Friday, October 14, 2011

Online Rituals

As we have discussed and learned in class, online rituals are a very convenient and engaging process.  They allow for individuals who may not have the time, money, or the necessary recourses to partake in certain religious practices to perform rituals at their own pace and convenience online.  While online rituals are a very user-friendly process, they however do not offer the full engagement that a real, physical ritual would offer.  As Connelly explained the difficulties and limitations in her case study, she stated that an online ritual would only engaged two senses: sight and hearing. She states that, although technology has come a long way, the sense of smell, taste, and touch are left out, leaving visualization to pick up the slack.  The sense of sight, through graphics and text, is highly exaggerated to invoke the other senses. For example this Puja  wesite, illustrates the online practice of Puja, a Hindu religious ritual in which a presentation is made to various gods as an act of worship.  In this site the user can perform a home Puja, in which they give personal offerings virtually, like flowers, or incense.  This supports Connelly’s claim that, while there are vivid images, text, and audio, the user still cannot smell the incense they present to the certain god.  Thus proving that while this online process is convenient, it cannot be 100 percent replaced by the physical ritual, meaning it is more of a supplement than a substitute.

Connelly, L. (2010) ‘Virtual Buddhism: An Analysis of Aesthetics in Relation to
Religious Practice within Second Life.’ In Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the
Internet. Available HTTP <> (accessed 10 February

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