Dawson, Lorne L. & Cowan, Douglas E. (2004). Religion online: Finding faith on the internet. Eds. NY: Routledge.
Hendershot, Heather. (2004). Shaking the World for Jesus: Media and Conservative Evangelical Culture, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Hoover, Stewart M. & Clark, Lynn Schofield. (2002). Practicing religion in the age of the media., Eds. NY: Columbia University Press.
Horsfield, Peter. (2003). Electronic Media and the Past-Future of Christianity. Mediating Religion: Conversations in Media, Religion and Culture, 275-276.
Stolow, Jeremy. (2005). Religion and/as Media. Theory, Culture & Society, 22(4), 119.
Taylor, Jim. (2003). Cyber-Buddhism and changing urban space in Thailand. Space and Culture, 6(3), 292.
van Binsbergen, Wim M. J. (2004). Challenges for the sociology of religion in the African context: prospects for the next 50 years. Social compass, 51(1), 85.
Problems encountered with religion and emerging media in our culture lives:
Hendershot, H. (2004). While many Christians have felt cut off from mass media, they have been quick to embrace new technologies. While a sizable number of studies have examined the growth of televangelism, few have paid attention to the Christian cultural products industry—the thousands of films, videos, CDs, and magazines sold to millions of evangelicals via mail order, the World Wide Web, Christian bookstores, and increasingly, in secular bookstores and national chains such as Wal-Mart and K-Mart. The growth of evangelical media also has been virtually ignored by film and media studies researchers. Examination of evangelical media reveals the complex ways that today's evangelicals are both in and of the world. This is not a negative value judgment; evangelicals have not simply "sold out" or been "secularized." Rather, evangelicals have used media to simultaneously struggle against, engage with, and acquiesce to the secular world.
Horsfield, P. (2003). The lack of appreciation for the culturally constructive role of media means that the significant role that media have played in the cultural and institutional development of Christianity over the centuries has been relatively unexplored. As a result, valuable lessons that could be drawn from Christian history to provide useful perspectives on current developments and possible future responses are simply undeveloped. However, a persistent issue was found in working with church leaders around the subject of electronic media is their fear that engaging in it seriously will compromise Christian faith. In this common view, electronic media are seen as more than just another form of mediation; but their very structure as well as common content are seen as a significant threat to Christianity as a thoughtful, ordered and authoritative faith structure. There have been others that thought Christianity has always been a diverse, messy and often contradictory movement. Christian identity is a continual task, not an accomplishment.
Dawson, L. and Cowan, D. (2004). The both discuss scholars that have raised important questions regarding the nature of virtual communication: Does it just provide an ‘illusion of sociality’, or is there evidence of genuine social interactions online which can lead to or enhance human communities in the ‘offline’ world? Given the centrality of the concept of community to many religious traditions, this constitutes an ongoing topic for debate. The problem is not just that there is a thrust towards making converts in today’s competitive religious marketplace, but that this seems to be occurring in increasingly aggressive ways. Now engaged in empirical studies of individuals and communities to ascertain how these new electronic forms of mediation actually influence religious practice.
Stolow, J. (2005). On Christmas Eve of 2001, in the small town of Alamagordo, New Mexico, congregants from the Christ Community Church, a local evangelical community headed by Pastor Jack Brock, gathered to light a bonfire in which they ritually destroyed a collection of Harry Potter books, alongside other items they considered to be the work of the devil, including Ouija boards and AC/DC records. Pastor Brock explained, behind that innocent face is the power of satanic darkness. Harry Potter is the devil and he is destroying children. In New Mexico, that incident was in fact only the last of a series of Harry Potter book-burnings that took place during 2001. On 26 March, just outside Pittsburgh, the Church of the Harvest Assembly of God had also committed the boy wizard to flames, along with videotaped copies of Walt Disney’s animated Pinocchio. On 15 November, in Lewiston, Maine, a group of Christians calling themselves the Jesus Party gathered in the town park for a ‘book cutting’ ceremony; apparently the local Fire Department had denied them a permit to build a bonfire, and so they set to work on a pile of Harry Potter books with their scissors. The burning of Harry Potter books, should make one recognize how this story is entwined with a powerful myth about social modernization.
