The ghost in the machine: How the Internet is changing how we do religion

Sydney Baltrusaitis

Students can learn how the Internet is breaking the traditional ways of practicing religion with Hillel Silver Professor Peter J. Haas at 7 p.m. Tuesday, in Student Center Room 317.

Don Wicks, director of the Center for the Study of Information and Religion, said attendees will learn about how different religious groups use the Internet and how the Internet influences people’s faith.

“The Internet allows for some kind of interaction in religious areas outside of the traditional congregation,” Wicks said. “It’s a vehicle where people may find that they engage in some process of thinking through religious-related issues.”

This is an annual event held by the Center for the Study of Information and Religion. The event is free and open to the public. The title of this year’s symposium is “The Ghost in the Machine: How the Internet Is Changing How We Do Religion.”

Darin Freeburg, graduate assistant in the College of Communication and Information, said a lot of Haas’ research focuses on what the Internet does to religious authority and the impact the Internet has on religion.

“The wealth of information on the Internet can have a positive or negative impact on dialogue,” Freeburg said.

Freeburg said the Internet opens us up to more sources of information as well as a higher quantity of information. He said students can be an important force at looking how dialogue is being impacted by the Internet.

“I think the students especially are important researches and thinkers at the forefront of understanding how we can best use this to increase productive dialogue,” Freeburg said.

Contact Sydney Baltrusaitis at [email protected].