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Thu Mar 20, 2014, 01:08 AM

The gods are so techie

I'm writing a book (I know, who isn't?), but in doing the research for a chapter I'm calling "God Goes Digital," I got so tickled I had to stop and share. Here's a smattering.

Digital translations of the Bible have been around for a while, but now the Koran can be read in 1s and 0s, too, even in Saudi Arabia.
Spiritual e-books are clearly the wave of the future. One UK hotel has gone the Gideons one better, providing Kindles instead of Bibles in the rooms.

Rather than schlepping them to the synagogue for the traditional one-on-one lessons in person, tech-savvy Jewish parents can now sign their kids up online for the Easy Bar Mitzvah program.

In India, enterprising entrepreneurs have found a way to simplify, and capitalize on, the traditional practice of making “prasad” offerings, usually of food but sometimes of other gifts, to God or to a Guru at the site of a holy temple or shrine. After logging into the web portal, devotees can choose a temple where they want to make an offering and the day on which they want the prasad to be offered. The company, OnlinePrasad, is diversifying to include other product offerings like idols, gemstones and rudrakshas.

If you’re having a hard time praying, Divineoffice.com boasts over 1,000 prayer apps. (And that’s just the number for catholic prayers!) Prayer apps allow you to “submit your very own prayers, pray for others through your iPhones and iPads, and keep track of your submitted prayers.” Many of these include a scrollable prayer subject list for quick selection. Anger, angst, bad dog, bitch next door, Comcast, creditors, etc., etc.

If you’ve checked out the several models available on Amazon you already know that Muslims no longer need to depend on analog prayer clocks. But you may not know that even the Buddhists are going digital.

Traditional Tibetan prayer wheels (called Mani wheels) are rolls of thin paper, imprinted with many, many copies of a mantra, or prayer. Wheels are often placed where they can be spun by wind or by flowing water or spun by the heat rising from a flame or by steam. Prayer wheels are often spun by people entering a shrine, or along the route which people use as they walk slowly around and around a sacred site -- a form of spiritual practice called circumambulation.

Pretty cool, but SO 2012. For the right price you can now turn your hard drive into a prayer wheel. At the very least you can download a prayer wheel screen saver. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, has said that having the mantra on your computer works the same as a traditional Mani wheel. As the digital image spins around on your hard drive, it sends the peaceful prayer of compassion to all directions and purifies the area. Mani wheels are available for both Macintosh and Windows systems.

If you need your demons exorcised you can now use Skype. American Evangelical Pastor Bob Larson has built a business by exorcising demons via video chat, using hand gestures–like crossing people’s foreheads by waving his pointer finger in front of the camera, using virtual eye contact, or thrusting a cross at the laptop.

Raptured.com is your guide to making the most of being left behind. Get soon-to-be-raptured friends to leave you their worldly goods to stop them falling into the hands of the worldwide government of Antichrist. Don't miss the map of how the big day will affect US politics.

Finally, from The Fruitcake Zone at Ship of Fools I learned about software that downloads images from pizzacams around the world, and compares them digitally to the face of Christ. Join the search for a cheese feast with anchovies and our Lord now.

(And let me know, please, if you know of other humorous examples. )

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Reply The gods are so techie (Original post)
Brainstormy Mar 2014 OP
progressoid Mar 2014 #1
Brainstormy Mar 2014 #4
Lordquinton Mar 2014 #6
F4lconF16 Mar 2014 #2
Brainstormy Mar 2014 #3
onager Mar 2014 #5
Brainstormy Mar 2014 #7
onager Mar 2014 #8

Response to Brainstormy (Original post)

Thu Mar 20, 2014, 04:15 PM

1. Didn't the Pope go all twittery?

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Response to progressoid (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 20, 2014, 09:00 PM

4. Yep, Pope Francis is @Pontifex. n/t

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Response to Brainstormy (Reply #4)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 01:47 AM

6. Doesn't he sell indulgences online too?

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Response to Brainstormy (Original post)

Thu Mar 20, 2014, 07:15 PM

2. I am interested in this book.

Please let us know when you finish.

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Response to F4lconF16 (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 20, 2014, 08:58 PM

3. You bet!

Title is "The Gods are Hilarious." Looking at fall of this year.

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Response to Brainstormy (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 01:33 AM

5. Muslims actually had those devices years ago.

I saw them all over the place in Egypt from 2005 on. They were about the size of a small cell phone, and could contain a lot of different religious apps. And they were priced so that just about anybody could afford one, though naturally there were Deluxe and "bare-bones" models.

At minimum, IIRC, most of them featured:
1. Searchable Koran and hadiths
2. Qibla compass (i.e., always pointed toward the direction of Mecca)
3. Koranic chants in MP3 format. (Great Koranic chanters are like rock stars in the Middle East. They have to be booked months in advance for a wedding or other event, and they make a lot of money.)

We infidel Westerners called these things...what else? The I-God.

By now, I'd guess all their functions have been incorporated into smart phones, I-Pods, etc. I left Egypt in 2009.

I also worked in Saudi Arabia for 2 years, but that was a lot longer ago. Saudi Arabia is a lot more strict about religion than Egypt. e.g., Egyptian women would come up and talk to me on the street. That never happened in Saudi Arabia. Even Western women there had to be careful about not riling up the Religious Police. The RP generally wouldn't arrest a Westerner unless they had done something really outrageous. But they had lots of little humiliating things they could do for harassment.

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Response to onager (Reply #5)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 09:50 AM

7. didn't know about the Qibla compass

that's so interesting! as is the rest of your post. Thanks! It's hard to just figure some of this stuff against the idea sustained by many in very conservative religions that the internet is evil. but that's another subject.

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Response to Brainstormy (Reply #7)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 01:05 PM

8. Your hotel room in the Middle East will also have a qibla...

Usually a sticker in the shape of an arrow, pointing toward Mecca. Sometimes it's inside a drawer, other times it's stuck to the top of the desk or somewhere similar.

I lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which is only about 50 miles from Mecca. Sometimes on the weekend we would drive down the Jeddah-Mecca highway. There was lots of interesting stuff on that road, including a huge used camel dealer. (No, I'm not making that up. Well, I guess he sold new camels too...)

As infidels we were not allowed to enter Mecca, and there was a police checkpoint at the city limits to enforce that and turn us back. Only residents or pilgrims are allowed in Mecca. Pilgrims must have a special pilgrimage visa issued by the Saudi govt.

Most pilgrims came in via the huge "Pilgrim's Airport" in Jeddah. Just by coincidence, I was in the country when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait etc. Because of its size, the Pilgrim's Airport was temporarily turned into an airbase for all the military aircraft coming in - mostly American. That was a VERY sensitive subject and nobody in officialdom wanted to talk about it. The hypocrisy was hilarious. As usual!

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