Friday, September 25, 2009

Challenges Created by Online Religious Networks

by Anthony Lozano

This article is particularly interesting because it helps explain the impact of new media on various religious groups. Before Campbell introduces the internet’s impact on religion, she first attempts to point out the overall trends that religion is taking. Personally, I did not realize how far religion attendance and the importance adults place on religion was declining. It is important to note that these trends were only reported in the United States. As noted in the previous weeks articles, in other regions of the world, religion is actually on the upturn. For this reason, it is difficult to make a general statement for all religions. As one religion is slowly declining, another could slowly be increasing to fill the spiritual gap.

Even if one chooses not to follow a particular religion, they can still be very religiously active. Campbell introduces the phrase “believing but not belonging”. Previously, I had always referred to those people as non practicing members of a specific religion. In a sense, this is not entirely correct. Those who choose to believe but not belong have often entirely shunned away the formal religious institutions. These people cannot be grouped in the same category as those who simply choose not to attend formal worships.

An alternative form of formal worship is one tied to the internet and electronic media. While it might seem like a lesser form, Campbell argues that this type of worship can be just as powerful as previous forms. The importance is not on the medium, but on the beliefs. While relatively small now, online worship will continue to increase. By the end of 2010 nearly 50 million Americans will use the internet for their religious experiences. With large numbers like that, it is important to follow this trend early in order to see where it heads.

Works cited
Campbell, Heidi. "Challenges Created by Cnline Religious Networks." Journal of Media and Religion 3.2 (2004): 81-91

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