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Believe It or Not: Virtual Religion in the 21st Century

Believe It or Not: Virtual Religion in the 21st Century
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Author(s): Susan E. George (University of South Australia, Australia)
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 9
Source title: Information Communication Technologies: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Craig Van Slyke (Northern Arizona University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-949-6.ch263

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Abstract

This paper considers the development of virtual communities focusing upon virtual religion and its impact on humanity. It is important that religion is expressed communally and socially, and the Internet has provided a new community context for religiosity, linking people from geographically, socially, and culturally disparate backgrounds, facilitating interactivity as never before in an intriguing anthropological development. We find examples of “online religion” that are already occurring and see technology as playing a crucial positive role in humanity in the 21st century. While there are limitations with virtual interaction compared to face-to-face engagement, there are benefits, primarily that such technology starts to answer the deeper philosophical questions associated with technology, especially the question of how technology cannot rob people of the essence of what it is to be human. By facilitating virtual religion, technology assists the uniquely human pursuit of religiosity, and merely provides a new “meeting place” for exchange.

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