it has taken me somewhere around 5 days to become dissatisfied with my amazon.com author's blog. so, i'm launching this one in its stead. hopefully, i'll rapidly sort out how to get the site feed working and it'll deliver content to amazon's blog page.
so, some content:
in my current religious studies seminar on online religion, i'm digging up some interesting websites, such as this one, a site where you can pay to have a computer say your prayers for you. the idea that you can pay someone for a prayer isn't new. my colleague drew bourn (the stanford medical library archivist) sent me a link years ago to a colors magazine that referenced a "monk machine" that chants mantras in japan. apparently, monks actually went on strike in frustration with the device, which held their employment in its robotic hands (it wasn't actually a robot, just a statue that recited the mantras for those who paid to have it do so).
what i love best about the information age prayers site is that, for the time being, you can get two free prayers and lower rates on all prayers.
of course, the site creators do not dispute that individuals should continue to pray in person but suggest that it might be nice to supplement one's prayer with that of their computer.
naturally, i'm really curious. is this empty ritual or meaningful ritual? i'd love to know how many people use the site and what percentage of visitors end up subscribing.