Downloading God, “Big Box” Churches, and the Crystal Shop around the Corner
The digital age of the 21st century has initiated fundamental changes to the world inwhich we live. Like the printing press, the telephone, and television before them,computers, the Internet, iPods, and cell phones have all transformed the ways in which we communicate, meet prospective love interests, read books and newspapers, and yes, even experience the sacred. A person of faith from almost any faith tradition, past or present, can search the Internet and find not only websites that house extensive information on beliefs and practices, but also entire sites for experiencing religious rituals and community with the click of a mouse. More advanced sites allow a worshipper to actually participate in a ritual via webcams and interactive technology. New religions also appear regularly online, attracting seekers and the curious public to explore and experience the sacred in new ways, from the sublime and traditional to the novel, odd, and even dangerous.