Skip to main content
March 30, 2012

The Nokia apps for spiritual enlightenment

In an age where people virtually ‘live’ on their phones, the apps that we choose to download and use can be seen as a type of digital fingerprint; a reflection of our personality. Nokia Connects explores how more and more people are choosing to express their beliefs (or lack of them) with the apps on their phone.

via Hull University

There are apps for sports fans, for tech geeks, for bookworms and for news junkies. Apps for dog-lovers, for cat-lovers, for mothers, for fathers, for teenagers and for businessmen. Apps that cater to your every need; be it physical, intellectual, recreational or even spiritual.

I am intrigued by this sheer variety of apps available, and wonder whether the increase of religiously-inspired apps says something about the way technology can tap into basic human needs and desires. The writer Alain de Botton recently claimed that even atheists need some form of spiritual guidance. He believes that even in our modern and secular age, rituals and traditions can still teach us much about what it means to be human.

‘religions merit our attention for their sheer conceptual ambition; for changing the world in a way that few secular institutions ever have. They have managed to combine theories about ethics and metaphysics with practical involvement in education, fashion, politics, travel, hostelry, initiation ceremonies, publishing, art and architecture,’ Alain de Botton, talkingphilosophy.

And the rise of spiritual apps seems to reflect this. For example, Nokia has more than 70 apps dedicated to the Islamic religion, including several apps containing excerpts and readings from the Qur’an in both English and Arabic, and an app that points to Mecca in order to facilitate prayer.

There are also several apps of Hindu teachings and prayers, as well as ones dedicated to Diwali, the Hindu holy festival of light.

Other popular religious apps include readings from the Bible and Torah and the infamous Hallelujah button, a big red button that plays a few seconds of Handel’s Messiah whenever you feel the need for divine inspiration. There is even an app of an interfaith calendar, which maps all the holy days of the major world religions.

‘Enlightenment’ by Dominic Kamp, via smashandpeas

The Pope, too, has embraced the digital world by giving his blessing to social media sites such as Facebook and encouraging people “to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible”.

This explosion of spiritual and wellbeing apps is yet another example of how the boundaries between our ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ lives are becoming blurred – and how one can often complement or even enhance the other. Smartphones are becoming less and less like simple phones and more like multi-purpose personal devices. We already work, play, socialise, talk, connect and share on our phones – why not use them to become better people too, at least in the spiritual sense?

What do you think? Join the conversation @Nokia_Connects