By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
(CNN) We can blame the Internet for plenty: the proliferation of porn, our obsession with cat videos, the alleged rise of teen trends like – brace yourself – eyeball licking.
But is it also a culprit in helping us lose our religion? A new study suggests it might be.
Allen Downey, a computer scientist at Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts, set out to understand the national uptick in those who claim no religious affiliation. These are the “nones,” which the Pew Research Center considers the fastest-growing “religious” group in America.
Opinion by Brett Robinson, Special to CNN
(CNN)— Forget the forbidden fruit logo and the cult of Apple jokes. The legacy of Steve Jobs is anything but religious.
Apple was conceived in the heady days of the counterculture movement. While Jobs and friend Steve Wozniak were busy hacking into AT&T’s long-distance phone lines from a Berkeley dorm room in the 1970s, the culture was awash in New Age experimentation and social unrest. Traditional institutions were under siege by idealistic youth rejecting what they viewed as mass-marketed delusions.
At the top of the hit list was organized religion. When Jobs and Wozniak got the phone hacking device to work, their first call was to the Vatican. They proceeded to hang up on the pope’s personal secretary before he could connect the call to the Holy Father. Jobs the iconoclast relished the prank.
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
(CNN) – Christians tweet from the heart, atheists from the head, according to a new study.
The study conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tapped Twitter as a research tool and compared the messages of Christians and atheists.
The conclusion: When they are limited to 140 characters or less, these researchers say, believers are happier than their counterparts. FULL POST
By Kelly Marshall Smoot, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Hoping to enhance the conclave experience, some new apps and websites are using technology to bring a centuries-old, top-secret tradition of selecting the next pontiff – one that still relies on smoke signals – to Catholics and pope watchers around the world.
Logos Bible Software designed Conclave, a free app, and had a working prototype within 48 hours after Pope Benedict XVI announced he intended to resign.
"At first we thought we didn't have time for it, and then we decided to go for it," said Andrew Jones, director of Catholic products for Logos Bible Software, about the process of developing the app. "Never before has technology been so accessible for such a specific task. Generating a new piece of software this quickly, or customizing it for such a brief event, was previously unheard of."
By Brandon Griggs, CNN
Assuming Pope Benedict XVI steps down as planned at the end of February, his tenure on Twitter will have been fleeting.
The pope has been active on the social-media platform for only two months. During that time he has sent just 34 tweets - 33 if you don't count one that corrected a typo in a previous message.
The spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics stunned the world Monday with the news that he will resign February 28 "because of advanced age."
Most of the pope's messages to his 1.5 million followers have promoted Catholic doctrine and teachings, although he has also occasionally commented on current events, condemning violence in Nigeria and Syria. One tweet asked followers for suggestions on how to be more prayerful when "we are so busy with the demands of work, families and the world?"
The first Catholic pope to use Twitter, he tweets under the handle @Pontifex - meaning "bridge builder" in Latin.
By Cyrus Farivar, ArsTechnica
(CNN) – For months now, the French-language twittersphere has lit up with a rash of racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic tweets using the hashtags #UnBonJuif (a good Jew), #SiMonFilsEstGay (if my son is gay), and #SiMaFilleRamèneUnNoir (if my daughter brings home a black guy).
Last fall, under pressure from French advocacy group Union of Jewish Students (UEJF), Twitter agreed to remove some offensive tweets. In October 2012, at Berlin's request, Twitter also suspended a German neo-Nazi account based in the city of Hanover, the first time the company had responded to such a government request.
By Katie Hunt, for CNN
Hong Kong (CNN) - A darkened room in a Hong Kong university building is an unlikely portal into an ancient world.
But with the touch of an iPad Mini, the space is digitally transformed into a 1,500-year-old Buddhist grotto. Its walls decorated with exquisite but faded paintings of enlightened beings, dancers and musicians.
Another swipe and a pair of 3-D glasses brings the cave to life.
(CNN) - Onlookers might think you're checking stocks, watching clips of "Honey Boo Boo" or reading news out of Libya. But on the subway, in the doctor’s office, under a beach cabana – with the right gadget, God’s word can be with you.
Making the Bible accessible and shareable is what YouVersion’s Bible app is all about. About 300 versions of the Bible can be downloaded for free to smartphones and tablets, allowing people speaking 144 different languages to get their fix of Scripture.
“A lot of people in the U.S. have six or seven Bibles in the house and never use them,” says Bobby Gruenewald, 36, the man behind this mobile Christian mission. “Our goal was to help people engage with the Bible.”
If numbers are any indication, mission accomplished.
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Despite the attention that major religious leaders have received for their use of Facebook and Twitter – including pastors like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen - a new survey finds that only a small minority of Americans use social media for religious reasons.
Six percent of Americans say they are part of a spiritual group on Facebook, and 5% report that they follow a spiritual leader on Twitter, according to a survey released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute. The numbers come as nearly half of Americans report using Facebook at least a few times a week.
“We were a little bit surprised,” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute. “We thought there would be a higher usage given all the press that has surrounded pastors on Twitter and people posting prayers online.”
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.