Malaysian christians online: Faith, experience, and social engagement on the internet

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Abstract

Many facets of social life are now intrinsically linked to the Internet through increasing dependence of user-centric platforms like blogs, social networking sites, online forums, and open source websites. The Malaysian church is not exempt from having to negotiate with an increasingly tech-savvy and networked community of believers. Based primarily on Internet ethnography of blogs and social media groups, as well as interviews with lay Christian bloggers and church pastors, this book looks at how the Internet is a component of everyday religion in the lives of Malaysian Christians at individual, institutional, and national levels. It examines the ways online Christian expressions are increasingly integrated into the everyday religious routines of Christians for the development of their personal identities. This book also shows how the spiritual authority of church pastors can be both challenged and reinforced through creative uses of online tools. Also discussed are some of the creative ways that Christians utilize the Internet to engage with national sociopolitical issues within the context of restrictive and controlled mainstream media. This book relooks critically at the online/offline dichotomy and argues that the binary of a blogger seen as being exclusively either “online” or “offline” is problematic. Instead, I suggest that both realms are lived and experienced simultaneously. Additionally, I also show that while the Internet may be “free”, the users of the Internet are not necessarily so. While the Internet has certainly provided Malaysian Christians with new tools to experience their faith in new ways, several aspects of “old” offline sociocultural habits persist online.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGateway East, Singapore
PublisherSpringer
Number of pages189
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9789811528330
ISBN (Print)9789811528323
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Blogging as development of spiritual identity
  • Christian groups
  • Communication and media studies
  • Facebook christian groups and the bersih 4.0 rally
  • Inter-religious dialogue in malaysia
  • Inter/intra-religious communication
  • Malaysian christian community
  • Malaysian christians online
  • Malaysian pastors as online authors and citizens
  • Malaysian/southeast asian studies
  • Online religion and the malaysian context
  • Online religious community
  • Religion and spirituality
  • Religious ideology
  • Social engagement on the internet

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