How People of Faith Are Using Computers and the Internet

Introduction

In his article, "Christian Scholarship and The Philosophical Analysis of Cyberspace Technologies," Douglas Groothuis points out that the recent explosion of cyberspace technologies into modern culture has raised some important issues and questions for Christian scholars who want to bring a Christian perspective to computer-mediated forms of communication. (1) He rightly states that, "Those who hold a Christian worldview need to discern the nature and function of cyberspace interactions in order to appraise rightly their significance, worth, and potential for the Christian cause and the culture at large." (2)

The purpose of this article is to examine some of the important issues and questions that computer technologies have brought. In doing this, this article will address two issues. First, this work will survey how Americans in general and Christians in particular are using computers and the Internet. Second, this work will give a theological evaluation of some of the intellectual opportunities and moral concerns that these new technologies bring.

Without going so far as to say that computers and the Internet are neutral tools with equal potential for good and bad, (3) this work will argue that computer technology brings both great intellectual opportunities and potential for harm and evil. Christians, therefore, must understand and utilize computer technology in a way that brings good and furthers the cause of the Gospel in a way pleasing to the Lord.

How Computers and the Internet are Being Used

The specific opportunities that computers and the Internet offer are too numerous to mention. Nevertheless, the major benefits these technologies offer can be summarized in the categories of information and communication. First, the Internet offers easy and quick access to enormous amounts of information. As Timothy J. Demy states, "Staggering amounts of information are available to anyone with a phone line and a personal computer." (4) Those doing research on the Internet can tap into important documents, photos, online encyclopedias, and other educational and reference materials. The Internet also provides up-to-the-minute news, weather reports, and scores from last night's game. Second, the Internet has opened up new means of instant communication with the advent of email and chat rooms. From nearly any location, including home, people can communicate with others almost anywhere in the world with little cost. By typing in an email address and hitting the send button, messages can be sent without the hassle of handwriting a letter, licking stamps and finding a mailbox. Emails already outnumber physical mail now aptly called "snail mail."

These technological opportunities have not been lost on Americans. In 2001, 1 million Americans used the Internet. (5) The most universal value of the Internet among Americans, according to Barna, is finding information. Other common uses include maintaining existing relationships, buying products, and previewing new media. (6) The results of a March 2001 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project also revealed that as Americans gain experience on the Internet, "They use the Web more at work, write emails with more significant content, perform more online transactions, and pursue more activities online." (7)

Christians and Computers How involved are Christians with computers? Steve Hewitt claims that Christians have had a slow start when it comes to computer usage. "While the world embraced the introduction of the PC, Christians and churches were fearful, and viewed this electronic tool as a personality with a dark soul," he says. "Only recently have we caught up." (8)

Although history shows that various religious groups have at times been resistant to technological innovations, (9) Christians in the United States are now just as likely as the general American population to use the new technologies. A study by the Barna Research Group, revealed that "Born again Christians have the same rate of adoption of modern technology as do adults who are not born again." (10) This assertion holds true in the area of home computers. Barna's research indicated that two-thirds of professing born again Christians owned a personal computer, fifty-six percent owned a desktop computer, sixteen percent owned a laptop/notebook PC, and seven percent owned a palmtop computer. These figures are identical with the overall use of these items by the general American adult population. (11)

Pastors, too, rely on the computer. According to Barna, "More than nine out of ten Senior Pastors use a computer at home or at the church." (12) These pastors tend to "use computers mainly for communications and study, with word processing clearly the dominant application." (13)

Christians and the Internet

According to Barna, "Born again and evangelical Christians are every bit as likely as non-Christians to use the digital superhighway." (14) His data shows that forty-eight percent of adult Christians have home Internet access. This compares with fifty-percent for the American adult population as a whole. (15)

Pastors also rely heavily on the Internet. According to Barna's research, "Four-fifths of all Protestant Senior Pastors have access to the Internet," (16) About half of Senior Pastors "gain entry to the Internet daily." (17) Pastors are more likely than others to maintain friendships, buy products, and have religious experiences on the Net. (18)

