9.2.09 Class Article Discussions

The first small group I was in when we discussed our articles, the three of us talked about advances in technology. Were they good or bad? The articles we read seemed to think advancing in technology was good for reliogion and rituals. My article and one of my group members article disucssed cyber-churches. One question that popped into my head was, no matter whether technological advances are good or bad, why would someone want to change a ritual in their religion by making a cyber-church? I figure, convenience could be a reason, but I then would think that most people who have rituals (religious or not) don’t want to change them if they work. So that leads me to wondering if something about going to church wasn’t working for people, and if so what was it?

In my second group we also talked about technological advances, but in a different way. We discusses “sacred spaces” and putting sacred text on the internet. Robert talked about how in Buddhism, when reading text on the internet you lose your guru. The meaning can then be lost in a “sacred place” online, because it is more open to interpretation. But then again, Robert pointed out, leaving room for interpretation may be good for you. This is all a battle of what is being given and what is being lost. How much interpretation should you leave room for, if any? What changes occur to the ritual, and because of that what views and idealogies change/emerge?

When I think of rituals, I think of my grandma. She has things in her set ways. For instance, before she goes to bed she checks to make sure the front door is locked and the oven is off. Then she feels safe and ok to sleep. But what if her ritual changed, so that she could just go on her computer every night and it would tell her whether the front door was locked or if the oven was on? Isn’t there something to say about the physical aspect of *doing* something? And by doing, I mean walking over to the front door, rather than using a mouse to click on something. I think if I asked my grandma, she would say that there is defininetly something about the physical acts she does that makes her rituals her own, and she would never want to change how she goes about her nightly rituals. Which brings me to my question in the beginning of this entry, why are people so interested in advancing in technology to do these sorts of things (like cyber-churches) and what are their reasons for doing so, thinking it is a positive thing? I didn’t really think too much about this in class, but now that I’ve had time to digest, I supposed I am interested in this part the most, partyly because I feel it is the basis to so much that we have learned.

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