Home > Articles > Information Technology

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Religion and the Connected

Many of the world’s religions are adapting to connected technologies at different speeds. Religion, at its core, is all about communicating, and thus connected technologies should naturally find a home. Although there seems to be a spottiness in the patterns of technology adoption at the local level, there are some notable happenings in the broader world view.

Muslims pray five times per day—at sunrise, at noon, afternoon, sunset, and midnight—and they have to face in the direction of Mecca. In the dessert and in other areas, it can be difficult to find the right direction. They can now use their cell phones to respectfully find the correct direction of Mecca for their daily prayers.7 LG Electronics (and others) are making cell phones with an embedded compass and an ability to point to a particular direction.8 LG’s G5300 phone is able to indicate to the user the correct direction of Mecca after being fed some location information. There are more than 1.1 billion Muslims in the world, and a relatively ordinary cell phone can now allow them to tend to their daily prescribed ritual more easily. LG is specifically targeting this audience.

In another example, the Vatican issues text messages (SMS) to subscribers’ phones containing daily prayers. A service from http://www.popemessage.com will send a daily message taken from the pontiff’s teachings to subscribers’ cell phones. To subscribe, users just send an initial SMS message ‘POPE ON’ to the number 24444, and the process starts automatically. There is a small fee of between 10 and 30 cents per message received. This service has been received sincerely by subscribers who welcome a short daily papal message as a welcome interruption to an otherwise harried day. (Note here the value of immediate yet asynchronous nonvoice messaging—a theme we explore in the following chapter). This service is overwhelmingly successful and follow-on services with more rich features are in the works. Many priests, reverends, and rabbis have similarly started text messaging their parishioners’ cell phones, for those who could use a little prayer boost in a time of need, or simply as a reminder that a spiritual leader is thinking of them.

Some effort is even being made to produce live masses (or other services) from locations around the world broadcast to your cell phone. Perhaps during an afternoon lunch walk to get away from the stresses of the office cube (or cubeless) society, you’ll take in a live evening Irish mass. Perhaps you’ll "message" a clergyman in some far-off country encouraging him in his missionary work. In much the same way that technology allows businesses to be more continuously connected, so too it seems that our religious lives could be enriched with closer (albeit less physical) contact.

PDA devices have been a boon for biblical scholars and general civilians. Selected portions of the Bible or the entire Bible (or other religious doctrine) can be downloaded and rapidly cross-referenced to easily find a needed passage wherever you are. Online services offer to download specialty material daily that users can read at their leisure. PDAs and cell devices are now an additional tool for religion that provides convenience and saves time.

Tech News World (http://www.technewsworld.com) recently interviewed Tom Ferguson, associate deputy of interfaith relations for the Episcopal Church.9 "Religion is not embracing the information revolution; it’s reaping what it sowed hundreds of years ago. Religion created the information revolution that has been ongoing," explains Ferguson in the interview. "People crave religion and spirituality without having it crammed down their throats in church. Anonymity and having the user be the one in charge have driven the [...] spirituality engines. Technology has allowed thousands—if not millions—of people to begin to develop spirituality outside of the traditional power structures."

Ferguson acknowledges that elements of religion are going through a telecommuting style change much like businesses are seeing. "I live in Los Angeles and work for the New York office. While this is common most everyplace and is a no-brainer to most people reading this, it’s taken the church a long time to fully embrace telecommuting. There’s so much in religion that needs a home, a center—a Vatican, Jerusalem, a Mecca, a Ganges River. This is going to be broken down in coming years. The definition of place and center will have to be re-imagined."

Indeed, finding "place and center" will have to be re-imagined in the connected world as technology allows a stretching of physical boundaries. Religion can thrive in the newer, more connected world, given the vastness of Web connections allowing people to self-organize and more easily share common views and find the information that most interests them. It will be different, no doubt, from the religious experience of our youth.

In pockets, members of religious communities are crossing the divide, to their benefit.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020