Churches, too, are getting online. One out of every three Protestant churches (110,000) in the United States has a Web site. Among the two-thirds of churches that do not, nineteen percent say they definitely will have one within the next twelve months." (19)

How People of Faith Are Using the Internet

As the Internet pervades American life, its influence has carried over to the areas of faith and religion. As Barna has stated:

You can buy books on the Internet, strike up relationships on the Internet and a growing proportion of the population are experiencing God in cyberspace as well . . . . Among the growing number of Americans who use the Internet, millions are turning to the digital dimension to get them in touch with God and others who pursue faith matters. (20)

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, twenty-five percent of Internet users have gotten religious or spiritual information online at one point or another. More than three million people a day get religious or spiritual material from the Internet. (21) The Pew study also showed that more people have received religious or spiritual information online than have gambled online, used Web auction sites, traded stocks online, placed phone calls on the Internet, done online banking, or used Internet-based dating services.(22)

The Pew study refers to the twenty-five percent of Americans who receive religious and spiritual information from the Internet as "Religious Surfers." In general, these Religious Surfers "treat the Net as a vast ecclesiastical library and they hunt for general spiritual information online."(23)

What specifically do Religious Surfers look for online? According to the Pew study, the top five activities of Religious Surfers on the Internet are: (1) looking for information about their own faith (67%); (2) looking for information about another faith (50%); (3) emailing a prayer request (38%); (4) downloading religious music (38%); and (5) giving spiritual guidance via email (37%). (24) What did Religious Surfers do online in their most recent Internet session? They (1) found educational or devotional materials (40%); (2) found general information about a religious faith or tradition (29%); and (3) communicated with people in their church (11%).

Most who used the Internet for religious experiences indicated that they were likely to use the Internet even more in the future. As Barna has observed:

When people were asked about their likely future use of the Internet to seek or engage in specific types of religious experiences, more than two-thirds indicated that they were likely to engage in such pursuits on a regular basis as the decade progresses. Among the Net-based religious endeavors deemed most appealing were listening to archived religious teaching, reading online 'devotionals,' and buying religious products and resources online. (25)

Of all the Net-based religious activities, the most attractive option for Christians was listening to religious teaching online. (26)

Opportunities and Concerns

Since the impact of computers and the Internet is so vast, it is nearly impossible to address all the specific opportunities and concerns that these technologies bring. Nevertheless, this section will address four key issues associated with computer technology. These issues include: (1) the Internet and spiritual community, (2) information overload, (3) the dark side of the Internet, and (4) the Internet and disembodiment.

Does the Internet Pose a Threat to Spiritual Community?

Some have expressed concern that the popularity of the Internet will cause many people of faith to participate more in online church than in a physical church. Barna, for example, has predicted that a growing number of people will use the Internet as their primary religious experience. He believes that by the end of the present decade, "50 million Americans will seek to have their spiritual experience solely through the Internet, rather than at a church; and upwards of 100 million Americans will rely upon the Internet to deliver some aspects of their religious experience." (27) He also claims that by the end of the present decade "we will have in excess of ten percent of our population who rely upon the Internet for their entire spiritual experience." (28) Barna does say that some of these cyberchurch goers will be individuals who never had a connection with a faith community, but millions of others will be people who dropped out of the physical church in favor of the cyberchurch. (29) Thus, Barna predicts that the popularity of the Internet will change the nature of how many people view church. Barna offer an interesting scenario:

Fifteen years from now you may tell your grandchildren that back in the old days, when people wanted a religious experience they attended a church for that purpose. Chances are good that your children will be shocked by such a revelation. (30)

