Not everything you see online is trustworthy.
When I first started using the Internet in the mid-1990s, most Web sites had a "links" page. Back then, there were still a lot of human curation that went on. Search engines were still primitive, and Yahoo! was a human-curated directory that was hierarchically categorized by subject headings, much like a library ("Yahoo!" was an acronym for "Yet Another Hierarchically-Organized Oracle"). Sites such as DMOZ and Mining Company (later About.com) operated on a decentralized "subject guides" model, in which people who were knowledgable about certain topics were delegated responsibilities for running a specific section.
These days, we have come to rely too much on social media. We have an overload of information with little regard for quality or veracity.
A curated list of good digital resources for your study.
(To return to this page easily, right click on a link, and select "open link in new tab.")
- Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance operates one of the oldest and longest-running reference Web sites on comparative religion. Its purpose is to "disseminate accurate religious information." Contents are well-researched, written from a neutral point of view, and well-sourced.
- Library of World Religions contains a list of "the top 50 Major Religious traditions, arranged by origin. For each, Patheos offers thorough, peer-reviewed, encyclopedic information that helps readers understand its origins, history, beliefs, rituals, ethics, and community structures."
- Internet Sacred Text Archive is another long-run reference Web site. This site is a repository of religious texts from around the world and from nearly all faith traditions, both ancient and modern ones.
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a great place to read on any philosophical and theological subject, that is written by reputable scholars from Stanford University.
- Adherents.com: national and world statistics on religions and their adherents. May be slightly outdated.
- Religion Facts: just facts.
- Gale Academic OneFile -- Your public library account may include online access to this comprehensive collection of authoritative scholarly articles. You may be able to access this resource from anywhere using your library card, through your library's Web site.
- JSTOR is a digital archive of thousands of peer-reviewed academic journals. If you are logged in from a university campus (some universities have public Wi-Fi for guests), you may be able to read or download articles. Some larger public libraries also have an institutional subscription to JSTOR.
- Semantic Scholar automatically finds you the most reliable, influential, and authoritative peer-reviewed articles on any subject matter.
- Directory of Open-Access Journals: An increasing number of peer-reviewed scholarly publications are now "open-access," that is, free for anyone to read without paid subscription.
- Open Access Journals Search Engine - Search open-access articles only.
- Opposing Views: Most public libraries in the U.S. have several books from Opposing Views. Written mainly for younger readers, Opposing Views present both sides of a controversy to help readers understand reasonings behind opposing views. The Web site looks more like a news site, but your public library account may include a digital access to Opposing Views books (look under "online resources" or "digital resources" or "e-books" section of your library's Web site).
- Snopes: Please check this site first before spreading a rumor.
Many of these journals require an obscenely expensive subscription to read. However, if you live near a college campus, you may be able to access these through its library, either through Wi-Fi or using the library's research computer. Most college or university libraries are open to public. If you live in Portland, Oregon, use Portland State University's guest Wi-Fi (from anywhere on campus, including the Branford Millar Library and the Smith Memorial Student Union) or Concordia University's guest Wi-Fi (from the library, at the corner of NE 29th Avenue and NE Rosa Parks Way).
- Feminist Theology is a quarterly peer-reviewed publication on feminist theology.
- Sociology of Religion deals with the social aspect of religions, as well as sociological analysis of religious institutions. Some articles are free to read.
- Japanese Journal of Religious Studies is an English-language, peer-reviewed journal of Japanese religions published by Nanzan University, a Catholic university in Nagoya, Japan. It is an excellent read if you are interested in Japan's religious landscape, both old and new. Open-access and Creative Commons!
Religion-specific resources: Christianity
- Blue Letter Bible is a great resource if you are interested in understanding the original Hebrew and Greek words behind Bible verses.
- Bible Study Tools displays the Bible in many different translations, with commentaries, lexicons, and dictionaries available.
- Book of Common Prayer, United States 1979 edition. Used primarily by the Episcopal Church, this public domain prayerbook is based on Church of England's Book of Common Prayer.
- A New Zealand Prayer Book, He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa is the New Zealand edition of the Anglican prayerbook, published in 1988.
- Latin mass: The Latin-language liturgical text (accompanied by English translations) of the Roman Catholic Church.
- Theopedia: An "encyclopedia of Biblical Christainity," written from an Evangelical and Calvinist perspective.
- Orthodox Wiki: An encyclopedia written from Eastern Orthodox perspectives.
- Christian Classics Ethereal Library: Another long-run site since the 1990s, this is an online library of classical Christian texts dating all the way back to the First Century.
- Project Wittenberg is a collection of Lutheran works, including Martin Luther and earliest leaders of Lutheranism.
Religion-specific resources: Judaism
- Complete Tanach Online: The Jewish Bible with commentaries by Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (b. 1040-d. 1105), better known as Rash"i.
- Sefaria: a "living library of Jewish texts online" includes the Tanach (Bible), Midrash, Mishnah, Talmud, and even Kabbalah.
- Chabad-Lubavitch is perhaps the largest worldwide Hassidic organization. There is a Chabad House in nearly every major city on earth. The Chabad Web site (another one of the longest-running religious Web site) is a great place to learn about how and why Orthodox (primarily Ashkenazi) Jews practice their traditions.
- Jewish Calendar: Displays Hebrew dates, holy days, "Today in Jewish History," and more.
- Practical Halacha: Halacha is sometimes translated as "Jewish law," though the Hebrew word is derived from the word that means "to walk." This site is a comprehensive reference on Jewish observances and laws.
- Kashrut: General introduction to kosher diet.
- Siddur Ashkenaz: A siddur (plural: siddurim) is the Jewish prayerbook. This version is based on the Ashkenazic tradition, predominant in Central-Eastern Europe, Great Britain, United States, Canada, and Argentina.
- Siddur Sefarad: This is a siddur from the Sephardic tradition, predominant in Southern Europe and Middle East.
- Open Siddur Project is a non-sectarian and open-source digital siddur.
- Siddur Audio - Hear Jewish prayers recited by a rabbi. Based on Conservative Judaism's Siddur Sim Shalom.
- Pocket Torah mobile app teaches users how to chant the Torah and Haftorah portions using the traditional melodical notations.
- Jewish Encyclopedia contains the full text of the 1906 edition of the Jewish Encyclopedia (public domain, being 103 years since publication).
Religion-specific resources: New Thought
Some New Thought churches and practitioners (especially Unity and UFBL) consider themselves Christians, while others (CSL, SNI) don't. So I am putting New Thought in a separate category.
- New Thought History - A historical overview of New Thought movement.
- New Thought History by the Rev. Dr. David Alexander - an excellent overview.
- TruthUnity - an extensive repository of writings by Myrtle and Charles Fillmore, Eric Butterworth, and other notable authors from Unity.
Other useful resources
- Church Clarity: Is that church down the street anti-LGBTQ? Do they ordain women to positions of leadership? Too often, many churches are elusive in answering these questions. Church Clarity promotes honesty and transparency by finding out answers to these two questions.
- Now you can ask theology-related reference questions online via Worthyt. Each question costs you $3.00 USD. Go there.
This list is continually evolving!