Reassembling Religion

Robert M. Geraci

in Virtually Sacred

Published in print July 2014 | ISBN: 9780199344697
Published online April 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199374731 | DOI:
Reassembling Religion

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This concluding chapter shows that it is possible to see that religious life must always be thought of as an assemblage of actors, with virtual worlds and their occupants now among them. Religious practice and thought require an association of human beings held together in a social constellation by nonliving objects, and such constellations are visible thanks to an actor-network approach to religion. The nonhuman elements of the religious assemblage, including virtual worlds, act upon the human beings: they are both repositories of human intentions and forceful objects that can redirect people. In fact, without nonhuman actors in a religious community, the community will surely fracture and dissolve. Virtual worlds now operate in ways analogous to traditional religious objects, such as holy scriptures, local temples, and culturally idiosyncratic fashions while simultaneously providing embodied locations where religious orientation is possible online. Virtual worlds can link people together in communities of the faithful, whether those communities are composed out of heroes of fantasy, engineers of transcendent minds, or importers of traditional faiths into digital temples. Thus, the sociology of science and the sociology of religion come together through actor-network theory and reveal how religion and science interact in the contemporary world.

Keywords: Actor-network theory; Orientation; Religious assemblage; The sacred; Sociology of science and religion

Chapter.  7007 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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