Bunt, G. (2003). Suggests that a substantial number of Muslims use the Internet as a propagation and networking tool, to dialogue with each other, and to conduct research. For some, it is an important way to bypass state censorship and access other media, and it acts as a means of local and global contact. The Internet is used to disseminate and obtain decisions and points of interpretation on current events, and, for some individuals who are relatively unknown or treated as pariahs locally, to achieve fame in the larger Ummah. Since September 2001, Muslims’ activities and activism on the Internet have proliferated; meanwhile, those in power have increased attempts to restrict them. There is a small, albeit growing, minority in Muslim-majority countries that uses information and communication technologies. Muslim online discourses are part of the contemporary discussion about Islamic identities. The Internet “has not superseded traditional forms of political expression, but is a means through which conventional boundaries and barriers can be transcended”.
Taylor, J. (2003). Buddhism in Thailand has long been seen as a holistic cultural system. It’s only the beginning, but the Internet/Intranet is transforming religious space in Thailand. Nevertheless, arising from the Thai experience with modernity are new spatial possibilities engendered in large part by hyper technologies, especially the Internet. In Thailand, a number of orthodox Buddhist monks use this medium for teaching and establishing new religious communities that are not limited by location. A Thai social commentator, Sanitsuda noted on April 10, 2000 in the Bangkok Post, that “Digital dhamma” trend may soon even “threaten the standing of monks as religious experts”. Dhamma is the Buddha’s teachings or doctrine. In effect, Webmasters may become the new religious virtuosi, taking the place of monks as disseminators of information and knowledge. Also, mention by Sanitsuda was as one Webmaster says, “If monks don’t adapt, they will soon lose their role in society.” A Thai Webmaster, who maintains his site from a remote village in Chainat Province, North West Thailand, said that through his Web site he is attempting to make Buddhism accessible and meaningful again for the contemporary world. However, there is no indication that a Net community will replace a monastic community, as “Dhamma Web sites and will never decrease the importance of monks as role models for Buddhists”.
Hoover, S. and Clark, L. (2002). Religious broadcasting has provided an important platform for Evangelicalism as a movement, and helped put it on the cultural and political map. The emergence of the mass press changed many things, including the confident way that religious leaders could look at the world of the media. Up until the mid-eighteenth century, it was relatively easy to distinguish between the ’sacred’ realm of church, and the ’secular’ realm of the broader culture. However, is not to assume that an easy distinction can be drawn between the ’sacred’ church realm of religious tradition on the one hand and a ’secular’ media realm of popular practice on the other. The lines are blurred by history, practice, and social evolution. Instead, we must recognize that popular practice in the secular realm is having religious significance. The role of the historic faiths in such a context is first to listen and look at the cultural realm that is evolving and attempt to understand its logics, appeals, motivations, satisfactions, and meanings. Only then can productive efforts be made to be actively engaged in projecting, promoting, and articulating in a plausible and meaningful way, their symbols and values in an and meaningful way, increasingly complex and autonomous cultural landscape.
van Binsbergen, W. (2004). A Dutch anthropologist and a certified traditional healer trained in Botswana maintain he can heal more effectively via the Internet. In Africa the global media such as television, the cell phone, and the Internet, of globally circulating manufactured consumer goods, and of globally available religious expressions such as Islamism and Pentecostalism, has brought the forms of African social and religious life closer to those in other continents today. Over the past 50 years, the social-scientific study of religion in Africa has grown from a mere trickle to a massive undertaking, now pursuing a variety of paradigms largely unheard of at the beginning of that period. Fifty years ago it would have been impossible to predict these recent developments. Giving prospects for the next half-century is no simpler, for there is no reason to assume that the pace of religious, social, political and technological change in the world is slackening now that mankind has managed to survive, barely, into the 21st century.
Posted on Moodle Saturday, May, 29, 2010