Whose Message Will Win the Souls? The Future Development of Religious Life in Cyberspace And Its “Chinese Characteristic”


The Internet has culminated in the development of tools for human communication that began with the appearance of languages and continued with the inventions of writing, typography, radio, and television, leading to the contemporary computer-mediated communication. At each stage throughout history, applying these new tools in human society changed its basic functions deeply. The sphere of religion was obviously not left outside these transformational processes. With the rise of contemporary information technologies, radical changes on the religious scene can be predicted, parallel to those of communication revolutions in the past. It can be supposed that the religious traditions that will most effectively adapt to new technologies will be the most successful ones on the globalized market of world religions. Based on this observation, this article is trying to find features that should enable religious movements to succeed in this process. The main source for the prognosis originates in the research of the religious activities in the Chinese environment, especially those of the Falun Gong movement. As China will soon become the key actor in reshaping (not only) the cyberspace of the future, the observations made in this environment can be an important inspiration for predicting the further development of religious life on the entire Internet.