I have my second supervision meeting on March 3rd. I want to know what to do next – I’m not expecting to be told this, there aren’t neat handouts with timescales on!

I have a bunch of potential headings for the literature review. It’s something to discuss, a framework on which to hang my reading. It has been hard at times to put a structure to it, when I have such a random collection of papers to read. Some are technical; others talk about health websites or e-commerce; I’ve got international surveys, statistics, and studies. What I haven’t got is a core collection of UK-based discussions.


  • utopian vs dystopian
  • online religion vs religion online – Helland


  • changes in the authority over the sacred text, its format and delivery

  • internet used to attack Christian theology

  • undermining authority – traditional hierarchy vs internet peer to peer – possibility of wrong information out there


  • is virtually meeting inferior to real meeting

  • is this actually about having all singing all dancing multimedia accessible virtual worship (with bells on) or just about continuing to do what churches have always done, but with a web based shop window as well as a physical location…

  • it’s about the ritual and community of religion and the academic voice does not allow for the discussion of the supernatural ritual vs experience

  • Hutchinson 2007 p254… the future of online religious activity depends on the ability of the Internet to enable recognisable religious experiences to take place


  • are virtual rituals or ones performed remotely still legitimate?

some practices are transformed by the technology, and may detract from the sense of a religious gathering: verbal exchanges become shorter, emotional solidarity with co-participants is weaker, and there is less orderliness to the prayer meetings” – Schroeder, Heather & Lee 1998

  • expectation that the internet would be revolutionary and all sorts of dreary old fashioned face to face communications would be swept aside


  • anonymity reduces responsibility – Clough 2002 in Hutchings 2007

  • real religious affiliations are part of everyday life so it’s not suprising that they were transferred to digital networks

(“online community becomes a supplement for individuals seeking to extend their religious practice into their daily technological uses” – C&C 2005 p275)

  • anonymity/ flexibility of space

  • space for dissent / non conformism

  • gender/ orientation free space

  • public fora – cheap

Community / relationships

  • communities brought together – diaspora – Helland
  • would digital networks affect the nature and quality of relationships?

‘text based and largely asynchronous’ – Dawson

  • is a virtual church a legitimate form of community? Can you have a community online? – Dawson says no/ Campbell 2005 says yes

(is this a change of perception over time?)

  • is virtually meeting inferior to real meeting – Dixon 1997 Cyberchurch – Dawson

  • Six markers of community (relationship – care – value – intimate communication – connection – shared faith – Campbell & Caldernon 2007 referring to Campbell 2005)

  • Campbell & Calderon looks at content analysis of bulletin boards on a Christian musician’s website for evidence of community – conclude that it is
  • look how printing changed the world and expect the internet to have a similar information accessibility revolution

From papyrus onwards, every major development in communications has provided new channels through which the gospel is proclaimed. Cyberspace is no exception. CofE

Regional studies

  • Korea
  • Africa

  • Israel

Church web presence in the UK

Internet use and connectivity