Abstract: Advances in technology allow for new modes of access to both secular and religious information. Historically, some religious groups seem to have been eager to acknowledge technological developments, while others have done so reluctantly. Nevertheless, the sustainability of a religious tradition depends on the ability of its practitioners to continually access information in an evolving world. Modern technology has occasioned such innovations as online religious communities and the wide availability of sacred texts and exegeses, to the extent that a person can practice a religion using entirely online tools—without ever setting foot in a physical place of worship. Through an analysis of the nature and historical development of Buddhism and Christianity, this study identifies the aspects inherent in each religious tradition that have influenced the information landscapes that surround each religion today. This study then explores the extent to which each religion can be practiced in an exclusively-online community. These findings suggest an opportunity for further investigation into the information behavior of Buddhist and Christian participants in online religious communities as a means to better understand the online religious experience.
Keywords: Christianity, Buddhism, information behavior, information history, Internet church