Schlagwort: 'pauline cheong'

by Anne-Kathrin Gaida

At the workshop ‘Religious Authority between 0 and 1: Power and Authority in the Times of the Internet’ with Pauline Hope Cheong, Stef Aupers and Bettina Gräfin in Groningen, I was able to get some insights into reflections related to the concept of ‘authority’ which seem to be very interesting for the project I am currently working on, as it is about a group that seems to be constantly struggling with ‘authority’, ‘legitimacy’ and the boundaries and limitations of it. The group names itself OCG (Organische Christus Generation – ‘Organic Christ Generation’(loosely translated)) and is a religious community from Switzerland. In public discourse, this group is often placed within a debate about ‘sects’, both, from the media and from institutionalised religious experts, such as the, a so-called ‘informational service’ of the evangelic church in Switzerland.

Central to this community is the person Ivo Sasek, the founder of the OCG, and his family. Ivo Sasek sees the world as a kind of holistic organism in which every human being has to fulfil his or her role to make the whole organism work. Centre of this global organism is God in the person of Jesus Christ. Basic principle of the OCG is the acceptance of God as the leader of mankind and to subordinate oneself completely to his will.

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by Simon Heider

If someone would have drawn picture of a so-called classical religion – like judaism – at the beginning of the first half of the last century, the part on authority would likely have been as follows: The authority in religious matters besides JHWH  lies in the sacred texts and the experts, who were especially trained to deal with them. Their training would give them in both their own view and that of their parish the sole authority needed for their work. These religious experts called rabbis were then with one exception caused by circumstances, men.

In the aftermath of the Second World War the situation was essentially the same. But in the wake of the counter culture and later due to the advance in mediatisation, women demanded more religious participation in judaism, too. Even though there is a small number of conservative female rabbis as well, the focus here is on the ones from the jewish feminist branch. This is mainly due to the fact that my project deals with the (re)construction of the Lilith figure. This is related to the challenge it might pose to the traditional authorities of these people. So far such a process is more visible in the field of Christianity, where the clergy often takes a challenge by countering the threats posed to their authority.

At our workshop Pauline Hope Cheong, who did research on the topic of ‘Religious Communication and Epistemic Authority in Wired Faith Organisation in the Christian context in Singapore, presented an approach for mapping religious authority and internet research. This approach uses different so-called ‘logics‘ or’waves‘.

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The Department of Religious Studies from the University of Bremen, in cooperation with the International Jacobs-University Bremen and with the University of Groningen, held a workshop that dealt with “Religious Authority between 0 and 1: Power and Authority in the Times of Internet”. This workshop was sponsored by the NOWETAS-foundation.

Despite the increasing importance and influence on the religious discourse, the research of religion on and in new mass media has mostly been excluded up to now and sometimes even banned from scholarly attention. Consequently, there have hardly been any reliable studies covering this field of research, except for a very few surveys done by US scholars. The Summer School “How Virtual is Reality?” tried to fill this research gap and dealt with the question to what extent changes or inventions in the processes of performance, interaction and communication are caused by the change of media. We talked about the problems and challenges of studying these new environments and discussed topics like processes of transfer and transformation, the formation of a new ritual proficiency and authority online and its differences, similarities and interdependencies with the offline realm.

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