Blaise Pascal reassured the God-searchers of
his time that "You would not seek Him if you had not already found
Him." Today the seeker after faith can do so with the assistance of
the World Wide Web.
Your pilgrimage can be made on the keyboard of your computer.
If you use a search engine, you will be presented with a
bewildering array of sites, many of them suspiciously anonymous or
with religious axes to grind.
Recently Richard Harries, the bishop of Oxford, England,
conducted an extensive search and came up with these recommendations
of legitimate and useful websites, ranging from Anglican to Pagan:
Anglican (www.anglicansonline.org) This site, run by volunteers,
is not the official website of the Church of England, yet is awarded
five stars by the bishop, because "it gives a better picture of the
state of worldwide Anglicanism, with an exceptional news section
linked to media stories." It offers a clear and complete account of
what Anglicans believe, as well as liturgical resources pertinent to
the season, plus letters and editorials.
The official site (www.anglicancommunion.org) is awarded one less
star but has wonderful text and pictures from around the world and
is right up to date. Only days after the Madrid bombings it
announced a Personal Emergencies Fund to assist families of the
Buddhist (www.buddhanet.net) This Australian site is sponsored by
a Buddhist monastery down under and is awarded five-star treatment
by Bishop Harries, who loved its cartoon presentation and gorgeous
graphics. ("Why can't we have Christian sites like this?" he
wonders). The content combines art, information, spirituality, and
just plain fun, demonstrating "the depth of spiritual life that can
be fostered by religious communities."
Catholic (www.cafod.org.uk) Four stars. This is the site that
promotes the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development. It has a
special section for teens as well as many resources that explain the
work of the church in troubled parts of the world.
Islamic (www.islamicity.com) Four stars. This sophisticated site
contains not only pertinent information about the faith and
practices of Muslims, but disavows any sense of extremism.
Hindu (www.hindu.org) Three stars. Bishop Harries "particularly
likes the non-judgmental way in which competing faiths are
presented" on this site. "We Christians still have much to learn
about honoring those with whom we disagree." This site presents all
faiths in their best light.
Judaic (www.chiefrabbi.org) Three stars. This is the website of
Great Britain's chief rabbi, Dr. Jonathan Sachs, who is an eloquent
exponent of his faith. His speeches are splendid.
Pagan (www.druidnetwork.org) Three stars. Yes, paganism is a
faith — religion based on nature. This site eschews New Age
sophistry, shamanism, and witchcraft to concentrate on druidry.
(David Yount's latest book is "What Are We to Do? Living the
Sermon on the Mount" (Sheed & Ward). He answers readers at P.O.
Box 2758, Woodbridge, VA 22193 and firstname.lastname@example.org.