The Soul of Cyberspace: How New Technology Is Changing Our Spiritual Lives

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9780062514516: The Soul of Cyberspace: How New Technology Is Changing Our Spiritual Lives

A Catholic bishop silenced by the Vatican creates a vitural diocese to spread his message through cyberspace. Orthodox Jews and conservative Christians flock to the Internet to connect the most traditional of believers with the newest of technologies. Technopagans conduct a cyber-ritual to welcome the pagan god into cyberspace, and Buddhists seek enlightenment in electronic sanghas. Artificial intelligences and life forms flourish online, undermining age-old ideas of what is sacred. Cyberspace is redefining religionand reshaping how the world prays, worships and believes.

In this groundbreaking book, acclaimed spirituality and cyberspace writer Jeff Zaleski charts the radical impact of technology upon belief. Exploring the profound challenges and promises cyberspace holds for religion, and examining the new Digital Crusades that are sending people of every faith surging through the online universe, Zaleski draws a stunning portrait of spirituality in the electronic age.

Online, on the Net, on the Web, religions both ancient and new have discovered the power of cyberspace to transform worship, ministry, communities of faith and our ideas of the sacred. Believers, theologians, spiritual teachers and philosophers are struggling to understand the radical effect of cyberspace on religion. The Soul of Cyberspace, in a pioneering journey through religion's newest, strangest and most exhilarating frontier, reveals the new technological face of religion and explores the fascinating challenges posed by our colonization of cyberspace.

Taking readers on a tour of electronic faithto web sites established by Baptists and Buddhists, Mormons and Muslims, to virtual congregrations and Internet chaplaincies, cybermissionaries and virtual monasteriesZaleski introduces us to the trailblazing believers and the cautious faithful of cyberspace. He explores the profound questions raised by the new electronic faith: Will cyberchurches make ministers obsolete? Will communities of church, temple and mosque vanish? Can religious rituals take place on PC screens, and can sacred space be found in the midst of cyberspace's distractions and noise? Can we locate divinityeven electronic deitiesin the folds of cyberspace? In conversations with the new metaphysicians and critics of cyberspaceJohn Perry Barlow, Jaron Lanier, Mark Pesce and othersZaleski reveals fresh insights into spirituality, worship and the sacred.

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Review:

The possibility that the Internet can be more than just a purveyor of information is staring us right in the face. Seasoned religion writer Jeff Zaleski tweaks the minds of today's leading cyberspeculators and Web-literate religious adepts to map out its possibilities for religion and spirituality. Crackling conversations ensue, and the reader is treated to a smorgasbord of futuristic brainstorming, mystical revelations, and practical functionality, some of which is already in place. A list of key religious Web sites and background information on technical terms add to the richness of Zaleski's inquiry.

About the Author:

Jeff Zaleski is editor-at-large of Publishers Weekly's forecasts department, a consulting editor to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, the former executive editor of Parabola. He is the coauthor (with his wife, Tracy Cochran) of Transformations: Awakening to the Sacred in Ourselves. Zaleski's writing has appeared in Omni, New Age Journal, Yoga Journal, Tricycle and Parabola.

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