Patel: Acts of Faith (2010)
Yesterday I posted a review of Eboo Patel's "Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation on my personal blog. It is a book about the author's path leading to building an interfaith youth movement, driven by the belief that influencing young people during their formative years can help ushering them onto a positive path, based on understanding and tolerance. Considering the topic and the age of the author I was surprised to find almost no reference to technology. He talks a lot about the effects of offline personal connections, mentoring, peer groups and examples but doesn't mention at all the possibility of similar online relations. The only example I found in the book to religion online was a negative one on page 145:
The Christian Identity movement is particularly adept on the web. Their sites feature electronic coloring books with white supremacist symbols, crossword puzzles with racist clues, and twenty-four hour webcasts. Interested in reading Eric Rudolph's most recent musings or writing to him in jail? You can find that information, plus several flattering photographs of him, at the Army of God website. Online Bible studies masquerade as mainstream endeavors slowly take unsuspecting students deeper and deeper into the theology of white supremacy.
I liked the book very much, just was surprised how little the internet influenced Patel's path. Fortunately the organization he founded is better at using the web, than his book would suggest. This is one of many example showing that technology can be used for good the same way as it can be for good.