Technology is changing the social, cultural, political, and religious structures. Religious groups, including Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism, are conservative and less likely to incorporate new trends. However, technology has had a direct and indirect impact on them. The effect is both negative and positive.
Social media technology detaches people from religious practices. Social media is addictive, and people spend considerable time on the platforms, forgetting to say a prayer or just uttering a quick one. Traditionally, people prayed for half an hour or hours before falling asleep. However, social media invention caused people to shift from praying at night to viewing content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or chatting on WhatsApp. Nowadays, evening prayers take less than five minutes so that people can explore social media content. Moreover, people do not have time to read the Bible or Quran because they are glued to their smartphones and computers.
Technology undermines children’s involvement in church and religious activities. Many children are obsessed with playing video games, watching movies or television shows, and streaming. They hardly have time to do any other thing. For example, such children do not participate in family functions leave alone church activities. Due to the entertainment brought by technology, young people would rather stay at home entertaining themselves rather than attending church or religious functions. Technology has separated children from religious teachings and activities. Only strict parents manage to instill religious obedience to technology-addicted children.
Technology affects religion by creating opportunities to sin. For example, Instagram users upload photos showing lavish lifestyles, causing envy and jealousy in others. Envy grows to hatred, causing a person to sin, commit immoral acts, or hurt others. The almost naked pictures on Instagram and other social networks ignite sexual lust, attempting an individual to “explore,” resulting in adultery and unfaithfulness in marriage. For example, a married man can pursue a sexual relationship with an Instagram model due to the lust caused by viewing her revealing body pictures. Furthermore, technology motivates people to commit crimes and sinful acts such as fraud, exam cheating, creating and watching pornography, and cyberbullying.
Despite the above adverse effects, technology helps spread religious teachings. For example, social networks, including YouTube and Facebook, allow priests, imams, rabbis, and ministers to reach a broad audience and share God’s or Allah’s word. Traditionally, religious figures shared the good news on the church or mosque and crusades. Such channels have limited reach compared to social media, which allows a minister to share the good news with thousands and millions of people worldwide. Social media penetrates everywhere, allowing religious groups to convert non-believers into Christians, Muslims, or Hindus. Without technology, primarily the internet and social media, many people could not be converted into believers.
Furthermore, technology is a stepping stone to religious faith. Many people, including non-believers, are interested in accepting Christianity, Islam, or other religion but are unaware of how to do it. Moreover, some individuals are shy and reluctant to go to religious establishments and ask about joining a church, confessing sins, or receiving baptism. Technology allows such people to access religious services online and learn how to convert or confess sins. The spiritual teachings available online equip people with information required to join Christianity or Islam and actively participate in places of worship. Technology has removed the information barrier that blocked people from joining Christianity or Islam.
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