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Posted September 30, 2004

Book: Religion Online: Finding Faith on the Internet
Editors: Lorne L. Dawson and Douglas E. Cowan
Routledge, New York, pp. 279

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Religion is one of the most popular and pervasive topics of interest online, with over three millin Americans turning to the Internet each day for religious information and spiritual guidance. Tens of thousands of elaborate websites are dedicated to every manner of religious expression.

Religion Online provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to this burgeoning new religious reality, from cyberpilgrimages to modern pagan chatroom communities. Bringing together innovative scholarship across many disciplines, the essays gathered here examine core issues of concern such as youth, religion and the Internet, new religious movements and recruitment, propaganda and the countercult, and religious tradition and innovation. This pioneering volume also includes the Pew Internet and American Life Project executive summary, the most comprehensive and widely cited study on how Americans pursue religion online, and Stephen O’Leary’s field-defining “Cyberspace as Sacred Space.”

An Excerpt from the Book:

– The most active online Religion Surfers (those who go online at least several times a week for spiritual material) are also the most active offline participants in their faiths.

– Those who have converted from the religion in which they were raised are more likely that those who have not to be active Religion Surfers.

– Religious outsiders are particularly interested in using the Internet to meet others of their own faith and share items of religious interest. Outsiders are those who see themselves as a minority, who say they have few people of the same religion in their local communities, or who say they have faced discrimination due to their beliefs.

Table of Contents:

1. Introduction
Lorne L. Dawson and Douglas E. Cowan

2. Cyberfaith: How Americans pursue religion online
Elena Larsen

Part I: Being Religious in Cyberspace

3. Popular religion and world wide web: a match made in (cyber) Heaven
Christopher Helland

4. Cyberspace as sacred space: communicating religion on computer networks
Stephen D. O’Leary

5. Young people, religious identity, and the Internet
Mia Lovheim

6. Religion and the quest for virtual community
Lorne L. Dawson

Part II: Mainstream Religions in Cyberspace

7. Reading and praying online: the continuity of religion online and online religion in Internet Christianity
Glenn Young

8. “This is my church”: seeing the Internet and club culture as spiritual spaces
Heidi Campbell

9. “Rip. Burn. Pray”: Islamic expression online
Gary R. Bunt

10. The cybersangha: Buddhism on the Internet
Charles S. Prebish

Part III: New Religions in Cyberspace

11. New religions and the Internet: recruiting in a new public space
Lorne L. Dawson and Jenna Hennebry

12. The Internet as virtual spiritual community: teen witches in the United States and Australia
Helen A. Berger and Douglas Ezzy

13. The goddess net
Wendy Griffin

14. The house of Netjer: a new religious community online
Marilyn C. Krogh and Brooke Ashley Pillifant

Part IV: Religious Quests and Contests in Cyberspace

15. Virtual pilgrimage to Ireland’s Croagh Patrick
Mark W. Macwilliams

16. Searching for the Apocalypse in cyberspace
Robert A. Campbell

17. Contested spaces: movement, countermovement, and E-space propaganda
Douglas E. Cowan