Although Barna's projections are a cause for concern, there is not yet enough evidence to indicate that there will be a mass exodus from physical churches to the cyberchurch. According to Barna's own research, less than one percent of all adults and just two percent of teenagers currently use the Internet as a substitute for actually going to a physical church. (31) According to the Pew study, Religious Surfers are still strongly committed to traditional spiritual practices: "For Religion Surfers Internet browsing itself fell far behind traditional offline practices of prayer, worship and service to others." (32) In addition, although twenty-seven percent of Religious Surfers say that using the Internet has helped them in their faith, only two percent say that the Internet is a major aspect of their practice of faith. (33) Also significant was the finding that, "The most active online Religion Surfers (those who go online at least several times a week for spiritual material) are also the most active offline participants in their faiths." (34)

Instead of viewing the Internet as a replacement for church, Religious Surfers appear to perceive the Internet as "a useful supplemental tool that enhances their already-deep commitment to their beliefs and their churches, synagogues, or mosques." (35) Research also shows that most Religious Surfers are currently active in faith communities. Seventy-four percent of Religious Surfers attend religious services at least once a week. (36) This figure appears encouraging when compared with the fact that only forty percent of Americans attend religious services every week.(37)

At least for now, Religious Surfers do not appear to be abandoning the physical church for cyberchurch. It is also possible that the Internet, at times, may actually help spiritual communities. Eighty-three percent of congregations who use the Internet have indicated that Web sites and the use of email have helped the spiritual life of their congregations either some or a lot. (38) Some churches have also indicated that having a Web presence and Internet related communications actually created stronger ties within their communities as they re-established ties with former members, and in some cases, expanded their missions on a global scale. The Pew report points out that these are "communal benefits" and although Web sites cannot create new communities, "communities can create vibrant Web presences that redound to the benefit of their members." (39)

Internet Information: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Like many Americans, Christians, too, have jumped on "the information superhighway" and have benefited from the information and communication opportunities that computers and the Internet have provided. Two popular books that have introduced Christians to the Internet and its benefits are Jason D. Baker's, Christian Cyberspace Companion: A Guide to the Internet and Christian Online Resources, (40) and Quentin J. Schultze's, Internet for Christians: Everything You Need to Start Cruising the Net Today.(41) These works show Christians what the Internet is, how to gain access to the World Wide Web, use email, and use search engines. With Christian purposes specifically in mind, the authors show their readers how to engage in online Bible study, access Christian periodicals, keep in touch with missionaries, join Christian discussion groups, and participate in dozens of other Christian related activities. Both authors are excited about the opportunities that computers and the Internet bring. As Baker tells his readers:

With today's technology and the ability to travel in cyberspace, the door is wide open for Christians to go anywhere in the world, without leaving their own home or church. We can minister, explore, research, and even share the gospel message with millions as a result of the availability of telecommunications . (42)

Home-school families in particular have benefited from the Internet. They are able to access online information that can supplement lessons and find valuable resources such as online encyclopedias, newspapers and libraries. Home-school families also find support and interaction with other home-schoolers. According to Sue Bohlin, "plugged-in" home-school families "report that the encouragement of their online home-school communities is often what keeps them going." (43)

Dealing With Information Overload

There is little doubt that computers and the Internet have opened up great opportunities for finding information. Users of the Internet, though, must grapple with how to approach so much information and how to sort the valuable information from non-helpful information. As Hope N. Tillman has observed, however, "Within the morass of networked data are both valuable nuggets and an incredible amount of junk." (44) Information overload, then, is a major problem for Internet users. It is, however, not so much the amount of information that causes problems but the inability of people to process information. How can one use the Internet efficiently, discerning what is junk from what is useful? Tillman asserts that Internet users need to use "the same critical evaluative skills" in looking for information on the Internet that they would use in a book, a paper index, a musical score, or an online commercial database. (45) They need "a systematic approach" to evaluate the tools they will need for Internet searching and for evaluating the documents that are found from searching. (46)

Tillman points out that the presence of "vanity sites" makes discernment on the Internet especially important. Vanity sites are sites "where an individual decides to share working papers or information they have been working on for a dissertation." (47) A document found on a vanity site may be of great value, but it is a work that has not been through the peer review process intrinsic to scholarship, or it has not been disseminated by the trade publishing industry. (48)

Various educational institutions have offered guidelines for evaluating quality information on the Internet. The major categories Internet users should be aware of in evaluating a Web site include author, purpose, source, content, style, and functionality. () Some important factors for evaluating a Web site include:

* Who is the author and /or site creator?
* Is background information about the author/creator available?
* What are the author 's qualifications and experiences?
* What is the purpose of the site?
* Is the information accurate?
* Is the information relevant?
* Is the information current? (50)
* Is the writing style appropriate?

