To: God@heaven.com Subject: You there?

Man dressed as Jesus Christ holding his computer

If God's not answering your prayers, it might be time to call Him on Skype.

The Church of Scotland is meeting this week to consider allowing online communions and baptisms, and how they might work.

"We are responding to where we find ourselves in society in a positive and engaging way," vice-convener of the Mission and Discipleship Council Norman Smith told UK paper the Daily Mail.

"It shows that the Church is not behind the times."

The Church of Scotland belongs to the Protestant branch of Christianity, which has traditionally been more open to change than Catholicism. Massey University religious historian Peter Lineham says it's a replay of a "very ancient rift" between the two.

"The Catholic notion is that it's impossible to have online baptisms or online communion, because by definition somebody's got to be the intermediary between you and the divinity. But in the Protestant notion of the flattened experience… everybody can participate for themselves."

He says it's not as strange a move as it might seem, with other religious movements finding "stunning" success in using social media and television to reach followers.

"Take Songs of Praise or the various hymn sessions -- they're phenomenally popular."

Televangelists have long used media to reap "huge amounts" of money, with Prof Lineham saying many followers' primary experience of church is sitting in front of their televisions.

And that's not to mention Islamic State, whose use of social media belies its otherwise medieval outlook on life.

Across the English Channel, Protestant churches in Germany are now offering free Wi-Fi hotspots, or "godspots".

But is on online baptism taking it a little too far? Prof Lineham says it won't replace the traditional dunking, but there's a place for it.

"It's way out on the fringe and I doubt it could ever exist by itself. It's like an extension of something that's real, but there are points in one's life where the virtual substitutes for the real and has its place."

And he thinks Jesus would be fine with the radical changes.

"He sent a rocket against traditional Judaism, that's for sure."

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