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Tech Talk :: Technology and Religion

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By Corey A. Washington

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. It hasn't taken long within my short lifetime to learn to adopt that message. But I sincerely doubt I'm alone. Whether you think of it in those words or not, we're creatures of habit — we won't just swallow anything and accept it for what it is. The topic of religion has a tough reputation for ... well, being tough.

It's a touchy subject that the hyper-sensitive church-goers (or mosque-goers) cling to. African-Americans too have their distinctive place in that category.

But you won't find anything controversial in this column (unless you're looking for it).

Take a deep breath and look around you. Technology is advancing. Aside from me revealing the obvious, I think you may not be looking hard enough.

Don't gaze out into the blue scanning for a satelite dish hovering in the sky spying on you — I don't intend on pressing any conspiracy theories upon you.

Technology is in your street lights, your telephone, and even your car. Again, I am not telling you anything new. But what you may be taking for granted is the fact these everyday things are more intricate than you may have imagined.

Where am I going with this, you ask?

I've consistently talked about fear and how it holds us back from engaging in technology. Forgive me for back-tracking a little, but I don't know if fear qualifies as an appropriate term now that religion has entered the mix this week.

I understand how parents must express caution when allowing their children or teens explore the world wide web. But for God's sake (no pun intended), it's not as if some sexual predator is going to reach his perverted hand into your computer screen and snatch your child.

Hypothetically (and unrealistically) speaking, if it did happen, I guess we would have the web to blame for that, wouldn't we, folks? In that case, why not blame Homeland Security. Look out! Osama's got your kid! I guess a long, winding trip through Afghanistan is in order then. Honey, pack up the camper van.

I kid too much.

But with so many — and too many people talking about an apocalypse coming and warning that we need to look for "the signs" (without Mel Gibson in hand) I think it is important to emphasize how technology in some religions is being viewed as a blessing and not a curse.

Research conducted by comScore Media Metrix for 2002 indicates that an average of 5 million internet users went online looking for religious web sites.

Many religious leaders I've spoken with have not taken the cautious approach other religious followers have over the years that technology has advanced. They're concern is getting left behind before they can draw on the internet's potential.

Why some members of their congregations act with haste is still beyond me.

I remember two years ago, doing research for one of my first articles, when a Baptist Pastor in San Bernardino I interviewed explained his interest in expanding his influence into the internet.

His words were filled with encouragement for everyone.

"It's through the glory of God that technology exists," he said.

It's unfortunate that by the time some of us wake up and realize technologies such as the internet's benefits, the FCC might be waiting with a pair of boobies from Howard Stern's talk show dangling over your head to stop you right in your tracks.

For more information, visit www.coreywashington.com or e-mail tekreporter@yahoo.com .

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