’t mean that people across the United States have given up on it; it has just evolved into a more readily accessible form.
How does the Internet fit into all of this?
The Internet is a powerful tool, and it can be used to obtain practically any kind of information. With the Internet becoming more and more integrated into our everyday lives, it is no wonder that people started using it to explore religion and solve any religious riddles that were bugging them. This can also be a great option for shy people, who are too embarrassed to go to their local church and ask about anything that they might find confusing or unclear.
Does the online religious experience change over time?
There are many factors that influence how much Internet usage in America is religion-oriented, but a 2001 study has shown that, in situations of great distress, people are more inclined to look for religious answers and advice online; shortly after the September 11 attacks, 23 percent of people used the Internet in order to get more acquainted with the basis of Islam, due to the overwhelming panic at the time. Although the last one was not an online spiritual quest, but rather an informative web search, it still shows how people are choosing to get their information about religion.
How can a person use the Internet for religion today?
Today, the Internet has grown into a complicated world of information and communities that are only a click away. There are numerous bloggers, some of them quite famous in their own respective churches, who write on the topic of religion; what is more, there are also online churches that people can become a member of and attend. Some younger churches also offer their services online. For example, the Church of Scientology offers to do a personality test online, in order to provide an individual with the spiritual help that they need, though this later has to be continued in person.
Can online religion make traditional religion obsolete in America?
There is no objective evidence that points to that possibility. In other words, though Americans nowadays are more inclined to research religion from the comfort of their own homes, the traditional church experience is something that cannot be easily emulated with a computer. To summarize, Internet use for religious purposes can only help the position on religion in the United States.