Religious Devices: A Survey of Technologies of Worship.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Responding to the unannounced spiritual mysticism surrounding contemporary technologies, a religiosity present in the prayer-like devotion of social media piety to the cultish intensity surrounding each iPhone launch, this paper aims to dispel presumptions of the spiritual in opposition to the technological by surveying a range of media devices specifically developed for religious purposes. More than connecting scholarship in technology, media and religion, this survey recommends a new arc in the cultural examination of technology. As curious media artefacts, religious devices are independently worthy of study but they also offer a material past to the so-called “religion of Silicon Valley” as well as providing insight to the rituals, superstitions and beliefs of technology users. While recent shifts in religious studies have propelled the field toward computer-mediated communication, this study moves beyond sociological and anthropological concerns to examine the hardware and software of spiritual technologies, thereby connecting the media turn in religious studies with the material turn in media studies.