Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Considering the Implications of Doing Religious Ritual Online

This week in class we are exploring how religious individuals and groups translate and adapt their rituals online. What constitutes a ritual and how ritual is conceived is notions debated by sociologists and religious studies scholars. In class we discussed two different approaches, investigating "what ritual is" or focusing on "what ritual does". In the Helland reading, he offers us the following base definition as "ritual is the purposeful engagement with the sacred, whatever the sacred may be for those involved". We also discussed the tensions and debates regarding online verse offline rituals including questions of :

How do ritual work online?
Can they have supernatural efficacy?
Are there any benefits to online ritual activities?
What are the limits of online rituals? and
What needs do these rituals fulfill for individuals and communities?

This week's blog post should draw on insights from the assigned readings and highlight a concrete example of an online religious ritual that relates to your chosen blog topic. Please select two questions listed above that related to your chosen example and provide a thoughtful response on your personal blog.

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