Online Religion as Lived Religion. Methodological Issues in the Study of Religious Participation on the Internet
AbstractIn his article Christopher Helland proposes a more comprehensive framework for his theoretical distinction for online religion and religion online. When he developed this typology in 1999, Helland recognized a clear distinction between religious Web sites where people could act with unrestricted freedom and a high level of interactivity (online religion) versus the majority of religious Web sites, which seemed to provide only religious information and no interaction (religion online). He now advances the religion online / online religion framework by drawing from the ongoing critique of his earlier work. He concludes that many religious Web sites today provide both information and an area where this information can be lived and communicated. This occurs on the Internet where Web sites try to incorporate both an information zone and interaction zone in a single site or, more commonly, where popular unofficial Web sites provide the area for online religion, while the official religious Web site supplies religion online. In cases where institutional religious organizations do not support online religion he assumes that it may be due to their perception of the Internet as a tool for communicating rather than an extension of our social world.
Academic discipline and sub-disciplines