Is there a difference between religion offline and religion online?

Hello everyone :slight_smile:
I am currently researching the difference between religion online and offline and I would be extremely greatful if I could speak to a few of you in order to answer some of my questions.
Would this be ok? Any answers you give to me will be very helpful.

Thank you very much.
God bless you all

The internet can be a great tool for learning about the faith and even perhaps connecting with Catholics that one feels more of a spiritual kinship with than those from their local parish. But our faith is always better lived out in the real world rather than on a computer screen.

I’m not completely satisfied with the poll options. I will always believe that offline is better than online, but I would never say that online is useless or unimportant. If I felt that way, I obviously wouldn’t be here.

I feel very strongly that religion is more valuable in an offline environment. And, I say that, as much of my connection to the Church came through CAF, Catholic blogs, youtubes, news, apologists, etc. I’ve been using the internet for Catholic catechesis for at least 6 years, maybe more. And I’ve been actively going to Mass for the past 2 years in college.

Anyways, there’s research which shows that only 7% of what we communicate can be transmitted via text. So… if you think about how many hand gestures an Italian uses… communication is severely limited when it’s just typing things to each other. [If I put three words in this post in all caps… some ppl would think the whole post is typed in anger… whereas nothing could be FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH… see?]:smiley:

Expounding off that, the internet is really a place where atheism has soared. A whole lot of people are willing to attack religion on the internet, but they don’t say a word about it to their family. And, even if they wouldn’t necessarily find God… they’d at least be 100% more civil if you were having a face to face discussion with them about faith.

And then, at least personally, I think it’s a lot rarer to experience God online. And what I mean is this: I can listen to Michael Voris, Fr. Robert Barron, or any number of powerful sermons online, but they feel much less powerful than if I heard them in person. I can “feel the Holy Spirit moving” a lot easier at Mass than I can in any online setting.

But again, as Joe said, online religious material is certainly very useful. I’ve gained a lot of catechesis from it. But, compare what I get from catechesis to Eucharistic Adoration… no comparison

There’s no difference. All of our words and actions should be done in accordance to our beliefs. Writing a letter is as important as face-to-face discussions. Consider writing in a forum as the same as writing a letter to someone. :slight_smile:

I do not participate in public polls, and I’m sure I’m not alone, so don’t be surprised if your response numbers are low.

That being said - the internet has allowed the ability for people to learn about their faith in ways previously not imagined. It has opened up discussion (here is a perfect example) to allow those wishing to learn more about the truth of the Church, and how to grow in holiness, where any sense of holiness may lack in their particular parish or region.

But I think some context is in order. What do you mean by “religion”? Do you mean the organization of believers? The hierarchy of the Church? The practice of faith?

It will help us to understand what you mean by “religion” in order to answer your questions.


Thank you so much for the replys! Your feedback is extremely helpful!!

Joe 5859- I particularly liked your concept of the internet acting as a tool. I understand that religion is probably better played out IRL. Do you have a reason for this belief? Do you perhaps feel more involved/focused when in Church?

Semper Xelare- I find it incredibly interesting that although you devout what seems like a lot of your time to online religion you feel very strongly that offline worship is much more valuable. Excellent point you make about atheism online & I agree with you 100%!

Garyjohn2- I see what you mean about religion in both environments being equally as valid. Thank you for the analogy too!

Lizaanne- Thanks for letting me know! as you can see i’m quite new to this! I apologise for not making my definition of religion clear. In this context I suppose I am grouping all of your suggestions together, that is, the expressions of faith (do people feel like they can express more online? ect), the Church/online community. going back to Joe 5859’s comment of the internet as a tool is a good example for what I understand you to be expressing with regard to the internet giving many the capability to explore.

Thank you very much!
Just one final quick question, as I am forming a report surrounding my findings, would any one have a problem if I were to use your account names? I totally understand if you would not like me to do this, however if you allow me to use the information you have provided but do not wish for me to use your name, I will approach this issue with the use of a pseudonym. :slight_smile:

It’s not just about focus in prayer or feeling involved (though I do think those are easier when disconnected from the web). It really strikes to who we are as human beings, how we relate to each other and the world around us, and how we come to know things.

We are made to be in community. We are also bodily creatures. We can communicate in part through the written word, but we cannot communicate ourselves totally. That’s why the Catholic Church is big on postures during Mass. Not only do we speak the prayers, but we do things like standing to show respect, and kneeling to show reverence.

Also, just look at one of the central mysteries of the Christian faith: the Incarnation. When God wanted to reveal Himself – to communicate Himself fully to humanity – what did He do? He came down and walked among us. He grew up over in the Middle East at a specific time in history. He walked with people, talked with people and ate with people. He did not just drop a memo from the sky with the direction to please read and reply. Our God is an incarnational God. Our Christian faith cannot help but be incarnational.

Since it has really only been less than 20 years since the internet has fully exploded onto the global stage, there is still much to be thought through. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

For your research, perhaps you would find some Church documents on the subject helpful. On my blog, I have pulled together links to many of those documents on the media. I particularly would point you to the final document of John Paul II’s pontificate, The Rapid Development and the Messages for the annual World Communications Day, particularly those from the past 12 years.

Sure. My user name isn’t personally identifiable anyway. :wink:

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