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21st Century Religion Apps

I was pretty excited when I saw an article about how apps are bringing religion into the 21st century. I’m pretty familiar with the 21st century, so I imagined changes like

  • abandoning belief in “infallibility” of centuries-old, mistranslated texts
  • embracing equal rights for women
  • accepting that evolution is the best paradigm for understanding biology
  • eliminating barbaric practices like genital mutilation
  • boring church services replaced with thrilling Words with Friends sessions

Unfortunately, I then read the article, at which point I discovered that the changes would be better described as “bringing the 21st century into religion”:

There was a time when Werle carried her leather-bound and dog-eared Bible everywhere she went, scribbling in the margins as she read. These days she accesses the Word and makes her notes on her iPod Touch.

It’s practically a new Reformation!

Twerski has apps that let him read the Torah, the Talmud and the Siddur, the book of daily prayers; recite the appropriate blessings for meals depending on the food that’s served; and vet the thousands of ingredients in his work inspecting Kosher food factories around the state.

“When I used paper … I could be sitting a long time. Now, it takes me just seconds to look for an ingredient,” he said.

So basically, it’s like the 20th-century religion (which was like the 19th-century religion, the 18th-century religion, and so on) but faster!

“It goes with me everywhere,” said Daniel Johnson, president of Wisconsin Lutheran College, who uses his iPhone to access the Bible, daily devotions, Christian music and sermons. “There’s not been a time in the history of man when it’s been as convenient to focus on one’s relationship with the Lord.”

There’s also never been a time in history when it’s been as convenient to focus on the merits of belief in the “Lord.” But to do that you’d have to, um, bring religion into the 21st century.

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4 Responses to “21st Century Religion Apps”

  1. James Sweet says:

    Heh, this is particularly interesting to me, because I am currently toying around with developing a religion-related mobile app. It turns out the idea I have is pretty original (there is a single iPhone app that does something similar, but it’s not very comprehensive or well put-together) so I have some hope it could make some money in an otherwise crowded marketplace.

    I had been wracking my brain for an original app idea that might be profitable. This is not a full-time activity for me, so I knew I would be unable to deliver any sort of complex functional activity. In other words, I had to think of a way to get people to pay money for nothing. Once I had framed it this way in my head, the answer was obvious! :D

    Perhaps Gould was right about NOMA — he just outlined religion’s magisterium incorrectly. It’s not that science is about facts and religion is about purpose… science is about facts, philosophy is about purpose, and religion is about CASH MONEY. Boo-ya!

  2. Joel says:

    I thought about making a YRIF app, but I don’t think Steve Jobs would approve it. Some people find the topic offensive, I’m told.

  3. James Sweet says:

    Want to pay me to make a Droid app? heh…

  4. debaser says:

    Catholic Priest Penis Protector ! — Finally an up-to-the-day list of relevant laws passed “discriminating” against their right to fuck children anywhere in the world! Hooray! The RCC has been touching this one up for years!

    Born Again Abortion Bomber! — Gives locations, hours, services and directions to help protect and harass your (soon to be closed, hi-fives!) clinic! For a small additional fee, personal info about clinic workers can be obtained to help further spread the hate of the lord.

    iMormon! — Not feeling homophobic enough? iMormon can generate an endless list of lies about the damn dirty gays. The Mormons funded this one like it was iProp8!

    Falwell’s that ends well! — Tired of missing out on the gay funeral protests? Finally the hatred of god as channeled through America’s lovable fag-hating leader can be harnessed to tell you anytime some known sodomite gets sent to hell, so you can let that family know how you feel about their departed loved ones! Never miss a chance to air out your bigotry again!

    Hour of Watchtower Power! — You’ll need headphones to make full use of this app, which quietly plays reassuring music and platitudes to help you get through your teeth-grinding-ly unwanted “witnessing” as you do the unwelcome work of your non-present god.

    “Jew Betcha!” A jewish app not for jews! (say waaaaat?) othrodox, reformed, reformodox, rabbinical, hassisdical, acidic, talmudic, inverted — what non-jew (app only avail in america, read non-jew as nominal christian) can keep those christ-murderin’ views strait? Now you don’t have to! Simply take a picture and this app will you ex-sectional advice as to which wacky subset of the zionist conspiracy they come from, and how to deal with them!

    “I’m sorta a buddist” — Rejected the religion of your youth, but don’t know where to turn for your residual “spirituality’? “I’m sorta buddist” is there for you! Per Newage standards, it contains no actual content, but looks and sounds nice as you superficially look through it on your journey into fluffy feel good “mysterious” eastern stuff!

    Atheism converter! — No, not for converting atheists to god, they’re too fundamentalist for that! (like, duh!) Put in any atheistic nonsense, and it’ll gradually massage the data into something that proves god exists, just like you always knew. Templeton-approved!

    Bible Bomber! Enter in any old bible verse, and it’ll find a verse that says the exact opposite! Spend literally hours marveling at how it all still comes out inerrant and error free. Literal Interpretation of divine revelation never sounded so dissonant, but so complimentary!

    Sharia-me-crazy! This app starts off smal,l and slowly reduces the functionality of all your other apps. When it grows enough, it will demand you submit to iIslam (sold separate), or it threatens to corrupt your device! Truly, another stunning forced marriage of the ancient with the relevant.

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