I’m still thinking and reading about religion, technology and the nature of human identity in cyberspace. (I’ll be thinking about this for at least another 2 years until my thesis is finished) One book I find my self continually dipping into is Brenda Brasher’s Give Me That Online Religion. It’s easy to read, contains people’s personal stories and raises some good questions. Yesterday I was struck by this passage having been thinking about blogs, open-source theology and the postmodern monastry idea.
Individuals with no tie to any particular religious organization or group are the pioneers of online religion. The nonspecialists find in cyberspace a public space where they can preach and teach, crack religious jokes, and construct virtual rites with abandon. And they love it. To computer-adept amateur religionists, the global interconnectedness and pervasive openness of cyberspace concoct a heady brew of spiritual possibility that causes the spiritual imagination to flourish. Investing hundreds of hours in constructing Websites filled with spiritual content that they treat as virtual sacred places, individual online religious practitioners are the cultural missionaries of virtuality. They are among the first to explore the boundaries of cyberspace, attempt to learn its language, and try to translate their religious message into its context. Netcasting virtual religious art and music, these cyber-religionists construct online ritural, spin out virtual theologies, and form unprecedented, free-floating bonds of spiritual community in an eruption of cyberspace spiritual enthusiasm.
Brenda E Brasher, Give Me That Online Religion (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001), 69-70.
Blogging fits this description well, though when Brasher wrote her book blogging was not really wide-spread.