NMC: Religion Online
Elizabeth Pyatt, a Penn State Instruction Designer, participated in New Media Consortium's 2008 summer conference. There she attended a presentation by Edward Lamoureux of Bradley University, titled "Expanding our Knowledge About Online Religion and Religion Online."
This presentation reports research about online religion and religion online (OR/RO) in virtualSecond Life communities. Extant literature about OR/RO is based on, primarily, text-basedinteractions via email, listserves, and bulletin boards, or relatively static websites. The expandedbehavior potentialities in virtual environments, such as Second Life, provide transformativeopportunities for OR/RO. Research therein sheds light on new horizons for the use of technologyin spiritual practice.
Ms Pyatt wrote a detailed blog entry about the session. Her notes mentioned that Lamoureux remembered that other great media revolution (Gutenberg), explored the question is whether the Internet can be used as a source of information only or whether actual religuous ritual can happen online, analyzed the interest in building elaborate churches in Second Life ("the act of building is itself a religious or meditative activity for many people") and coveed how the Internet is a double-edged sword for religious groups.