Who’s got the power? The question of religious authority and the internet

TitleWho’s got the power? The question of religious authority and the internet
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsCampbell, H
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Start Page14
KeywordsAuthority, Christianity, internet, Islam, Judaism

While many themes have been explored in relation to religion online—ritual, identity construction, community—what happens to religious authority and power relationships within online environments is an area in need of more detailed investigation. In order to move discussions of authority from the broad or vague to the specific, this article argues for a more refined identification of the attributes of authority at play in the online context. This involves distinguishing between different layers of authority in terms of hierarchy, structure, ideology, and text. The article also explores how different religious traditions approach questions of authority in relation to the Internet. Through a qualitative analysis of three sets of interviews with Christians, Jews, and Muslims about the Internet, we see how authority is discussed and contextualized differently in each religious tradition in terms of these four layers of authority.