Posted on Sat, Aug. 31, 2002
Web offers resources on world's religions
The Washington Post
Of the scores of new Web sites on religion, a few have emerged as particularly useful to anyone interested in learning more about different expressions of faith.
Enthusiasts can thank people such as Preston Hunter, a computer programmer in Texas who developed Adherents.com, perhaps the most extensive Internet bank of membership statistics, and Harry Plantinga, a computer science professor in Michigan who spent thousands of hours scanning texts to create the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
Here is a list of some informative and helpful sites developed by individuals, institutions or organizations. All can be accessed without a fee and without registering for membership.
This site breaks down more than 4,200 religions, denominations and faith groups throughout the world by size and geographic area. It also includes such facts as the religious affiliations of U.S. presidents, actors and science fiction/fantasy writers.
American Religion Data Archive
This Lilly Endowment project maps major religious affiliations by state, county and metropolitan area using data from national surveys and studies.
Black and Christian
Founded by Harvard Divinity School graduate Jacqueline Trussel, this 2-year-old site provides news, histories and features about African-American denominations, plus chat rooms and tips on preaching and worship.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library
This volunteer-run service presents hundreds of works in the public domain -- meaning it's legal to download them onto your computer -- as text or MP3 audio files.
Dozens of sacred texts of world religions -- Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and the Baha'i faith among them -- plus such other works as the Egyptian Book of the Dead and Dead Sea Scrolls.
This Iowa State University site offers links to religious resources on the Internet, including specialized directories, study guides, journals and organizations. Similar services include the Virtual Religion Index (religion.rutgers.edu/vri/index.html) and Internet Resources in Religion and Society (users.drew.edu/ epullen/links/internet.html).
The Nashville-based First Amendment Center offers guidelines, updates and curriculum packages on such issues as prayer in public school, school-voucher programs and censorship.
Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals
Wheaton College, the alma mater of the Rev. Billy Graham, is located in Illinois and is considered by many the spiritual and intellectual center of American evangelical Protestantism. History, resources and news appear here, along with a glossary that clarifies such terms as evangelicalism, fundamentalism and Pentecostalism.
Patron Saints Index
The number of entries on this site has increased rapidly with Pope John Paul II's unprecedented rate of beatification pronouncements. The canonization last month of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, the first native Indian saint, and Pedro de San Jose de Betancur, Guatemala's first saint, bring the total to 3,795.
Harvard University's Pluralism Project has emerged as a premier observer of America's rapidly changing religious landscape. Students will find helpful facts, figures and resources on world religions and interfaith activity in the United States.
Religious Movements Page
This University of Virginia project has originated 150 profiles of religious movements, including recently formed sects and cults. This expansive resource also houses the archives of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and new sections on religious freedom and religious broadcasting.
Virtual Jerusalem says it will collect e-mail prayers and take them to the Western Wall, the only remnant of the Jewish Temple.
Worldwide Faith News
An interfaith group of two dozen U.S. denominations supports this database of news releases on religious events, activities and developments worldwide. The archive of 18,000 documents includes reports in five languages.
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