Thursday, October 13

Fox News: Bloggers Seek to Mix Faith and the Internet

Interesting look at religion and blogging via Fox News.

WASHINGTON — When Johann Gutenberg's printing press began churning out Bibles in the 15th century, the new technology helped usher in a new era of religion in Europe.

Nearly 600 years later, some think that increasingly popular Web logs — the Internet's version of personal journals, pamphleteering and issue forums all wrapped in one — combined with traditional religious beliefs could once again take people on a new, uncharted course.

In what appears to be a first of its kind, a small evangelical Christian college in Southern California on Thursday will open the God Blog Convention, a conference on Christian blogging.

Matt Anderson, a 23-year-old educator who works for Biola University, is coordinating the God Blog Convention. He said one of the goals of the conference is to see whether God, Christian-oriented blogging and politics are a good marriage, and if so, how they should match up.

"The advantage of blogging is that anyone can do it and you can reach a lot more people," Anderson said. "What ends up happening is the level of dialogue about particular issues goes up."

Some who have been following the trend of blogging say the fact that Christians — already a powerful political force — are wading into the world of blogging could mean a major change in the political landscape if their efforts take hold.

"It's tailor-made for that group," said Carol Darr, director of George Washington University's Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet.

Darr said blogs can be used to increase religious contacts among like-minded individuals and strengthen the social bonds among religious groups.

In terms of the strength of the group as a political force, Christian bloggers don't just talk religion. They spend much of their time discussing current politics, including the nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to succeed Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, abortion, intelligent design, the use of "under God" in the classroom and where the Ten Commandments should or shouldn't be placed, among other topics.

But while blogging is generally considered a simple form of Web communication, the emerging movement of God-blogging is looking for a clearer definition of itself and what path it should take.