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Confessions on your phone!

A new application for the Iphone is on the market; hang on let me confess. It is not exactly a new idea, invention or creation but a digital experience for religion. The new iConfess has been approved by the Catholic Church and offers worshippers guidance through confession. Pope Bendedict XVI speech at the World Communications Day addressed the realisation and impact of technology on our individual lives and how the internet has affected our ways and means of communication, types of relationships and knowledge (learning and thinking). The Pope appreciated the benefits of this ‘digital age’ but at the same time showing awareness,

The task of witnessing to the Gospel in the digital era calls for everyone to be particularly attentive to the aspects of that message which can challenge some of the ways of thinking typical of the web. First of all, we must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its “popularity” or from the amount of attention it receives. We must make it known in its integrity, instead of seeking to make it acceptable or diluting it. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction. (9 February 2011, Vatican website)

The application is an individual experience tailored to your exact profile based on personalised factors such as age, sex and marital status and your conscience is examined. Using the application users can look through the sacraments, admit their wrong doings and then keep track of their sins.

The application is not designed to replace the current traditional confession process but it is to help improve the experience and shows religion embracing new media. Some people may have previously found it difficult to express their sins to a priest but with this application they can create a personal profile, retrieve a personal examination before the confession and be guided through confession with ease. The application erases their sin(s) afterwards to mirror the forgiveness of ‘washing away’ the sin.

This is a monumental occasion with religion embedding further into the media consumed world we live in. Is it a step in the right direction offering younger users more interaction with religion and each other in a social mediated sphere? Or is it associating and placing religion with money, profit and other popular applications? Does the application really have the same meaning and importance to confession in a church? It is £1.19 whereas in a church it is free.

 

World hit by mysterious animal death epidemic

2 million fish have died in the Chesapeake Bay area in Maryland. Hundreds of dead birds have fallen from the sky in Louisiana. Australian homes have been flooded. 200 dead birds found on a bridge in Texas. 100 tons of sardines, croaker and catfish were found dead along the Brazilian coast. Hundreds of dead turtle doves in the streets of Faenza, Italy. A little closer to home in Britain, 40,000 dead devil crabs washed up along Kent’s coast.

With deaths in such large quantities it has caused a stir amongst scientists, the media and the public. So are these incidents related to one another?

Many conspiracy theories have hinted at religion being behind the deaths. A warning from God or prediction from the Bible. However magazines such as the New Scientist have said this is not the end of the World and not to fret. It has been suggested that New Year fireworks could have affected the birds. Polluted waters and plummeting temperatures were also suggested for the number of fish deaths. However this article only tackles two of the many incidents reported.

The Cool Jew website has suggested that the birds dying were a type of retaliation to Israel. Another rumour suggests the military are behind the deaths with Phosgene gas testing resulting in a number of bird deaths. Nacho Politico website has discussed this theory in more depth.

Bloomberg reports the deaths occurred after less than two weeks after a total lunar eclipse. Since then Google has been bombarded with people searching to uncover the mystery by searching for the key lexeme ‘bird‘. Conspiracy theorists have called these incidents the “Aflockalypse“.

So is it just a coincidence or is it something else? Many scientists have remarked that mass animal deaths are not uncommon in some parts of  the world and specifically America. Other scientists have suggested that the disturbances and deaths could have been caused by the continuous shifting of the (magnetic) North Pole (25 miles a year). In some of the cases testing has been undertaken however there are not yet satisfactory explanations for all of the cases. Do you believe the conspiracy theory? The religious theory? Or is it the environment beginning to collapse?

Related articles

Daily Mail

BBC articles on mass bird deaths

World News Insight

Long Island Press

Pope questions: was God behind the Big Bang?

Pope Benedict announced on Thursday 6th January 2011 (Epiphany) that God’s mind was behind complex scientific theories such as the Big Bang and emphasised Christians should reject the idea that the universe came into being by accident.

Benedict announced that the Universe is not the result of ‘chance’. This was a surprise to both religious and non religious people as a significant statement bringing science and religion together. Over the years Pope Benedict and his predecessor John Paul have been trying to shed the ‘anti science’ image of the Church.

CERN researchers in Geneva have been experimenting with protons, smashing them together at near the speed of light. This simulates conditions that they believe brought the Universe (stars, planets and life) into existence.

Atheists strongly argue that science can prove that God did not create the Universe but Pope Bendedict said that this was a limited approach to creation as many of these theories only start at a certain point and do not fully explain the “sense of reality”. Benedict said that scientific theories, aside from faith, leave a lot of unanswered questions. Many atheists do not feel this is the case. In a recently aired debate about religion and faith atheists managed to have their say. The discussion was between Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens questioning: is religion a force for good in the World?

The Catholic Church no longer teaches creationism (belief that God created the world in 6 days as described in the Bible). The Church now says that the account in the book of Genesis is an allegory (figurative mode of representation). However even though the Catholic Church discusses creation in a metaphorical sense it still objects to using evolution theories (commonly used by atheists) that in any shape or form denies God’s experience or role in creation.

So where does religion leave us today? Is religion now modernised to reach a larger audience? Is it opening its doors to a more diverse audience like other societies, companies or organisations in the World do to try and reach maximum numbers? Or is this statement (by the Pope) the beginning of an open relationship between science and religion? The chance for atheists and religious people to appreciate each sides theories.

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