MedicalWhen I do attend church, I am often invited to pray and willingly do.  But the blend between science and faith is blurred rather easily. For instance, a friend recently had cancer surgery. While grateful for prayers, just prior to surgery she was more concerned with the surgeon’s skill and hospital cleanliness than prayers.

As our society integrates and intimately dances with high technology, do we fully engage our inner self, meditate and practice spirituality that embraces Eastern and Western religious traditions? Or do we kick spirituality and prayer to the door. Kick the dust from our shoes and get on with living? Except for Sunday, do any of us really care about our faith Monday through Friday?

In truth, I am not stating that one needs to kick faith to ebb of life.  Surely, all of us can count the litany horrors done in the name of religion, including Buddhism. But I presume that in a time of need, prayers from any religion, including goodwill thoughts of the non-religious are equally beautiful and powerful. And to the secular, I don’t believe that as a Catholic, only a Catholic prayer will work. Accordingly, as a Muslim, should one be so strict that only Muslim prayers are welcome? Surely not!

If this were true, how would one parse the prayers of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami or the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami? “Well, we received 13,000 Catholic prayers, 26,000 Muslim prayers, 40,000 Presbyterian prayers, 38000 Hindu prayers, etc.?” We need to see and understand the new reality. Our world has millions of Sikhs, Christians, Jain, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Muslims, Hindus, Taoists, etc. Personally, I just do not envision the living Christ or living Buddha parceling and segregating love.

From a technological perspective, I’ve seen pastors using iPads and posting sermons onto websites; the Dalai Lama has a Twitter feed; and Muslim worshipers can choose whether they want to podcast the call to prayer. So why can’t we blend faith with technology?

The answer is that both technology and prayer demand an uncommon element: people. Regardless of faith, social justice requires action. Promoting nurturing values as kindness, compassion and forgiveness cannot be done solely via an iPad or prayer. Micromedical technology can help patients unheard in days gone by. Prayer can provide strength and presence of a living God. But damn it, you still need a skilled surgeon that blends both.

At the end of the day, technology is connecting a world full of diversity. That very diversity is our strength.  Honor all those of faith, for it strengthens us all.