Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Makes a Religious Authority Figure?

The use of websites created by religious communities has created changes, and thus created issues offline along with those changes in the practices of religious authority. Among many of the changes is the question of who has a hierarchy role within a religious communities on and offline. There are now new perceptions of who is a religious authority figure. According to Cheong author of, Authority, “the internet challenges authority by expanding access of religious information that can undermine the plausibility structure of a religious system”. Search engine websites on the internet now make it easier for one to find information regarding a variety of traditions, such as sacred scriptures, that in the past may have not been provided for the public, but only to certified religious authority figures. With the availability of religious information on websites it is assumed that it has diminished the power of those who are a certified or an ordained religious authority figure, and gives authority to those who are not certified or a self proclaimed religious figure. This creates a crisis in traditional theology of who has religious authority as new forms of web-based authorities emerge. With traditional authority threatened, there are assumptions that search engine websites create a way for uncertified people to become a religious authority figure with their knowledge of religion gained from the Internet. Which diminishes the knowledge of those who are a certified religious authority figure.

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