Spiritual Web Site Sees Significant Growth


 Spiritual Web Site Sees Significant Growth

An interesting phenomenon is happening with spiritual website visits. Appearing to grow in recent years, the number of people visiting websites for religious and spiritual guidance has increased significantly, which could be a result of the increasing need to seek solace amid lives that are hectic and filled with noise. Websites for Christian churches have seen an uptick in visitors after Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016 and also as a result of the scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky at Penn State University. The Vatican also experienced an uptick in visitors following Pope Francis’s visit to the United States last year.

This trend is visible on the World Wide Web, with just three websites being responsible for approximately a quarter of the 14 billion page views in the United States alone. In addition, one may see an increase in website traffic with each passing day as people open their browsers to check out what new spiritual resources are available. These high traffic websites are manned by loners and people who seek counsel about their struggles with loneliness. They can also be likened to a spiritual version of an online dating website or social media such as Facebook. All these websites have experienced a spike in visitors after two tragedies that have rocked the country: Donald Trump's election victory and Jerry Sandusky's conviction for child sexual abuse. The Vatican's website experienced a surge in visitors after Pope Francis visited the United States last year.

"Tragedy is a spiritual vacuum," said Caren Graeber, assistant professor of communication at Concordia University Wisconsin, who has done extensive research on spirituality and social media. Following such tragedies, she added, "People like to connect with religion and spirituality to help them make sense of what happened." Although there may be some truth to this assertion, the growing trend of religious websites could also mean that people are more willing than ever before to seek a sense of meaning and belonging amidst the chaos found in today's world. Young people in particular, could be especially prone to visiting religious websites because they are unencumbered by the prejudices that older generations may have been plagued with.

Furthermore, it is also important to mention that different spiritual groups have taken a special liking to using the Internet as a medium for sharing their message of hope and peace with the world. This is especially true for numerous Christian churches across America. In fact, many websites belonging to these Christian churches run on a donation basis so that they can continue to provide counseling and spiritual guidance at no cost. This helps them reach out and connect with more people who are feeling lost and alone in this world.

With a belief that they serve an important role in society, these church websites are also seeing a spike in visitors soon after their services have been livestreamed on the web. "You don't have to be on the Internet or like technology," said Tommy Blake, associate pastor at Cornerstone Church. "If God is using you as a vessel of compassion and a lantern of hope, this world needs that." As Christianity becomes more accepting of LGBTQ issues, more churches are becoming more open about their faith views. This trend is visible online as well when it comes to spiritual outreach and counseling. For example, LiveScience reported today about the growing use of livestreaming among Christian churches.


As a result of these recent trends, Graeber believes that we are now seeing what the future of spirituality looks like. "It will be the Internet," she said. The growth in religious websites could also be an indicator that people are becoming more spiritualized and seek guidance from the afterlife through websites as opposed to their own local churches; or that they are turning towards online alternatives to traditional offline ways to connect with spiritual meaning. However, more and more religious groups are now reaching out to their parishioners and followers to promote their online presence as well.

About the Author: Benjamin Lim is a guest writer based in Singapore who writes for VoicesofSingapore.com  and VoicesofAmerica.com .

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