Dharma World

Spring 2022, Volume 49The Impact of Cyberspace on a Variety of Religious Traditions and Practices

Spring 2022 Volume 49(PDF)

The Impact of Cyberspace on a Variety of Religious Traditions and Practices

Revolutionary communication technologies play a pivotal role in contemporary society, uniting the world into a single entity by interconnecting every aspect of our lives online. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic of the past year and a half, this technology has become more salient than ever before. As necessity forced us to be physically socially distant, much of the world compensated by shifting work and social life to virtual meeting places in cyberspace.

What have been the repercussions, both positive and negative, of shifting so much of our lives to cyberspace? How has it impacted our relationships, our physical and emotional health, our education, and our religious faith in particular? Even before the pandemic, religious life had been increasingly moving onto the Internet, but unable to gather in person, followers of many religions have scrambled to adapt their lives of faith to virtual forums. After over a year of this social experiment, we have a wealth of experience allowing us to reflect on the opportunities that the online world offers to religions, as well as the challenges presented by practicing faith in cyberspace.

For traditions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, what has been the experience of undertaking ritual practices and communal worship through the disembodied, two-dimensional screens of computers, tablets, and smart phones? Can God be met in cyberspace? Have Christians been able to share the trials of others through LCD screens to be one with the suffering Christ on the cross? Has reliance on this technology facilitated or hindered the communitarian life of Islamic mosques and Jewish synagogues? Can the Buddhist monastic experience be reproduced in any meaningful way online, and how have engaged Buddhists pursued the bodhisattva practice of liberating oneself by helping others to attain liberation without meeting others in person?

Some commentators and even governments have identified our technology-interconnected world as the source of trouble, such as the spread of disinformation. Have we lost something of our humanity by interacting through screens instead of through fully embodied communication in person?

As countries move out of the pandemic, how should we proceed into the future? Should we live more of our lives through cyberspace, or should we try to “roll back the clock” and go back to the way things were before? Can we even go back to the way things were before?

In the Spring 2022 issue of Dharma World, we hope to explore the impact of living in cyberspace on humanity’s religious traditions and spiritual practices.

Dharma World

  1. Autumn 2022, Volume 49
  2. Spring 2022, Volume 49
  3. Autumn 2021, Volume 48
  4. Spring 2021, Volume 48

    What Is Prayer?

  5. Autumn 2020, Volume 47

    Religion’s Role in Building an Inclusive Society

  6. Spring 2020, Volume 47

    Violence in Buddhism

  7. Autumn 2019, Volume 46

    Manga, Anime, and Contemporary Religion

  8. Spring 2019, Volume 46

    Is Emptiness the Goal?

  9. July-December 2018, Volume 45

    The Buddhahood of Plants and Trees: The Environment and Buddha-Nature

  10. January-June 2018, Volume 45

    Buddhism’s One Vehicle in a World of Many Religions

  11. July-December 2017, Volume 44

    Religions Tackling Extremism

  12. January-June 2017, Volume 44

    Religion and Animals

  13. October-December 2016, Volume 43

    Features: Listening

  14. July-September 2016, Volume 43

    Contemporary Ideas about Karma

  15. April-June 2016, Volume 43

    Buddhism and Food

  16. January-March 2016, Volume 43

    Dual Religious Identity: Can One Practice Two Religions?

  17. October-December 2015, Volume 42

    The Modern Significance of Meditative Practices in Religions

  18. July-September 2015, Volume 42

    Religious Rituals and Their Meaning for Today

  19. April-June 2015, Volume 42

    Religion's Contributions to Society

  20. January-March 2015, Volume 42

    Cultivating Hearts That Welcome the Other

  21. October-December 2014, Volume 41

    Buddhism and Language

  22. July-September 2014, Volume 41

    Life After Death

  23. April-June 2014, Volume 41

    Building an East Asian Community: Roles of Religions

  24. January-March 2014, Volume 41

    Aging Societies and Religion

  25. October-December 2013, Volume 40

    Nuclear Power and Contemporary Religion

  26. July-September 2013, Volume 40

    Where Does the Buddha Live Now?

