Friday, January 1, 1999

Digital dogma: the world’s religions in your palm


By Craig Froehle and John Swain

It should come as no surprise that we foolhardy columnists have elected to continue our journey into social ostracism. After tackling sex and politics, we now attempt to finish the triumvirate of taboo topics: RELIGION. However, the sheer abundance of materials available in Palm device formats astounded us. So, in a last final effort to become disowned by our families and shunned by our friends, we offer a brief and far-from-complete look at a few of the religious resources for Palm organizer owners.

In this article, we've listed the religions in alphabetical order.

Buddhism (The Word: The Eightfold Path of Buddha and The Gospel of Buddha)

Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born in 566 B.C., a son of a wealthy and powerful king in what is now Nepal. As a prince, he was born to a life of immense material wealth and luxury. Eventually though, as he matured into adulthood, he struggled with the realization that his existence was spiritually devoid. At the age of 29, Siddhartha left his wife and family and renounced his kingdom to devote himself to a search for the answer to the sufferings of life. For years he studied the difficult path of salvation taught by ascetics but ultimately found no answers in its severe physical discipline.

Eventually, through quiet meditation, Siddhartha developed a spiritual insight into the nature of existence. When he realized that it was possible to escape the chain of birth and death, he became the Buddha, the Enlightened One, the Awakened One. He spent the remaining years of his life in a labor of love spreading the Teachings. He passed away leaving the message to his disciples: "The Dharma which I have given you shall be your Teacher, when I am gone."

The Word: The Eightfold Path of Buddha is the most widely known of the Buddha's teachings. Dating back to the Buddha's very first discourse, it is respected as a unique treasury of wisdom and practical guidance.

Christianity (The King James Bible, Essential Catholic Prayers, Martin Luther's 95 Theses, and LDS Articles of Faith)

Christianity, built somewhat upon the religious foundations of Judaism (see below), is the collection of religions based on the teachings of Jesus. Founded in the 1st century in Palestine, the religion spread sporadically until around 1054, the time of the first great schism that separated the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic churches. Then, in the 16th century, growing concern regarding corruption in the Church resulted in the Protestant Reformation. A key initiator of this religious revolution was Martin Luther, who posted his 95 theses on the church door at Wittenburg. Eventually, many other Protestant sects evolved in various parts of Europe and the Western world, and Christianity spread as exploration and colonization brought European influences into the Americas.