Holy Blog! - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Holy Blog!

It's no secret, religion is making a comeback Millions of Americans are searching for faith and meaning in a strange new place. The Internet! Experts say these religious sites are shaping our politics and our culture.

Gordon Atkinson is a busy man: computer programmer, minister, and most famously: Blogger. "I wanted to write very honestly and in a straightforward fashion, and it seemed like web logs would be a good way to do that."

Gordon runs reallivepreacher.com, a religious web log or blog. A blog is an online diary where people share thoughts and views. "I think people feel safe to interact with me in this forum." he said.

According to Lee Rainee with the Pew Internet and American Life Project, a "significant percentage" of the more than 11-million online blogs are religion related. There are more than 11 million blogs online and experts say a significant percentage of them are religious, like Gordon's.

Professor Michael Zank says the growing popularity of religious blogs reflects a resurgence of spirituality in America. He says no topic is off limits online. "Whether it's sports or journalism or culture or politics, everything can be connected with religion."

Rachel Barenblat writes the Jewish blog velveteenrabbi.com . "Because I live in a small town, opportunities for exciting theology slamdowns can be a little limited so I thought, you know, maybe I'll start a blog."

"There are all these voices speaking at once and they're saying different things and cacophony's not a bad thing." said Jeff Sharlet, editor of The Revealer, an online magazine that looks at religion in the news.

Sharlet says blogs are powerful tools, shaping religious and political debates. "I think the conservative Christian blogs did a great amount of work at convincing people that war in Iraq was a legitimate Christian option."

He also believes they played a big role in the Terry Schiavo case, and the clergy sex abuse scandal. That power has some bloggers worried that politicians and marketers are trying to use blogs to push their own agendas.

"You have people who are saying, 'maybe I can use this as a tool to achieve some other end.' I think that whenever that step happens there's always something lost." said Atkinson.

Bloggers take their craft very seriously. In fact, Christian bloggers are planning to gather at a god-blog-convention in California next fall.

Powered by Frankly