- AI has revolutionized faith communities, enabling online worship services and online retreats for spiritual growth.
- Faith-based charities utilize online platforms for fundraising, encouraging philanthropy.
- Various mobile apps promote meditation and mindfulness for spiritual growth.
- Technology has great potential in faith-based learning and spiritual growth.
Today’s digital world has revolutionized many aspects of business and life. AI is constantly in the news as advances are seemingly made every day. And telehealth care is on the rise as people embrace the use of tech to access medical advice.
Education has also changed over the previous few years. The pandemic saw a rise in online learning. But, during Covid people also started to utilize the net for many other purposes. The convenience of home internet has led to an increase in remote working, and e-commerce.
It has also led to technology being used for virtual worship and faith-based learning. Believers and modern monks are realizing the benefits of digital technology in several ways.
Faith in the Modern Day and the Digital Era
As far as faith communities are concerned, one of the biggest changes in modern times is the use of the internet as a tool. Services can be live-streamed and believers may worship online.
Education is also a huge part of faith-based communities online. For instance, Theos University utilizes podcasts and streaming for biblical training. Anyone wishing to become a modern monk will find plenty of resources online today and guidance from other individuals.
In a similar way to how social media works, online faith communities can foster fellowship and support. And this can be achieved from the comfort of anyone’s home.
How Does Technology Get Used for Spiritual Growth?
Many people enjoy visiting and staying at retreats to improve wellness. Retreats help reduce the effects of toxic overload in everyday life. The modern world bombards people with stress and emotional strains. Retreats let people withdraw into a safe environment to unburden themselves.
Digital technology has allowed for online retreats for those looking for spiritual growth or even renewal. Individuals can come together online to share thoughts and inspire others to grow spiritually.
This happens in several ways, as you can see below.
Live Streaming Services
The internet allows streaming services to reach a global audience. All manner of streaming services can be used by faith-based universities and churches. Podcasts and webinars are also being enjoyed on demand.
Spiritual teachings are available for anyone to access no matter their location or time of day. Due to this freedom of resources, interfaith dialogue and understanding can be increased.
Churches have always been part of local communities. They have traditionally provided support during times of bereavement and in other crises. Faith-based charities may utilize the Internet and crowdfunding to raise funds for mission work and local communities.
By the end of last year, over $34 billion had been crowdfunded for various charitable causes. Online communities can connect generous people and businesses with charities. This can encourage philanthropy and digital fundraising could make a huge impact.
Online Prayer and Services
For many people who are unable to attend services, online prayer may be an important part of their lives. An online prayer network will connect like-minded people and promote a feeling of togetherness.
Around 33% of the world’s population has feelings of loneliness. Isolation is not rare, and the pandemic showed how important community is. Online prayer services help people to feel less alone.
Do You Know?
During the pandemic, 96% of the pastors live-streamed their services.
Faith-based schools and universities often operate from physical buildings. However, the internet and broadband have allowed access to spiritual literature regardless of location.
Anyone interested in spiritual learning needn’t travel to a faith-based school. Indeed, some faith-based colleges may start to exist solely online. Recent times have revealed the importance of different educational resources. The pandemic caused schools to close and led to a rise in online learning.
Digital libraries can contain e-books full of spiritual wisdom. They may also have sacred texts and scripture. Scholars interested in biblical training can cross-reference and research spiritual literature at their leisure online.
Support, Counseling, and Spiritual Guidance
The pressures of the modern world lead to psychological and emotional difficulties at times. For some, spiritual guidance helps in those trying times. But, access to support is not always available.
Online counseling can help restore faith and offer guidance. Mentorships and relations may grow online, and once again, a feeling of fellowship can be fostered.
Togetherness and Community
Today’s technology has led to a choice of ways to create an online community. Faith-based communities have sprung up using social media and dedicated websites.
Social media can be used to build friendships with like-minded individuals. Believers may reach out to others and find their faith restored through encouragement. And channels can be opened for discussion.
The internet can be divisive, or it can be inclusive depending on how it is used. Interfaith understanding and discussion can be encouraged through social media. The digital era could be harnessed to promote inclusivity and better understanding between faiths.
Education and Bible Lessons
As previously mentioned, there are many faith-based educational programs. Non-denominational faith-based colleges are fairly numerous in the US today. And remote learning is highly popular too.
Being able to undertake lectures and webinars at convenience can boost a scholar’s progress. Podcasts can be listened to on the go, and digital Bible lessons may be taken at any time. Online lessons of any kind are beneficial to students who need extra studying or revision.
Do You Know?
According to a 2022 survey, 21% of US adults use various apps and websites to take help in reading Bibles or other religious scriptures.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Billions of mobile apps have been downloaded and installed. New languages are learned through mobile apps, and many people organize their banking on smartphones. So, it should be of little surprise that mobile apps may be used for spiritual growth too.
Technology can be used for contemplative practices. Individuals may find focus and peace through guided meditation. Mindfulness apps can improve tranquility and help with awareness on a spiritual journey.
Spiritual Growth from Home
It was reported in January that US churches are closing due to dwindling attendance. One of the reasons for churches closing is believed to be the pandemic. Therefore, having access to prayer and paths to spiritual growth at home may lead to larger online congregations.
Faith-based learning may also increase as access to spiritual texts is made easier. Non-denominational churches believe in togetherness rather than any form of hierarchy. This may lead to a rise in spirituality which many people find gives them strength.
Ethical Considerations of Technology in Faith and Spirituality
There is some disparity in the world when it comes to access to technology. Even in the US, something like 40 million people still don’t have broadband access. Online communities can only do so much to promote inclusivity when so many people are lacking online access.
There is also the line between creating a digital connection and going overboard. The human connection mustn’t be lost. Cultural understanding is a must as is encouraging respect and sensitivity.
And while mobile apps and online resources are very beneficial, there is a need to consider mental well-being. Technology and offline time need to be balanced.
As long as certain ethical considerations are taken into place, technology has a great future in faith-based learning and spiritual growth.
Students may carry out research into sacred texts. Others may benefit from online communities that offer support and help to restore faith in mankind. Crowdfunding is another benefit of technology and faith-based charities or communities. Good causes can be helped through digital platforms and social media posts.
In a stressful world, the internet may offer a way for people to find spiritual growth and foster friendships and togetherness.