Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Religious Life Online

One of the positive influences of the Corona 19 crisis on the religious world was the greater use of 'online religion'. Social networks that were undervalued for religious purposes have been in the spotlight. So begins an article in the Catholic Times by a Seoul Pastor.

The religious community is broadcasting online Masses, Worship, and Buddhist ceremonies to keep health precautions and social distance. Pope Francis also converted Sunday prayers and sermons in St.Martha's house, without believers, for the first time on the Internet. The epidemic disaster has become a catalyst for religious online activities.

Korean believers watched or listened to daily and Sunday Mass through TV, YouTube, and radio, and spent Lent online. The parish priests shared their sermons for Sunday Mass with the believers on social media, and the Legions of Mary even broadcast allocutions. Protestantism, 84%  replaced Sunday worship with online worship. Families gathered at home to offer online worship services, and various ministries became more active through social media. Buddhists were no exception. Most of the temples conducted online rituals using the YouTube channel.

Moreover, the 4th Industrial Revolution, which brings new changes by integrating the real world (offline) and the virtual world (online) through artificial intelligence and big data technology, has a profound effect on religious consciousness and practice. For example, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can be used to vividly experience pilgrimages to Israel without leaving home or to experience various liturgies in virtual space.

Online religion was once called 'Cyber ​​Church' or 'Internet Church'. This serves to lead Internet visitors to participate in religious practices such as prayer, meditation, ceremonies, and spiritual counseling. On the other hand, there is 'Religion Online,' which serves as a tool to extend the existing offline church by providing religious information and various services. This includes virtual spaces such as homepages or portal sites built by parishes, parishes groups, religious groups, and individuals. Together, these two forms are called 'digital religion'. In fact, these two are often mixed together rather than distinct. The church must now become familiar with digital religion. In Korea, where the penetration rate of smartphones is 95% and leads the world there is a favorable environment for active online religious activities.

These days, the friendly use of YouTube and Instagram are increasing both inside and outside the church. Various YouTube photos and music appear on the YouTube channel. There is a great use of the SNS media by clergy, religious, and laity. They are sharing their knowledge, opinions, music, movies with an evangelical perspective.

Digital religious activities through online spaces enable various communication and friendship between pastors, groups, and believers in the parishes. While sharing photos, videos, texts, music, etc. by using various social media such as KakaoTalk, and Facebook, text messages, and e-mails, it is possible to share information at any time. 

However, online religion is not only positive but we can't ignore the negative. A lot that is shared is of little value and can cause trouble without basic good sense. There are also believers who can't live without KakaoTalk. If you don't deliver the Gospel message of a priest that you are accustomed to sending to others you become psychologically uneasy. It is necessary to control the use of the internet and not to use it to excess where it can develop into a health problem and fatigue.

No comments:

Post a Comment