Online Religion? The Evolving Religious Information Landscapes of Zen Buddhism and Roman Catholicism01/01/2015
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 accept technological developments, while others have done so reluctantly. Nevertheless, the sustainability of a religious tradition depends on the ability of its believers to continually access information in an evolving world. Modern technology has occasioned broader religious information landscapes than ever before, to the extent that religion can seemingly be practiced using entirely online tools. Is this possibility borne out in reality? Through a synthesis of the nature and historical development of Zen Buddhism and Roman Catholicism, this study identifies some aspects inherent in each tradition that have influenced each one’s religious information landscape. It then explores the extent to which each religion can be practiced without an in-person faith community. These findings suggest an opportunity for further investigation into the information behavior of technology-enabled believers as a means of better understanding the future of religious experience.