Experts also suggest that Internet users learn how to prioritize and winnow information. For instance, when information comes in, whether through email or the Internet, experts recommend that people take action on it or discard it immediately. As Jim Owen has stated, "Don't fall into the habit of creating a huge 'maybe' pile of articles, faxes, and computer messages. 'If it's not worth dealing with now, it probably won't be later,' say experts." (51) Information consumers must also recognize that they "can't read it all." (52) Heeding the following analogy can be helpful:

Data is like food. A good meal is served in reasonably- sized portions from several food groups. It leaves you satisfied but not stuffed. Likewise with information, we 're best served when we can partake of reasonable, useful portions, exercising discretion in what we digest and how often we seek it out. (53)

The Dark Side of the Internet

There is a dark side to the Internet that exists alongside its good side. As Schultze puts it, "These are the two faces of the 'Net ' –one repulsive and one attractive, one that reflects goodness and Grace, and the other that displays human sinfulness. " (54) Internet users, then, must be aware of the "dark side of the Web. " The "dark side of the Web " refers to activities on the Internet that are often criminal in nature, violate the moral standards of the majority of the population, and clearly go against the principles of Christianity. According to an article published by U.S. News and World Report , the scope of this dark side of the Internet has not been comprehended by most people:

The popular image of the Web is one of earnest geeks and capitalist kids gulping a Starbucks as they sling code. That masks something that until recently could only be called the online world's dirty little secret. Pornographers and pedophiles on the Web, sadly, are nothing new. But because the Internet is so vast and uncharted, the full scope of its dark side has never been fully explored. And the amount of bad stuff out there is truly staggering. (55)

Examples of this dark side of the Web include: (1) cyberstalking --the terrorizing and harassing of people through the Internet; (2) adoption fraud; (3) credit card theft; (4) child solicitation; (5) computer hacking; (6) identity theft; (7) hate emails; and (8) pornography. Margaret Wartheim is correct when she states, "The underbelly of cyberspace is indeed 'a grotesque soul. ' " (56)

The dark side of the Web needs little theological comment as far as the Christian is concerned. Clearly, every Christian must avoid participation in all immoral and unethical behavior. Being a good steward of God 's resources would also indicate that appropriate steps be taken to avoid being a victim of cybercrime and perversion. Parents, in particular, should take steps to shield their children from Internet perversion and child solicitation. Christian men must also take protective measures. Online pornography appears to be one of the greatest threats to the spirituality of Christian men. According to Christian Computing Magazine , "Online pornography poses a greater threat to Christian men and leaders than ANY other type of pornography on the market." (57)

Disembodied Souls in Cyberspace

For most of history, when people communicated they did so primarily by face- to- face conversation. Communication, thus, was a full- bodied event with facial expressions and body language clearly evident. With the development of telecommunications, though, communication has become more of a disembodied event as people communicate without their full physical presence. Groothuis explains:

Information technologies disembody the information they carry to various degrees. Even the shift from an oral to a written culture tended to disembody knowledge. What once required memorization and recitation by living persons could now be retrieved through the dead pages of papyri, parchment, or paper. . . . Or take the telephone. It extends the voice far beyond the capacities of the vocal chords but also severs the voice from the face and body.(58)

Groothuis links the continuing trend toward disembodiment with cyberspace. He argues that cyberspace is a "disembodied medium " because "information is produced and exchanged through computers via telephone lines without the physical bulk of paper or the face- to- face element of conversation. " (59)

