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Expanding our Knowledge About Online Religion and Religion Online

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Should media and technologies with potentials for good and evil be used for religion? ... the review/books. Online Religion v. Religion Online (Helland (2000) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Expanding our Knowledge About Online Religion and Religion Online


1
Expanding our Knowledge About Online Religion and
Religion Online
  • Edward Lee Lamoureux, Ph. D.Multimedia Program
  • Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts
  • Bradley University
  • Peoria, IL
  • NMC, Princeton, June, 2008

Professor Beliveau
the Professor performs in SL.
2
Some of the assumptions in this presentation are
based on material contained within a recently
published book review
  • Lamoureux. Online Religious Practice Through the
    Looking Glass Spirituality and the NetWeb.
    Journal of Communication and Religion, Vol. 30
    (2) Nov. 2007 340-375.
  • Review of
  • Practicing religion in the age of the media.
    Steward M. Hoover and Lynn Schofield Clark, Eds.
    NY Columbia University Press. 2002
  • Religion online Finding faith on the internet.
    Lorne L. Dawson and Douglas E. Cowan, Eds. NY
    Routledge, 2004
  • Cyberhenge Modern pagans on the Internet.
    Douglas E. Cowen. NY Routlege, 2005
  • Exploring religious community online We are one
    in the network. Heidi Campbell. NY Peter Lang
    Digital formation series, Steve Jones, ed., 24,
    2005.

3
Some basic assumptions for studies of Online
Religion and Religion Online
  • Reading about mediated religious and spiritual
    practices consciousness raising and increased
    self-awareness.
  • Net-webbed religion raises contested
    commonplaces.
  • Ones orientation about OR RO responds to
    answers to

4
Some basic questions for studies of Online
Religion and Religion Online
  • Networked/mediated society Utopia or Dystopia?
  • Organized/traditional/institutional religions and
    churches v. Personalized systems of
    religious/spiritual work.
  • Should media and technologies with potentials for
    good and evil be used for religion?
  • Do the newest media and technologies carry
    additional risks due to lack of control over,
    their future directions and outcomes?
  • Can mediated spaces, including online, be made
    sacred for religion?


5
Some basic questions for studies of Online
Religion and Religion Online
  • Is the democratization of information a help or a
    hindrance to religious and spiritual life?
  • One true church or multiple equally valid
    religions?
  • Does post-post-modernism moderate postmodernisms
    attack on religion?
  • Are online communities real, helpful, and
    religious?
  • Or does the online environment rule out
    community and religion?


6
Some orientations from the review/books
  • Online Religion v. Religion Online (Helland
    (2000)
  • Religion Online the provision of information
    and/or services related to religion.
  • Some online information and services support
    offline religions some oppose and/or undermine
    them.
  • Online Religion invitations for Internet
    visitors to participate in religion.
  • Some online rituals dont qualify to
    traditional churches and are a poor and almost
    sacrilegious substitute for real rituals.
  • In other ways, online religious participation
    may be even more personally holy than is
    face-to-face presence at rituals.


7
Some orientations from the review/books
  • Online participation--Religion v. Spirituality
  • In early online work, information exchange ruled.
  • So for traditional churches, early religion
    online mostly supported and were at the behest of
    their offline work.
  • With regard to spirituality, however, where
    organized structures may not always be readily
    available, online religion played a much more
    important role for participants as their personal
    and private behavior may be positively influenced
    by additional opportunities for soul practice
    and the provision of otherwise scarce
    information.


8
Some orientations from the review/books
  • Medium is the message The net as sacred space?
  • Religious potential of the net as the highest
    technological achievement of humans in their
    efforts toward global interconnectivity.
  • For Postman and others, some spaces cannot be
    sanctified and not all communication can be
    translated across mediums.


9
  • Authority relations
  • Communication revolutions problematize authority
    relations.
  • The internet provides data that implies) the use
    of that data is valid.
  • Further, it is difficult to credential
  • Some material appears to be very strongly
    credentialed
  • At other times, the material may purport to be
    authoritative, and is not,
  • or may make no such claimbut may be taken as
    authoritative by the reader in any case.


