Over the last century, technology has had a profound impact on society. In the United States alone, over 110 million households now have broadband Internet access, and 81% of Americans own smartphones. Technological advances have changed the way people communicate, socialize, share information, work, and shop. Over 80% of smartphone owners use their phones to research products before they purchase them.
Technology has also impacted the way people practice their faith. While some religions and denominations shun technology, others have discovered technology can help them complete routine tasks more efficiently, communicate with their congregation, and share their faith with others. Rather than reject technological advances, many religious organizations utilize the benefits of technology to fulfill needs and accomplish goals.
Presenting Religious Texts
One of the greatest inventions of all time was the printing press. Until the creation of the printing press, access to religious texts was limited to a handful of religious denomination leaders, who would share from the texts during services. Once the printing press was invented, religious texts could be reproduced and distributed. This technological advancement allowed more people to learn about their faith. Those who could not attend services could read passages instead.
Today, religious teachings and texts are still printed for consumption. The Jesus Storybook Bible is an illustrated children's Bible that presents stories from the Old and New Testaments in a way that children can understand. Denominations that use these children's Bibles take advantage of technological advancements, making it possible for printed text to complement visual images that help tell the stories. This makes the stories accessible for young children who don't read yet, and for those that enjoy illustrated stories.
Children's Bibles aren't the only versions of religious texts designed for young readers. Children can learn about the Muslim faith from illustrated stories from the Quran and Quran bedtime storybooks. Those who practice Judaism can use the illustrated Torah and Torah bedtime stories to teach their children about their beliefs.
Technology has also enabled people to access religious texts in different ways. Forty years ago, individuals could purchase the Bible, Quran, or Torah on cassette. Today, individuals can still purchase religious texts presented on CDs. Religions used these advancements to ensure individuals who have issues with their vision or visual processing disorders that affect their ability to read could still access religious texts. With the rise of e-books over the last decade, religious texts have also been made available as e-book files, which can be downloaded onto computers, smartphones, and e-readers. E-book texts can be enlarged, making it easier for people with visual impairments to read the text. E-readers and smartphones are also lighter than printed books, making it easier for individuals with arthritis and other illnesses that affect the use of their limbs to hold.
The use of the printing press and subsequent delivery systems, such as CDs, have enabled people to distribute religious materials about their faith to others. Some religions have a mandate for followers to share their faith with others. Technology has enabled these people to fulfil that obligation and make information about their faith universally accessible.
Technology and Outreach
Religious organizations need members to operate. While some technological advances have made it easier to distribute religious texts and written information, other technological advances have made it possible for churches to reach potential congregants and keep their current members informed.
Many religious leaders and organizations have taken advantage of social media to communicate with their members and promote activities. Fifty years ago, it was common for people to live and work in the same town, and many people in the area would have a chance to see messages on church display boards to learn about upcoming events. Today, many people commute and shop online. This has made it harder for religious organizations to reach people in their community, but religious groups that have embraced technology have managed to overcome these obstacles.
One way religious organizations have done this in the past is by presenting televised services or hosting radio programs to share their faith. Religious organizations have also utilized these mediums to promote their services and special events.
Since the rise of the internet, many religious organizations have established websites online. Those who understand search engine search rankings have googled "SEO companies in Denver" and found a search engine optimization (SEO) company that can help them use SEO marketing strategies to boost their domain rating (DR) score. Sites with the highest DR scores are listed first on relevant searches. SEO companies know how to incorporate appropriate keywords into the content on the organization's website to improve the site's ranking. SEO companies can also evaluate the site design and make recommendations about how to improve the design to boost the DR score. For example, when people leave a site without engaging with the content, it counts as a bounce. High bounce rates lower a website's DR score. and tend to occur when the site is hard to navigate, doesn't present compelling information relevant to the search terms, or takes too long to load.
With the help of SEO marketing experts, religious organizations can increase traffic volume to their website, which can be used to promote events. Religious organizations that utilize technology to raise their profile online can share their faith and build their membership.
Religious organizations that have embraced technology have been able to use technology to create devices designed to support members. If you're wondering how to make a living as tech guru but want to have a career that honors your faith, you can become a programmer and use your skills to develop faith-based apps and devices.
For example, the eRosary is a sophisticated bracelet that serves as a fitness tracker and works with an app to help people track their prayers. People can also download apps on their smartphones. Some apps allow Hindus to make virtual offerings or burn virtual incense. Other apps display religious passages or remind users of times to pray.
Religious organizations regularly use technology to perform tasks and support their members. For example, many churches distribute printed bulletins at the start of services. These bulletins are reproduced using photocopiers or printers. Churches now have the option of creating online bulletins that can be accessed on smartphones. Implementing this technological option saves the church staff time and reduces church expenses.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, many religious organizations used technology to support their congregations by holding remote services. Religious organizations used YouTube and other online platforms to broadcast worship services online. Their congregants were able to sing along with the worship music and listen to a sermon without leaving their homes. Online services allowed members to maintain a safe social distance to prevent the virus's spread and continue practicing their faith.
Religious leaders who embraced technology were also able to stay in contact with their organization members during the pandemic. Leaders used video communication systems, such as Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime, to speak face-to-face with members. They were able to pray with individuals and provide counseling.
Religions that have embraced technology have been able to use technological advances to honor their faith, share their faith with others, access faith-based teachings and texts, and provide support for their members. Rather than being at odds with technology, many religious organizations have discovered ways to use technological advancements to support their followers and even fulfill some of their faith's tenets, such as the obligation to share their faith with others.