With the Internet, according to Groothuis, people naturally act in disembodied ways. As the title of his book, The Soul in Cyberspace , indicates, people can escape their bodies and travel in cyberspace taking on different identities and sometimes acting in ways they normally would not if their physical presence were required. (60) Experimenting with sexuality is one example he gives. "When people enter cyberspace they may play multiple roles and possibly play characters of the opposite sex, " he says. (61) A person who would never risk meeting with other transvestites in person can comfortably interact with other transvestites on the Internet. A man who would never look at pornography at a local magazine stand can anonymously visit pornographic Web sites. As Groothuis puts it, "The fantasy enclaves. . .allow for the adoption of any number of self- constructed identities. "(62) These identities "leave behind all the richness of physical presence and embodied communication. " (63)

What is the theological response to this issue? Groothuis argues that the answer is mostly found in the theological implications of creation and the incarnation. God created humans not just with souls but with bodies that were declared "good. " The implication, according to Groothuis, is that human activity, including communication, is best when the body is present. Groothuis also stresses the physical nature of the incarnation of Jesus Christ as being important in understanding how communication should happen:

At this point the Christian scholar can draw on the rich resources of the incarnation and its ethical entailments. Although God is essentially an incorporeal being, he created the physical world as good (Gen 1:31; 1 Tim 4:3–4). Despite the fall of human moral agents into sin through their disobedience, the second person of the Trinity deigned to enter the world by taking on himself a human nature. "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (John 1:14). In speaking of his relationship with Christ, John also reports: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. This life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it" (1 John 1:1–2). (64)

The physical nature of the incarnation sets an important "pattern" for communication and relationships according to Groothuis:

Christ 's incarnation is God 's manner of redeeming erring mortals, but it also spells out a pattern of relationships and communication for Christian discipleship. Christian life and ministry should be incarnational in that the body of Christ should relish embodied fellowship and personal involvement with other believers and the nonbelieving world as well. In this way the reality of Christ can, in a sense, be "made flesh " through our physical presence. In Jesus ' high- priestly prayer to the Father he expounds this dynamic: "As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world " (John 18:18). Just as Christ "made the Father known " (1:18) by his life among the living, so we should make God known by our personal presence in God 's world for the sake of his creatures. (65)

Groothuis argues that this "incarnational model of communication" can also be seen in Paul's letters. In Romans 1:10-11 Paul states, "I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong--that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." Here, Paul stressed the importance of personal contact with his Christian friends. Groothuis points out that Paul "yearned to have an incarnational presence in the life of the Roman believers." (66) For Paul, then, "embodied fellowship is an irreducible and incommensurate quality that cannot be adequately translated into any other form of communication." (67)

As Groothuis puts it, "There is a dimension of intimacy and accountability that comes with a face- to- face, person- to- person encounter that is not available otherwise. " (68) The incarnational ideal for communication, however, does not eliminate cyberspace or other media of communication. He argues that we should use whatever media are important in particular contexts, but we must also "subject all means of communication to metaphysical and epistemological analysis (inquiring as to their nature, strengths and weaknesses) in accordance with the dicta of our Christian perspective." (69) This approach appears well- balanced.

Conclusion

Computers and the Internet offer many opportunities and many challenges. Christians, thus, should avoid the extremes of "digital utopia " and "digital apocalypse " when it comes to viewing the new technologies. Balance is necessary. As Lockhead has observed:

If we can be level- headed about the changes that computers are making and will make to our world, we usually come to the conclusion that neither the worst fears of those who oppose the march of technology nor the fondest hopes of the lovers of technology are likely to come true. Experience tells us that history usually has a way of avoiding apocalyptic catastrophes or utopian achievements. The reality we settle for usually falls somewhere between the two. (70)

Since computer technology is here to stay, retreat from it seems neither required nor appropriate. Schultze has noted that, "There comes a time when the church of Jesus Christ has to be bold enough to lay claim to a new medium. " (71) Claiming a new medium, though, goes beyond just mere use of the medium. It involves understanding how the medium works. As Groothuis has pointed out, unless we subject all means of communication to metaphysical and epistemological analysis in accordance with our Christian perspective, "we may mismatch the message with the medium and fail to glorify God in our stewardship of the resources at our disposal (10:31). " (72)

 

 

1 Douglas Groothuis, "Christian Scholarship And The Philosophical Analysis Of Cyberspace Technologies," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 41:4 (December 1998): 631.

