The Beliefs of World Religions

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Religion and Spirituality

True to its mission, the Internet brings together spiritual seekers around the world, whether they are part of organized religions or on more individual quests. Even if you're not sure of your goal, join those who seek enlightenment through the Web: Explore spiritual topics, read up on current events, history, and statistics of world religions, and meet people and groups who share your beliefs.

The Beliefs of World Religions

In addition to the religions that have been around for hundreds or thousands of years, newer ones are continuously developing and growing in popularity. It can be hard to keep track of what each religion stands for and who its members are. You might even be uncertain about the traditions and tenets of your own religion. Or maybe you're unsure which religion encapsulates your personal beliefs. Getting acquainted with a broad range of spiritual traditions is both fun and educational.

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  • The depth of the information you get depends on the Web site you visit. Some sites provide only a brief explanation of a religion, while others allow you to delve deeper by selecting categories.
  • There are Web sites that make religious texts and articles available free of charge. You can also use these sites to search for particular passages in religious works.

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Data and Statistics on Religions

In a world where religion has become such a complex and sensitive topic, knowing the hard facts about religion, and religious data and statistics, can help you when the time comes to weigh in on important debates. Of course, religion is an expansive and, at times, overwhelming topic. It's hard to know where to begin, but fortunately there are resources that can help you find the basics or research things in depth, depending on your needs.

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  • Make sure that you're aware of who is running the site. Information might be presented with a certain angle depending on who the sponsor is.
  • If you're going to cite any religious statistics from a site, don't assume it's current just because it's on the Internet. You still need to check the year that information was collected, which should be at the top of any data chart or in small print at the bottom of your screen.

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Religious Organizations and Services

There are many of ways to be a more spiritually active person. You might want to attend religious services, take classes, or become involved with religious volunteering. Whether you're not involved at all and are trying to get started, or you're looking for ways to enhance your current routine, the Internet is a great way to discover what's out there.

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  • Once you've visited a site that has information about a church or volunteer organization, you might want to make a phone call to get more information before you simply show up at services for the first time.
  • Some online religious groups want membership fees, donations, or payment for educational material. If a site requires payment to join, make sure that the organization is reputable and that the product is something you can't find for free somewhere else.

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Religious News

Even if you are not religious yourself, staying current on matters of religion and spirituality is a good idea. The world's best newspapers are available on the Web and cover important religious, spiritual, and related international events on a daily basis. There are also Web sites that are designated sources of religious and spiritual news. In addition to providing basic news, these sites may offer more in-depth explanation and a richer understanding of religious nuance.

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  • Many religious news sites attempt to give equal and complete coverage to all groups and denominations, but some are directed at a specific readership. Content and tone will vary from site to site depending on who the target audience is.
  • Most sites that require paid subscriptions are designed for journalists or other professionals. The content will certainly be in depth, but the average reader can get the news she needs for free.

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Blogs About Religion and Spirituality

By tracking and responding to events in their respective spiritual communities, religious bloggers offer an original perspective on how religion interacts with day-to-day activities and how belief, tradition, and politics collide. You can search for a particular topic or find a blogger whose voice speaks to you. Even if a blogger does not share your personal beliefs, seeing the world through another person's spiritual lens can be an enlightening experience.

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  • Most blogs will have a list of recommended blogs called a "blog roll" located in the left or right sidebar. If you're enjoying a blog, check out some of the other blogs the author is reading.
  • Often bloggers will have an "About Me" page that can help you better understand their perspective, but some bloggers choose to remain anonymous to allow themselves the freedom to make controversial comments without facing backlash from members of their communities who have differing opinions.

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Religious Dating

Meeting a life partner is no easy task, especially when you're looking for someone to share your spiritual life in addition to your secular interests. If church doesn't seem like a romantic hot spot and bars don't attract the right types, you might think you're out of luck. But before you settle down for another Saturday night with a pint of ice cream and a movie rental, think about joining one of the online religious dating services. You might be surprised to learn that online dating is safe, easy, and contrary to stereotype, a method that many normal, socially adept people are opting to try.

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  • Before you pay to join a service, you can usually check out member profiles and read testimonials for free. Search around and see if anyone looks interesting before joining.
  • Most services make it possible for you to exchange messages with potential dates anonymously, so you don't have to give out any personal information until you're absolutely ready.
  • Internet dating is becoming increasingly common. Reuters recently featured this article on Muslim women who are using the Internet as a way to meet men.

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