Friday, November 11, 2016

Blog 5

Religious authenticity online is not a static entity or fixed system. The Christian hierarchy does not have a singular leader such as the Pope with Catholicism. Different sects of Christians (Baptists, Methodist, Pentecostal, etc.) have different views on what constitutes as authenticity in their religion. What constitutes as authentic is not in the hands of religious experts, but is more so defined at a local level. For example, what I believe to be authentic is different from my Pentecostal friends because of our local environment. Context influences actions so individual authenticity is negotiated. In the Christian faith, the only presence of the offline culture that should be ever present is the Christian text (the Bible). As stated in previous blogs, the Bible is the physical embodiment of God’s word. Religious authority stems from the Bible. However, our society and culture has blended religious authenticity so it stems from both offline and online culture. For example, if you have Christian friends on Facebook, it is likely that you have seen the “Share if you are a Christian” posts. To some, this is a form of religious authenticity. They feel as if they are doing their part in spreading the message of Jesus. While the Bible does not specifically address sharing the Gospel from a computer, online culture views the Internet as a landscape for doing so. This challenges the conventional approach of physically going around the world and becoming vessels for Christ. As stated before, we see a blending narrative take place that is continually streamed from an offline context and online context. Christian culture is continually becoming a “melting pot” of offline and online contexts. For example, many churches have transitioned into streaming their church services into the online realm. This is a form of blending. As seen in these examples, authenticity is negotiated.

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