When the Rev. Paul Raushenbush’s partner’s mother’s health worsened last year, events progressed rapidly. While the two were by her side in the hospital, they learned she had about two to three hours to live. Using his smartphone, Raushenbush connected to the Internet and found prayers for the dying. They said a prayer as she died, and one after she passed away.
That would not have been possible without Raushenbush’s cellphone or the wealth of religious information available online. The advent and progression of the Internet and digital technology are changing the way people in our world experience life, particularly the study and practice of religion.
On Monday, Raushenbush, senior religion editor at The Huffington Post, opened the Week Six religion theme, “The Life of Faith and the Digital Age,” with a lecture titled “Behold, I Set before You a Blessing and a Curse — The Power of the Internet in Our Spiritual Lives.” In his lecture, Raushenbush focused on the Internet’s positive and negative impacts on religion, and he also discussed how religious leaders and practitioners can transform it into a positive place for faith and spirituality.