Thursday, November 10, 2011

Authority Online

The particular online context in which issues of religious authority is raised is the context of blogging. Blogging has become a form of media that has brought many users. Since the Internet and media has gotten more advanced, online context in which authority is raised has brought issues. Before the development of media authority has historically been marked
as having a contentious relationship with the development of newer communication
technologies (Cheong). Since blooging has became a way of expressing ideas online, it has brought up the issue of who has more authority, people who use online religion or offline. Based on Cheong reading the use of online religious activities has become problematic for the communities and it is being sustained and reframed by online practice, in ways that support traditional views and outcomes of authority (Cheong). The assumption that seems to ring true about online authority based on blogging is that it has become problematic to the communities. Based on the expressing of feeling and building relationships through blogging it has taken away from the traditional way of attending a service. Authority is said to arise from sacred tradition so therefore is becomes problematic to the communities (Cheong). Based on Cheong's reading authority has been framed in relation to the Internet.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Christians use of online church

The individual Christian involvement in online church will either
influence orrelate to how Christian identity is perceived. I will explore
the influencethat online church has on Christian identity and how users who
use the onlinechurch are perceived. I will also explore whether the use of
online church forChristians will have a negative effect, positive affect, or
possibly both ontheir Christian identity. The advancement of media has had a
huge impact on theway this society identify them. The Internet and the way
Christians use onlinechurch will have an effect on the way some people
perceive Christian as areligion. Some may say that using the online church
is not the same asattending a traditional service and people may not get the
same affect. Somepeople believe that attending a traditional a face-to-face
service is moreeffective then viewing an online service. Others believe that
using onlinechurch can help people in their everyday lives as far as
building relationshipswith people who believe in the same thing, praying for
others, and being ableto have a type of social network where many people can
get involved. Because ofthe way people may perceive Christian identity based
on the use of onlinechurch, it may influence Christian’s involvement in
using it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Authority Online

This week we are exploring how religious authority has been framed in relation to the Internet, and the debates regarding the extent to which the Internet facilitates new forms of religious authority or changes the relationship between traditional religious leaders and their community members. In class on Tuesday we discussed the complexities related to how authority is approached, understood and constituted in digital culture. It was noted that it is important to carefully consider what specific form of authority (i.e. role, structure, ideology or text) is being challenge or empowered in any given online context.

In considering the reading by Cheong we were introduced to two key assumptions about the nature of authority online. The first is that religious authority is being eroded by online religious activities and this is highly problematic for religious communities. The second assumption is that offline religious authority is be being sustained and reframed by online practice, in ways that support traditional views and outcomes of authority. In our discussion we also considered a third reality, the extent to which both assumptions are true and how one can evaluate this dialectic, in which mediated religious authority is affirmed and undermined simultaneously through online religious practice.

In this week's blogging assignment you are asked to describe a particular online context or medium in which issues of religious authority are raised.  Which of these assumptions seems to ring true or best related to this particular context and why? Draw from the Cheong's reading to back up your claims.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Idenity Online

This week we are exploring issues related to how religious identity is perceived and performed online. We started discussing identity from the perspective that it relates to the process by which an individual develops the ability to grasp meaning about the situations of everyday life and their relationship to those events. We also discussed how perceptions regarding how identity is constitute have changed over time from identity being seeing as an in-born or static construct to something we are socialized into to the post-modern notion of identity being fluid and fragmented.When discussing identity online we considered a number of issues and concerns scholars have had about the performance of identity online, including how issues of anonymity and disembodiment can lead both to deception and increased freedom of experimentation, as well as the nature of participatory culture creates new complexities for identifying and living out the "authentic self" online.

The Lovheim reading also raised two important questions:

- Does digital media strengthen or weaken individual's ability to construct or perform their religious identity?

-Does one's online religious identity have to be connected to a specific offline religious tradition or group to be seen as truly "authentic"?

Students should select one of these question to respond to in their blogs and should reflect on a concrete example on religious engagement online (in a specific forum, website or platform) to help illustrated your argument and supports your claims.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Community Online

This week we are exploring the question of what constitutes community online.  The argument was made in this week's chapter that in the last 50 years we have seen a change in the way community is understood an practiced. This has been a movement from people living in tightly bounded social structures, to interacting in loose social networks with varying levels of affiliation and commitment from its participants. This is exemplified in how many online communities form and function in various new media platforms.

This new understanding of community often challenges traditional religious communities, which frequently have rigid boundaries or strong hierarchical structures.  Therefore there is much debate about whether an email community, social media network or a church which exists in Second Life and truly be seen as religious community.  Key concerns include whether a disembodied community is problematic within certain theological context or is online gathering are disconnected from offline religion?

This week's blog should explore a specific example of a religious online community and address the following questions.

- How does this group define itself as a community?
- How do they structure or live out their form of online community?
- What might be the offline impact  of this online community on their particular religious tradition?

Happy blogging!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ritual Online

This week we are exploring how religious individuals and groups translate and adapt their  rituals online.  What constitutes a ritual and how ritual is conceived is notions debated by sociologists and religious studies scholars. In class we discussed two different approaches, investigating "what ritual is" or focusing on "what ritual does". In the Helland reading, he offers us the following base definition as "ritual is the purposeful engagement with the sacred, whatever the sacred may be for those involved".  We also discussed the tensions and debates regarding online verse offline rituals including questions of :

How do ritual work online?
Can they have supernatural efficacy?
Are there any benefits to online ritual activities?
What are the limits of online rituals? and
What needs do these rituals fulfill for individuals and communities?

This week's blog post should reflect on the assigned readings and address one or more of these questions and explore a concrete example of ritual online related to your blog's theme?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Class Blogging in COMM 460

In weeks 5-11 students will create and post on their own blogs related to course themes.  Students blogs should focus on digital media and a particular religious tradition (Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhisms, etc.) and/or one of the focused course themes for section 2 of the class (ritual, community, identity, authority, authenticity or digital religion). Each week you are to post a 200-300 word commentary on a particular research article or example related to your chosen theme with relevant links or images illustrating your discussion. Post must appear online by 5pm each Friday to receive credit for the relevant week. Happy Blogging!