The more things change, the more they surprise us. And if Old Man Evolution, Darwin, is to be believed, only the fittest survive. The two maxims put together represent the changing facets of world religion. How else can you explain the Pope’s presence on Facebook, soon after he flashed across our screens, waiting to be downloaded on YouTube?
It’s perhaps what spiritualists describe as the new, ‘moralistic’ path towards ‘adjusting’ to the transforming world around us. The Vatican labels it as a move to connect itself with the youth and allow them to see and hear the Pontiff wherever they may be. And that’s not all. The papacy has a new website and an iPhone application, too. And if reports are to be believed, the first day itself saw 500,000 devotees paying their virtual obeisance on the homepage.
But that shouldn’t surprise us, should it? After all, some of us have taken virtual tours of Vaishno Devi and many have also ordered prasad from the Venkateshwara Temple in Tirupati by just clicking a button. Then there are those periodic emails that allow users to perform aartis and offer sweets to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Saraswati around the time of Diwali. The combination of religion and technology, however blasphemous it may have been seen to be a few decades ago, is a fact of life today. It is holding the world of divinity together and the pious are getting a chance to experience new-age religiosity without moving out of their zones of comfort.
But then things will continue to change and the ‘fit’ will have to keep fighting to survive. But we can’t quite see the Pope hanging out on Facebook like your common and garden friend. And we don’t think he’ll change his status on the Net either. Well, let’s wait around for the pontifical Tweets, shall we? The Lord’s our Father after all. Amen!