By Aaron Earls
Alexa, will you pray for me?
The Amazon digital assistant has been given a baptism of sorts by the Church of England, which wants people to use it for their spiritual journey.
The denomination’s app on the Amazon device will allow users to find a nearby church, ask questions about Jesus or the Bible, and even ask about how to become a Christian.
Previously, smart speakers like the Amazon Echo seemingly struggled to provide information about Jesus, viral videos showed.
But the Church of England feels having Alexa share spiritual content will better enable the church to serve the 1.2 million people each month who connect with the denomination’s social media channels. The church’s online reach actually tops the 1.1 million who attend its services at least once a month.
While the Church of England tripled its followers on Facebook and Instagram, it reached a new low in average Sunday attendance in 2016, according to The Telegraph.
At the time of the announcement of the Echo app, William Nye, secretary general to the Church of England’s general synod, said, “We’re thrilled to be launching the Alexa skill today to enable regular churchgoers and those exploring faith to connect with God in another way and a time that’s right for them.”
The app will also say prayers for you. You can ask Alexa to pray before your meals or at specific points of the day.
But people are starting to get more wary of the impact technology has on them and their spiritual lives.
According to the Baylor Religion Survey, 69 percent of Americans don’t believe technology has improved their relationship with God. Christians are even more likely to say tech hasn’t helped their spirituality.
A growing number of Americans say the internet is a mix of good and bad, instead of seeing it as a complete positive for society, according to Pew Research.
- Alexa Might Not Know Jesus, But She’ll Read You the Bible
- iFath: How Religion and Technology Coexist in a Digital Age
- Using Technology Wisely
- Fewer Americans Say Internet Is Good for Society
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.