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Give Me That Online Religion Give Me That Online Religion

Brenda E Brasher
ISBN 9780787945794 (078794579X)
Jossey-Bass, 2001
£18.50 (Hardback)

ISBN 9780813534367 (0813534364)
Rutgers University Press, 2004
£15.50 (Paperback)

Category: Internet and Technology

We are not alone. There's a whole lot of religion goin' on in cyberspace and the fact that you're reading this review makes you a part of it. A whole plethora of gods, goddesses and other deities are awaiting your worship: which altar will you visit?

Brenda Brasher writes superbly and in this challenging & stimulating book she'll take you on a tour that ranges from Christianity through Islam, Judaism, and Neopaganism into Witchcraft and beyond. Questions of ethics inevitably form the heart of the book. Let the opening paragraph of Chapter 5 speak for itself:

"Less than two decades ago, few knew it was possible to do things such as spam, hack, crack or flame, much less carry out MOO rape or information terrorism. Today, these and other internet spawned antisocial behaviours demonstrate the existence of a dangerous gap in our reigning ideas of good and evil, right and wrong... Good and evil, virtue and vice are moral or spiritual concepts rather than legal ones. While lawyers and governments bicker over who can legally do what in cyberspace, determining how to apply universal values such as good and evil to virtual territory is a priority for religionists." (p.95)

Note that term religionists: this isn't just a book for Christians - it's for anyone who is even remotely concerned about the future of the net and where it's taking us. Religion online has already progressed beyond postmodernism. Brasher paraphrases Yeats: "What virtual creature from cyberspace slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" Can traditional religion reclaim the territory it's lost? Should it, or should it adapt and evolve with the new medium?

Finally, as well as being excellently written, the book is beautifully produced with a flair for page layout and design that the the publishers can be proud of. Definitely one to own, not just to borrow.

Phil Groom, December 2002

Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.

Previously published by London School of Theology. Reused here by kind permission.

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