Digitally Enhanced or Dumbed Down? Evangelists’ Use of the Internet

TitleDigitally Enhanced or Dumbed Down? Evangelists’ Use of the Internet
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsSwanson, D
Date Published2008

Since renewalists’ prosperity theology is embraced by growing numbers of Christians, and since evangelical Christians are among the most active Internet users, it seemed appropriate to investigate renewalists’ use of the World Wide Web to reach followers. In the summer of 2007, I conducted a detailed content analysis of Web sites and podcasts produced by leading renewalist ministries. My theoretical grounding was in framing theory; I used constant comparative analysis to help organize themes that were prevalent in the media content. I identified ten areas of concern that relate to technology use, message issues, and listener responses called for by evangelists. What follows is a summary of my findings, and the obvious questions they raise as we consider whether digital media ‘dumbs down’ the Christian experience.