  27. April-June 2013, Volume 40

    Modern Meanings of Festivals

  28. January-March 2013, Volume 40

    Transforming Greed

  29. October-December 2012, Volume 39

    Religions Coping with Prejudice

  30. July-September 2012, Volume 39

    The Significance of Religious Communities

  31. April-June 2012, Volume 39

    Buddhist Teachings on Spiritual Liberation

  32. January-March 2012, Volume 39

    The Meaning of Modern Pilgrimage

  33. October-December 2011, Volume 38

    The Evolution of Funerals in Japan

  34. July-September 2011, Volume 38

    Buddhism in North America

  35. April-June 2011, Volume 38

    Religion and the Power of Women

  36. January-March 2011, Volume 38

    What Is True Wealth?

  37. October-December 2010, Volume 37

    Dialogue Draws Religions Closer

  38. July-September 2010, Volume 37

    Tackling the Question "What Is the Lotus Sutra?"

  39. April-June 2010, Volume 37

    Religion's Role in Abolishing Nuclear Weapons

  40. January-March 2010, Volume 37

    Help in Overcoming Alienation

  41. July-September 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Prayer

  42. July-September 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Media

  43. April-June 2009, Volume 36

    Religion and Health

  44. January-March 2009, Volume 36

    The Changing Forms of the Family and the Role of Religion

  45. October-December 2008, Volume 35

    The Meaning of Giving in the Contemporary World

  46. July-September 2008, Volume 35

    Buddhism in the Face of Environmental Crisis

  47. April-June 2008, Volume 35

    The Many Forms of the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin

  48. January-March 2008, Volume 35

    Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution

  49. October-December 2007, Volume 34

    Buddhism and Bioethics

  50. July-September 2007, Volume 34

    Respect for Ancestors

  51. April-June 2007, Volume 34

    Self-Examination and Peace Work

  52. January-March 2007, Volume 34

    Buddhism and Social Responsibility: Boddhisattva Practice Today

  53. October-December 2006, Volume 33

    Buddishm in Dialogue

  54. July-September 2006, Volume 33

    Religions Working for Peace

  55. April-June 2006, Volume 33

    Creating the World of the One Vehicle: The Centennial of the Birth of Rev. Nikkyo Niwano

  56. January-February 2006, Volume 33

    The Human Condition and Religion: A Global Future?

  57. November-December 2005, Volume 32

    Remembering Hiroshima

  58. September-October 2005, Volume 32

    Spirituality and Development

  59. July-August 2005, Volume 32

    Women in Contemporary Japanese Religion and Society

  60. May-June 2005, Volume 32

    Rissho Kosei-kai 67th

  61. March-April 2005, Volume 32

    "Thousand Buddhas," Sanbanggulsa Temple, South Korea

  62. January-February 2005, Volume 32

    Emerging Forms of Spirituality

  63. November-December 2004, Volume 31

    Peace Building Through Multi-Religious Cooperation

  64. September-October 2004, Volume 31

    The Increasing Importance of Dialogue and Cooperation

  65. July-August 2004, Volume 31

    Paths to Reconciliation

  66. May-June 2004, Volume 31

    Religion in Crisis

  67. March-April 2004, Volume 31

    Spiritual Friendship

  68. January-February 2004, Volume 31

    Resolving Conflict

  69. November-December 2003, Volume 30

    Dividing Good From Evil

  70. September-October 2003, Volume 30

    Common Truths: Cooperation Among Religions

  71. July-August 2003, Volume 30

    Niwano Peace Foundation

  72. May-June 2003, Volume 30

    Religionists United in Prayer for Peace

  73. March-April 2003, Volume 30

    Life is Larger Than Globalization

  74. January-February 2003, Volume 30

    Emerging Forms of Spirituality

  75. November-December 2002, Volume 29

    Roundtable Disscussion at the World Congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom

  76. September-October 2002, Volume 29

    Sixth Assembly of the Asian Conference on Religion and Peace, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

  77. July-August 2002, Volume 29

    The Most Reverend Samuel Ruiz Garcia, Recipient of the 19th Niwano Peace Prize

  78. May-June 2002, Volume 29

    National Treasure Tapestry Illustrating Shakyamuni Sermon to the Faithful

  79. March-April 2002, Volume 29

    Celebration of the Anniversary of Shakyamuni's Birth

  80. January-February 2002, Volume 29

    Religious Delegates Gather in New York for WCRP Symposium