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Surfing for Salvation

TitleSurfing for Salvation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsHelland, C
KeywordsClassification, Participation, Perception, Purpose, religion online

I demonstrate that despite the enormous amount of religion on the Internet, a general classification can be developed based upon the religious participation occurring at the various websites. I recognise these classifications as ‘religion-online’ and ‘online-religion’. Religion-online presents information about religion. It is a controlled environment. The site has been structured to limit participation. In contrast, online-religion provides an interactive religious environment for the web practitioner. Because of this difference, individuals and organisations have different perceptions concerning how the Internet should be used for religious purposes. In many cases there is an active form of religious participation occurring. Rituals are conducted, prayers are posted and even communion is carried out on this medium. In other situations the Internet presents material concerning religion to a passively receptive audience. Despite these levels of control, the web surfer is exposed to an enormous number of belief systems and also varying levels of online religious participation.