Church bans 9/11 Israel conspiracy priest from using social media

From the Telegraph

The Church of England has recently banned the Reverend Stephen Sizer from speaking, writing, tweeting, or blogging on the Middle East. Reverend Stephen Sizer believes that Israel was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks and has been promoting conspiracy theories. Early in February, the Board of Deputies of British Jews filed a complaint after Rev. Sizer posted a link on Facebook saying “9/11 Israel did it” and it was the day after Holocaust Memorial Day. The Church of England announced that the material he posted was “unquestionably anti-Semitic.” This is an important topic right now because of how severe the restrictions were.

Via Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture Studies

Free online course about Muslims in Britain

muslims-britainThis free online course draws upon the research of Cardiff University’s Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK , taking an evidence-based approach to the understanding of the lives of Muslims living in Britain today.

Learners will have the rare opportunity to hear the, often under-represented, voices of everyday British Muslims reflecting the incredible ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of the population.

Over four weeks, learners will gain an understanding of the basic beliefs and practices of British Muslims, explore the long history of the relationship between Britain and Islam, before turning to communities in Britain today and key contemporary debates.

Details at


Instapray“You are not alone!
Instapray is a safe place that connects people around the world through prayers. Request prayers, share your prayers, pray for someone, and get connected! Become a part of the Instapray community and share your love, support, happiness, or struggles with the world around you.”

‘Instapray’ App Marvels Values Voters
A Silicon Valley company with a prayer-based social network makes its conference debut in Washington.
It’s a political conference for old-fashioned Christian values, but that doesn’t mean new technology isn’t welcome, too.

A smartphone app called “Instapray” attracted plenty of attention Friday at the annual Values Voter Summit, the annual conference that draws conservative political darlings like Sarah Palin, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

Read full article at

Spadaro on Vatican journalism and digital media

The editor of “Civiltà Cattolica” speaks at the conference to launch Vatican Insider in Chinese and Arabic about the challenges of digital media to religious information

…Relevance is not conferred by repeater websites, by “parroting” websites that re-launch the same content through an ably arranged strategy. This only creates an echo through which everyone hears the news that they want to hear, re-launched by their reference websites that are all repeating the same thing. They become a filtered bubble…

Read full article

(via New Media, Religion & Digital Culture)

New Issue of “Online – Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet”

Vol 6 (2014) is out!

What is the connection between digital media religiosity, Online jihad on Facebook, Virtual Christianity, religious topics in fan fiction, Kopimism, trans-European adaptions on Neo-Orthodox Tibetan Buddhism, Jainism online, Muslim Women on YouTube and online religion in contemporary Georgia? – It’s all subject to the new edition of online – Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet!

We proudly present the regular issue 6 (2914) of our journal featuring a broad range of articles on all different aspects of religion online.


  • Cyberspace and Eschatological Expectations. On How Techno-Sciences Bolster the Belief in a Spiritually Connected Humanity – Cecilia Calheiros
  • ‘Okhti’ Online. Spanish Muslim Women engaging online Jihad – a Facebook case study. – Claudia Carvalho
  • Virtual Christian Places. Between Innovation and Tradition – Stefan Gelfgren
  • Digital Participatory Culture: Transnationality, Fandom & Diversity. Religion and Gender in German-written Fan Fiction and Fan Forums – Lisa Kienzl
  • Cyberspace and the Sacralization of Information – Sean O’Callaghan
  • Trans-European Adaptations in the Diamond Way: Negotiating Public Opinions on Homosexuality in Russia and in the U.K. – B. Scherer
  • Double-clicking the Temple Bell. Devotional aspects of Jainism online – Tine Vekemans
  • Remixing Images of Islam. The Creation of New Muslim Women Subjectivities on YouTube – Kayla Renée Wheeler
  • I ‘like’ my Patriarch. Religion on Facebook. New Forms of Religiosity in Contemporary Georgia – Sophie Zviadadze

‘Playing God’, a symposium on religion and video games

The gaming industry has recently surpassed Hollywood both in quantity and in revenues. In 2013 Silicon Valley generated revenues of $ 93 billion, a 17.7% increase on the amount earned in 2012. However, few academics have explored the phenomenon of religion in the world of video gaming. Therefore, on the 17th of October, the NOSTER research group Moving Visions, traditionally focused on the interconnection between film, religion and theology, will host a special symposium on religion and video games: ‘Playing God’.

