By Sarah Fallon
Religion is a large part of our society and culture whether you’re religious or not. With the constant advances in technology religion has had to make some changes of its own in the form of E-religion. Facebook, an online networking site, supports a wide range of religious groups and pages. Unsurprisingly, Christianity holds the largest numbers of fans and members with 117 000 groups, the largest of which supports 793 757 (4 September 2009). Brasher, in her studies, has found over 1 million religion websites (6). Brasher also sums up what is so important about the online religion phenomenon, “cyberspace diminishes the relevance of location for religious identity.” (6). People no longer need to make their way to church or temple and specific times to practice their religion. It is now possible to attend an online church, making religious practice more convenient. There are arguments for and against religious practise online. It can be seen as detached and depersonalised, as well as not creating the same sensory or spiritual effect, but many people would disagree with these points. It is entirely up to the individual whether or not online religion can meet the spiritual and religious needs. A benefit of online religion is the community. While there is, of course, a very strong sense of community in ‘real world’ religious groups, it is localised rather than globalised. Attending online churches or religious forums gives people the opportunity to communicate with people of the same faith from around the world, opening people up to ne experiences, ideas and opinions. Brasher suggests that “online religion is crucial to and positive for the future for religion.” (11). Perhaps this is true, As the world changes so must the way we experience it, and like the news and many other elements of society, perhaps religion will have to depend upon the internet to keep it alive.
Brasher, Brenda. Give Me That Online Religion, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc, 2001.
Facebook. 4 September 2009. <http://www.facebook.com/> .