Some orientations from the review/books
10
  • Authority relations
  • And of course, much information opposes
    traditional religion
  • Regardless of the validity of the information or
    of the users ability to ascertain its
    authoritativeness, its ubiquitous availability
    leaves such questions open and serves as
    fundamentally destabilizing to authority
    relations. When authority cannot control the
    amount and content of available information,
    the tight bonds of hierarchy have been
    loosened.


Some orientations from the review/books
11
  • Good or bad for traditional off-line religions?
  • Religious activists, be they attached to
    traditional church organizations or independent
    seekers of the soul, are deeply involved in
    netted religion.
  • At what point does the democratization of
    religion detract from both institutional
    structures and/or the quality of individual
    religious function?


Some orientations from the review/books
12
  • Many limitations Just started this past term
  • No Islamic sites
  • No time, yet, looking for/on the dark side
  • No time, yet, with parody sites
  • May or may not spend time with actual interaction
    (IRB issues). At this point, catalogue and
    categorization.
  • Sabbatical project,fall 2008.


Early observations in SL
13
  • Graphic representation of contemplative space
    replaces information provision as the primary
    mode of communication and representation.
  • All sizes, shapes, eras (often mixed)
  • OLearys use of Ongs notion of
    performative/constitutive communication is key
    here. There is more going on than mere
    building/display.Some of that which isdone may
    have, in itself, a praise/prayer function.


Early observations in SL
14
  • Information provision is ready-to-hand, but of
    course, its status as primary material is open
    to debate.
  • Representations of religious objects and gestures
    (and the availability of them to lay
    people/participants) may we exceed RL as the
    sacred can be made available/transparent to all.
  • Vestments and other holy clothing.
  • Certain gestures such as sign of the cross,
    kneeling postures, meditation postures, etc.
  • This feature may also leadto practices that some
    question, in essence, providing just anyone
    everything one needs to hang out a shingle to
    create a church.


Early observations in SL
15
  • Credentialing is a REAL issue (and perhaps,
    problem).
  • Identity issues abound
  • Hierarchy issues abound
  • Motivational issues abound


Early observations in SL
16
  • Ritual is still under-fed. However, in some
    traditions it is both possible AND accomplished.
  • Christian services resembling some Protestant,
    non-sacramental, worship services.
  • Jewish candle services
  • Hajj training simulations
  • Special rituals, for example prayers of the
    dead
  • Study groups in all
  • weddings (to which we will shortly return


Early observations in SL
17
  • Ritual is still under-fed, but this is an area in
    which I expected/expect to see the largest
    difference between religion in virtual worlds and
    religion on the flat web.
  • On could/can do virtually any/every
    religious/symbolic ritual (no pun intended)


Early observations in SL
18
  • Thorough mixing with secular factors (especially
    commerce).
  • One has to hearken back to credentialing issues
  • What are the providers really in it for?
  • In how many instances are they merely using the
    medium in order to gather an audience for their
    other commercial ventures?
  • Some of the adjunct commercial endeavors do not
    mix well with the religious representations
    (again, back to credentialing and motives).


Early observations in SL
19
  • One finds a number of activities that in
    traditional religions have strongly religious
    aspects, which, in both the modern and virtual
    worlds, might be taking on more secular flavor.
  • For example, in SL, partnering and weddings
    abound but the definitions of eachterm are
    evolving as they relate to to the
    actualactivities at hand.


Early observations in SL
20
  • COMMUNITY is key . . . yet, like in other SL
    aspects, there are loads of issues about the sort
    of community one is dealing with. Participants
    live in these graphic places, but of course,
    arent often there.
  • No huge surprise as we dont live in our RL
    churches either, but,
  • Many of these spaces include virtual property
    and living spaces
  • WAY more to be done lots to work with


Early observations in SL
ltell_at_bradley.edugt http//slane.bradley.edu/com/fa
culty/lamoureux/website2/index.html
21
Expanding our Knowledge About Online Religion and
Religion Online
  • Edward Lee Lamoureux, Ph. D.Multimedia Program
  • Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts
  • Bradley University
  • Peoria, IL
  • NMC, Princeton, June, 2008

Professor Beliveau
the Professor performs in SL.
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