Can god be found in video games?

Within the emerging field of investigation on the interaction between video gaming and religion, theological inquiries and reflections are not among the popular topics to be discussed. Traditional or ‘classic’ Christian theological topoi like salvation, incarnation, sacrifice and Eschaton are nevertheless easy to be found in modern day video games, like the Mass Effect series, Bioshock, Bioshock: Infinite, Master Reboot, Limbo, Brink, and Fallout 3: New Vegas.

The old narratives of the Christian tradition reappear in new and inventive forms and modes in modern video games. Besides this, the valorisation question is especially interesting in this field. How does the study of theological topoi in games make the world a better place? What would we tell grantors to be their return of investment? A whole field of theological study lies barren, waiting to be discovered.


During the day, several scholars investigate the narrative and symbolic intertextuallity between the domains of religion and games. Dr Freek Bakker will wrap up the afternoon with some concluding words.

View the full programme.


The all-in entrance fee is € 15. Registration is required, please fill in the digital form.

From the page of the Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University

Pope urges young people not to waste time on Internet and smartphones

Pope Francis urged 50,000 German altar servers not to waste time on the Internet, smartphones and television, but to spend their time on more productive activities.

“Maybe many young people waste too many hours on futile things,” the pope said in a short speech to the altar servers – young people who help the priest during religious services – who had come to Rome on a pilgrimage.

Read Reuters’ full article

App to help Jewish men form and find minyans anywhere

minyan photoOn July 8, Web development company RustyBrick released its newest mobile application for Android and iPhone users: Minyan Now. The New York-based company, best known for creating a popular phone siddur, uses modern technology to enhance traditional Jewish practices. The company’s latest product is designed to help Jewish men form and find minyans anywhere.

The idea for Minyan Now was inspired by RustyBrick CEO Barry Schwartz and founder and CFO Ronnie Schwartz after they personally struggled to find the quorums necessary for public prayer after their mother’s death. According to Jewish law, recitation of the traditional mourner’s prayer known as Kaddish requires a minyan.

Read full article in Jewish Times

(via Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture Studies)

Photo by Steven DuBois

The Study of Catholic Religious Authority on Facebook

A study is being conducted by Brian Altenhofen, a doctoral candidate at Texas A&M University under the direction of Dr. Heidi Campbell, in order to look at the way American Catholic Priests use Facebook. Recent studies have looked at the way new media is being negotiated by religious leaders of the Buddhist, Islamist, and Evangelical Christian faiths. Similarly, this study aims to discover the ways Catholic Priests negotiate social media in order to maintain and/or establish religious authority. In order to discover this, participants are needed to conduct a survey and follow-up interview. Ideal participants will be American Catholic Priests who use Facebook on a fairly regular basis (3 or more times a week) in order to conduct either personal and/or professional business on the social media site. If you know American catholic Priests that use Facebook pass this flyer along and have them email

From Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture Studies

Churches embrace apps for sermon notes, social media, bulletins, but focus can be a concern

Modern Church  photoWhen they walk in the doors of the sprawling, red-brick Hope Community Church in Raleigh, no one takes a bulletin. Instead, they whip out their smartphones, tap the silver “Get Hope” app and open the sermon notes.

“We never really knew if anybody was reading them,” said Joe Woolworth, the church’s media director. “People would often just recycle them when they were done. With the app, it was cheaper, and we were able to go green.”

Thousands of people have downloaded the church’s app since it was created two years ago. Once inside, they can sign up for a community group and find one of the church’s 13 Facebook pages, nine Twitter accounts and three Instagram pages. They can donate to the church via a secure Web page. They can sign up to volunteer.

Read full article at

(via Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture Studies)

Photo by stevecadman