Unsolicited Religious E-mail, Researching New Context of Religious Communication

Libuše Martínková

Abstract

Most of the unsolicited e-mail is usually of business character and thus interpreted as something what teases and intrudes the privacy of mailboxes. It often ends inthrash folders, since it is considered as junk mail. However, specific number of thee-mails, labeled as spam, is represented by the messages with religious content. Religious spam mail represents entirely new form of religious communication and religious behavior - thus it deserves the attention of scholars, working in the filed ofstudy of religion on the Internet. This paper deals with the descriptive typology of religious spam mail, distinguishing especially the missionary e-mails, chain letters and hoaxes in the new context of religious communication and Internet. The study also tries to analyze the scheme of production and distribution of religious spam, including the impact to the recipients. Analysis centered to both sides of process (producers and consumers), should be employed here due to the fact of interactivity of the Internet. Also the topics of stigmatization (black listing) of spam senders, attitudes of official religious authorities and “popular” question of cyber terrorism(terrorism online and online terrorism) are discussed here in the context of methodological notes.

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