2 Ibid.

3 As Monsa points out, "Adding to understand technology is the fact that it is not neutral. Engaging in technological activities inevitably and necessarily means valuing; there is no escaping this fact. At times the argument is made that technology and its tools and products are neutral, and that only the uses to which they are put involve valuing. But there can be no such neat division. . . . Technology itself is value-laden." Stephen V. Monsa, ed. Responsible Technology: A Christian Perspective (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 3. According to Postman, "Every technology has an inherent bias. It has within its physical form a predisposition toward being used in certain ways and not others. Only those who know nothing of the history of technology believe that a technology is entirely neutral." Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (New York: Penguin, 1985), 84.

4 Timothy J. Demy, "Technology and Theology: Reality and Hope for the Third Millennium," in Issues 2000: Evangelical Faith and Cultural Trends in the New Millennium, ed. Mal Couch (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1999), 47.

5 Computer Industry Almanac, "Latest Press Releases."

6 Barna Research Group, "More Americans Are Seeking Net-Based Faith Experiences"; 21 May 2001; available from http://www.barna.org/cgibin/PagePressRelease.asp?PressReleaseID= 90&Reference=E&Key=internet; Internet; accessed 1 April 2002.

7 Pew Internet & American Life Project, "Getting Serious Online"; 3 March 2002; available from http://www.pewinternet.org/; Internet; accessed 23 March 2002.

8 Steve Hewitt, foreward to Christian Cyberspace Companion: A Guide to the Internet and Christian Online Resources, by Jason D. Baker (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), 13.

9 The Amish Mennonites are known for their resistance to technological advances.

10 Barna Research Group. "Christians Embrace Technology"; 12 June 2000; available from http://www.barna.org/cgibin/PagePressRelease.asp?PressReleaseID =64&Reference=E&Key=internet; Internet; accessed 14 April 2002. The technologies Barna surveyed included VCRs, cable television, satellite TV, DVDs, cellular telephones, desktop computers, laptops, palmtops, CD-ROMs, and home Internet access.

11 Barna, "Christians Embrace Technology," The numbers for the American population are fifty-five, sixteen, and eight respectively.

12 Barna, "More Americans Are Seeking Net-Based Faith Experiences."

13 Ibid.

14 Ibid. Barna also points out that "Catholics and mainline Protestants are slightly more likely to use the Internet than are Baptists and Protestants who attend non-mainline churches."

15 Barna, "Christians Embrace Technology."

16 Barna Research Group, "More Americans Are Seeking Net-Based Faith Experiences."

17 Barna Research Group, "More Americans Are Seeking Net-Based Faith Experiences."

18 Ibid.

19 Ibid.

20 Ibid.

21 Pew Internet & American Life Project, "Cyberfaith: How Americans Pursue Religion Online"; 23 December 2001; available from http://www.pewinternet.org/; Internet; accessed 23 March 2002, 2.

22 Pew Internet & American Life Project, "Cyberfaith," 2.

23 Ibid., 2.

24 Ibid., 13.

25 Ibid.

26 Barna Research Group, "More Americans Are Seeking Net-Based Faith Experiences."

27 Barna Research Group, "More Americans Are Seeking Net-Based Faith Experiences."

28 Barna Research Group, "The Year's Most Intriguing Findings, From Barna Research Studies"; 17 December 2001; available from http://www.barna.org/cgibin/PagePressRelease.asp?PressReleaseID =103&Reference=E&Key=internet; Internet; accessed 1 April 2002.

