In these days of mobile electronic devices, speeding cars, and 3-D printers, religions concocted by people who rode on the backs of donkeys seem more out of date than ever. A religion for our time would need to reflect both the scale of information that is now available to us, and the psychological impact of that scale of information.
But, what could the religion of the Internet be? The most appropriate place to look for answers to that question would be… the Internet. Here’s what the Internet has to say:
Rachel Kohn suggests that Buddhism may be the religion of the Internet because of Buddhism’s emphasis on interconnectedness, a value embodied in the Internet. Of course, embodiment is not one of those concepts that Buddhism is most comfortable with. She says, “the transient nature of digital technology is testing the preservation of the Dharma even as it confirms its teachings.” Of course, Buddhists tend to believe that everything can be reduced to mindfulness, like an overcooked oatmeal.
David Chiles says that netiquette is the religion of the Internet, but has yet to elaborate on what practices and principles make netiquette a fully functioning religion.
In Sweden, Kopimism is now accepted as an official religion. Its name is derived from the English phrase “copy me”. The Kopimi religion promotes the practice of online piracy, promoting CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols. To cut and to paste is to find wisdom, apparently, though with discretion. “Every copy is a transformation, which also means that every use of kopimi is transforming the concept – not always for the better,” says Rasmus Fleischer, an avidi Kopimist.
Jim Gilliam, a graduate of the right wing Christian Liberty University asserts that the Internet is religion.
There’s the Singularity, the online version of the Rapture, in which computers will gain critical connection and assist us to upload our consciousnesses, so that “we will transcend current intellectual and biological limitations and initiate an intelligence and information explosion beyond imagining.”
“No one type of religious use or method dominates Internet religion,” it has been said. So, there are, presumably, a large number of other online religions that I haven’t even tapped my toe at. Do you know about any of them?