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Religious destinations offered online

February 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Losing our religion? Not in cyberspace. About two-thirds of Americans today use the Internet for some type of religion or spiritual participation.And one of the fastest growing Web sites in the country this year was GodTube. Experts say social networking online is fast becoming a religious experience.

Singer-songwriter Coffey Anderson comes from a religious family.

"My mother sang in the choir, and I went to the youth camps and stuff like that," said Anderson.

Even so, Anderson is on the forefront of technology. His spiritual music is one of the hottest features of the social networking site GodTube.com.

"I get everything from pastors to worship leaders to kids that never thought they would ever go to church," said Anderson.

Some experts say as many people practice religion online as offline today.

Professor Heidi Campbell is the author of "When Religion Meets New Media." "In the last 10 years we've seen all sorts of people using the Internet, and they're bringing all sorts of things online, and their religious practice is just one example," said Prof. Campbell.

GodTube now averages about 1.5 million viewers a month. And there are plenty of other sites for Christians -- HisHolySpace.com and MyPraize.com.

For the Jewish faith there's JewTube, and Shmooze.com. Muslims can visit IslamicTube.net or Naseeb.com. The list is endless. And global.

GodTube.com Founder and Chief Executive Officer Chris Wyatt says any user can upload prayers or pictures or videos, as long as they pass muster with the site monitors.

"What I like to think is GodTube.com is not only a competitor to YouTube, it's not only a competitor now to MySpace, or Facebook, at the same time, it's a next-generation television network, on the Internet," said Wyatt.

"I don't think that networking religious sites will ever replace churches. I think it will actually just enhance and encourage people to go to brick and mortar churches and mosques and synagogues and cathedrals," said Anderson.








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