Since time immemorial, both the piously faithful and lapsed unfaithful have been searching for God.
From the lofty heights of pyramids and stargazing, to sacred scriptures, to shrines and worship sites, to the depths of the inner soul in meditation and the recesses of neurology, these searches have led us far and wide, but perhaps no more closer than primeval man to the Divine.
It is little surprise then that the latest pilgrimage phenomenon should be an online quest. Google "God" with either a small or big G, and 402 million links later, you may well find what you're looking for.
Or maybe not.
World religions and scholars alike are beginning to cybertap into the prayers of adherents and curious cats alike, and are awakening to the portal potential of the Internet as a wide-reaching, albeit messy place of holiness. Looking to read the Gospel of Philip? Just click here. How about having an online conversation with God? Alas, the Web hears your prayer. Need an e-confessional? Done. No time and money to get to Mecca? Try going on the hajj, YouTube-style.
While cyberseeking God may look like 21st century religiosity, the wired pious do not necessarily view it that way. David Lamp likens his online church worship at The Online Church of Cyberspace "to a moment on the road to Damascus." And rightly so. A modern-day pilgrim seeking spiritual experiences on the information highway is bound to find a type of communitas and connection not much different than that of Hindu devotees converging enroute to Varanasi.
Discovering kindred spirits in the so-called disconnect and liminality of cyberspace can be a great source of comfort, particularly for some who may be physically unable to worship by traditional means publicly - be their constraints illness or distance. Still others who gravitate to technology would have their religion no other way. Connecting with God by click of a mouse is ideal for those who are intensively private in their devotions or those who desire a more remote and solitaire form of religious contemplation. And then there are others who would rather commune with God while wearing their housecoat and pjs. One could argue that some religions more than deliver on the robe and pj-wearing end, but that's another blog for another time.
The ways and means matter little. What matters is that some people are discovering that online religion can be as multi-sensory, illuminating and fulfilling a religiosity (sacramental religiosity aside) as attending a temple, church or mosque. Indeed, if we apply Ninian Smart's dimensional theory to this notion of online religion, we might arguably find that God.com measures up in virtually all regards, pardon the pun.
So perhaps that is what is meant by God of the gaps: Looking for God in all the blog places.
On a personal note, I attend church near weekly now and while I enjoy my time in the sanctuary amongst hundreds of similar souls in either philosophical or meditative reflection, I still prefer to look for divinity beyond the gap in the door; that is to say, in nature, communing with space, time and the wonders of science.
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
An eternity in an hour.
The blog confessional is now open. Today's topic: cyberspace or outerspace. Today's question: Where do you find proof of God?
Or are you still at the faded signpost, trying to map the way?