01: Although there have been several religions existing operating solely through the Internet, the Universal Church of the Interactive Network, at http://www.bloggerheads.com/religion/information.htm, is unique for viewing the Internet as sacred in itself.
Although there have been computer hoax religions, the UCIN appears to be genuine and relatively straightforward in its approach. The church upholds the “empowering potential of the Internet” that could help us achieve the “singular consciousness that many theorize will herald a golden age of interstellar contact.”
The main impediment to achieving this state is the greed and lust and conflict driving most Internet use. The church issues a series of directives modeled on the 10 commandments to help overcome negative use of the Internet. The first one: “Thou shalt not spam.”
02: Harold Camping, an evangelical radio broadcaster who caused waves of controversy over predictions of the world’s end several years ago, is the protagonist of a new phenomenon of calling Christians to drop out of their churches.
Camping, the head of the Family Radio Network, has deeply shaken the Reformed evangelical world with his teaching that most churches are teaching false doctrine and that Christians are called to “depart out” from them. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many conservative Reformed churches are losing some members to Camping’s radio crusade, with a few congregations disintegrating altogether.
Already, an “anti-Campingite” movement has started, with critics claiming that Camping is starting a cult with himself as the sole religious authority.
(Source: Wall Street Journal, Feb. 1)
03: The South Asian Shi’a Muslim movement, the Daudi Bohra, is considered one of the “most modern, forward thinking groups in the Muslim world,” while remaining largely traditional in belief and practice.
The community — two-thirds of which live in India and others in Pakistan and the U.S. — has been described as “fundamentalist” in that they hold to traditional Islamic values, but they have also successfully embraced Western education, gender equality and modern information technologies. The Bohras were the first Muslim group to take advantage of the Internet, using E-mail networks as a way to bring dispersed members together for discussion.
These social values are attributed to the fact that the Bohra are a mercantile community and recognize the need of adapting to the changing market. Although the Bohras have taken an apolitical approach to many issues, their distinctive identity and dress have drawn them into the larger Hindu-Muslim conflict in India.
(Source: Winter, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, citing the book Mullahs on the Mainframe by Jonah Blank)