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Chercheurs de dieux dans l’espace public - Frontier Religions in Public Space

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Pauline Côté

Première partie / Part I. De l'étrange au familier en religion - Exploring the religious frontier

New religions in cyberspace: the promise and the perils of a new public space

Lorne L. Dawson

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Extrait du texte

The mass-suicide of thirty-nine members of Heaven’s Gate, on 26 March 1997, thrust the presence of new religions on the Internet into the public eye. Overnight the question of “cults in cyberspace’ became a social problem as the group’s extensive use of the Internet became known (Hoffman and Burke 1997). A wave of somewhat sensational feature stories rippled through the media. A The New York Times headline read “From porn to cults, the Net looks nasty,” while Newsweek called on the double entendre “Web of Death.” Online, surprisingly, the fears raised were sometimes even more extreme (e.g., “The Internet as a god and propaganda tool for cults” on CNN’s site). In the first flush of tragedy it became apparent that the problem sensed by the public was double-edged. On the one hand, there were the old suspicions of “cults.” On the other hand, there were new worries about the mysteries of cyberspace itself. Had the investment of the Heaven’s Gate group in the Internet led them astray in ...

Auteur

Associate Professor Sociology and Religious Studies University of Waterloo

© Les Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa | University of Ottawa Press, 2001

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