This article demonstrates how religion is propagated through a scientistic strategy or discourse, and how religion, not science, is in control. Scientistic religious groups, however, are not “paradoxical”—what they have accomplished is simply an expanded usage of a traditional religious strategy. Traditional religions are able to interpret any event, place, individual, object, or subject according to religious standards. Within the fabric of any given religion, everything in the world can be understood and measured along specific mythological or ritual paths. Scientistic religions have simply added the phenomenon of science to this capacity. By embracing science, which is basically a secular discourse, a number of new religions have overcome one of the paradoxes of the modern world, that is, the parallel existence of two mutually incongruous epistemological systems—science and religion.
This essay introduces some of the key issues associated with virtual religious practices. With the development of the MODEM program and public access to the Internet and then the WWW, online religious activity has flourished. On a most basic level, virtual religion has affected religious community, authority, and identity. However, online religious activity has also changed ritual practices, religious information seeking behaviors, and even people’s religious experiences. Virtual religion is having significant impact and changing the way people “do” religion in our wired world. After introducing the topic and key issues, this essay presents an important case study of Virtual Tibet, highlighting the significant changes that can occur in religious beliefs and practices as they are “digitized” and experienced online.