To use or not to use the Internet to support religious and spiritual life
This chapter seeks to explore the motivations to use the Internet for the spiritual life or to voluntarily renounce to it for a (short) period in order to intensify the spiritual life. Aim is to adopt the point of view of the users and not of the institution, to better understand how believers use the Internet for spiritual purposes, how it constitutes a spiritual experience. I will firstly investigate the motivations to use digital media for religious practice based on a questionnaire I conducted with users of spiritual offers online from Austrian Franciscans. Then, based on empiric field inquiries in Catholic monasteries and in the framework of trekking and fasting weeks in Austria, I will explore the idea of “fasting of Internet”. Monks and nuns indeed try to live a kind of asceticism concerning the use of Internet, especially during Lent, whereas participants of fasting weeks also try to renounce digital media during the week in order to achieve a deeper spiritual experience.