The topic of discussion within this reading response will be ‘Religion and the Internet’, some bigger questions on this topic that were brought to my attention during class were: ‘How does the internet shape our perceptions about religion?’ and ‘Is this any different from other forms of media such as radio or television?’.
To attempt to answer the first question from my own perspective, is that the internet can provide an extreme amount of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ viewpoints on any religion. So, depending on what a person reads, watches, or listens to online can shape their perception about religion. Now to answer the second question, I find that the internet uses a combination on most medias, such as newspapers, radio, television. However, there can be more of a personal aspect to it because you do have the chance to talk and discuss with people online. It is certainly much more difficult or maybe even impossible to have a conversation with someone who airs on television.
Some of the things that were discussed in class is that there are dialectic relationships between online and offline practices, “The concept of “networked religion” is introduced to encapsulate how religion functions online and suggests that online religion exemplifies several key social and cultural changes at work in religion in general society”. (Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Volume 80, Issue 1, 1 March 2012, Pages 64–93) The reasons why organized religious groups use the internet is to inform, teach, and recruit. They use networked forms of community to do this.
Another question that was brought up in class was “How can a person carry out religious rituals on the Internet?” in truth they can not really carry out these rituals, but they an observe them and gain experience from watching online. Rituals like baptism, communion, Shabbat, or the haji generally desire meaning from an in-presence experience of participation and socialization from other member of the religious community.
With people going online more nowadays for religious practice, there is this question of sacred space. While there can be...