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20 Pages

Religious Studies on the Internet

WithBostrom William J.

Religious Studies is the “objective” side of human involvement with religion. One might believe or not believe the teachings presented, though it is hoped that the presentation is honest and fair. It can be maintained, however, that there is always a “subjective” ele-ment present when it comes to the relationship of people to God, or the gods or Ultimate Reality, and there are plenty of Internet sites devoted to the “subjective” practice of religion as well. However, this paper investigates how five major religions are presented “objectively” on the Internet: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. The presenters are the Religious Studies Departments of various American universities and the “Meta-Sites” recommended by them. It is found that the various scriptures are not, yet, well-presented for scholarly purposes on the Internet, as they are on some CD-Roms. Other aspects of Religious Studies fare better (e.g., presentations of major teachings, historical leaders and divisions of the five religions mentioned above). The Internet sites of the Religious Studies Department at the University of Wyoming and that of Professor James J. O’Donnell at the University of Pennsylvania seemed especially promising study resources.[Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-342-9678, E-mail address: <<[email protected]>> Website: <http://www.haworthpress.com>]