29 Barna Research Group, "More Americans Are Seeking Net-Based Faith Experiences."

30 Ibid.

31 Barna, "The Cyberchurch is Coming" April 20, 1998.

32 Barna Research Group, "More Americans Are Seeking Net-Based Faith Experiences."

33 Pew Internet & American Life Project, "Cyberfaith," 19.

34 Pew Internet & American Life Project, "Cyberfaith," 19.

35 Ibid., 3.

36 Pew Internet & American Life Project, "Cyberfaith," 3.

37 Ibid., 4.

38 Pew Internet, "Wired Church, Wired Temples"; available from http://www.pewinternet.org/reports/tocasp?Report=28; Internet; accessed 2 April 2002.

39 Pew Internet & American Life Project, "Cyberfaith," 21.

40 Jason D. Baker, Christian Cyberspace Companion: A Guide to the Internet and Christian Online Resources (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997).

41 Quentin J. Schultze, Internet for Christians: Everything You Need to Start Cruising the Net Today (Muskegon, MI: Gospel Communications, 1996).

42 Baker, Christian Cyberspace Companion, 13.

43 Sue Bohlin, "The Value of the Internet to Christians"; available from http://www.probe.org/docs/internet.html; Internet; accessed 31 March 2002.

44 Hope N. Tillman, "Evaluating Quality on the Net"; 30 May 2000; available from http://www.hopetillman.com/findqual.html; Internet; accessed 22 March 2002. Tillman is the Director of Libraries at Babson College in Babson Park, Massachusetts. This work was delivered at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 6, 1995.

45 Tillman, "Evaluating Quality on the Net."

46 Ibid

47 Ibid.

48 Ibid.

University At Albany Libraries, "Evaluating Internet Resources"; available from www.library.albany.edu/internet/evaluate.html; Internet; accessed 22 March 2002.

50 Questions taken from University of Wollongong Library, "Evaluating Information from the Internet"; available from http://www-library.uow.edu.au/helptraining/workshops/evalnet/evalinro.html; Internet; accessed 1 April 2002.

51 Jim Owen, "Coping With Information Overload"; available from http://www.careerbuilder.com/ wl_work_9905_overload.html; Internet; accessed 5 April 2002.

52 Ibid.

53 Computer Bits, "Information Overload"; available from http://www.computerbits.com/ archive/1998/0200/infoload.html; Internet; accessed 5 April 2002.

54 Schultze, Internet for Christians, 11.

55 Margaret Mannix, Toni Locy, Kim Clark, Anne Kates Smith, Joellen Perry, Frank McCoy, Joannie Fischer, Jeff Glasser, and David E. Kaplan, "The Web's Dark Side," U.S. News and World Report, August, 28, 2000, 36.

56 Margaret Wertheim, The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space From Dante to the Internet (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999), 299.

57 Christian Computing Magazine, "Christian Computing Resources"; available from http://www.gospelcom.net/ccmag/store/index.html; accessed 23 March 2002.

58 Groothuis, The Soul in Cyberspace, 38.

59 Groothuis, "Christian Scholarship And The Philosophical Analysis Of Cyberspace Technologies," 635.

60 The philosophy of the disembodied soul parallels the teachings of Platonism, Gnosticism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and many New Age expressions today.

61 Groothuis, The Soul in Cyberspace, 28.

62 Ibid.

63 Ibid.

64 Groothuis, "Christian Scholarship And The Philosophical Analysis Of Cyberspace Technologies," 637.

65 Groothuis, "Christian Scholarship And The Philosophical Analysis Of Cyberspace Technologies," 638.

66 Ibid.

67 Ibid.

68 Groothuis, The Soul in Cyberspace, 47.

69 Groothuis, "Christian Scholarship And The Philosophical Analysis Of Cyberspace Technologies," 639-40.

70 Lockhead, Shifting Realities, 5.

71 Schultze, Internet for Christians, 11.

72 Groothuis, "Christian Scholarship And The Philosophical Analysis Of Cyberspace Technologies," 639-40.

 

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