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As a media historian, Peter Burke and Asa Briggs discussed the social impacts of each media or new communicational systems on social values, institutions, and life. They’ve argued that changes in social communication systems – especially media- cause some significant changes in society as a whole. We can agree with them more when we observe the role of the Internet in our society. Like all aspects of social life, which has been changed after Internet innovation, religion – as a Social institution – has been affected by websites, social media, and virtual environments. It is an important question that what is the differences between religion – rituals, believes sacred places, etc. – when the internet didn’t exist yet, and religion after Internet innovation. this is important to observe the Internet as modern technology plus social agent. From this view, the Internet has its characteristics and technological features also it has modern values and points with itself. To answer this question, we need to compare fundamental features of the Internet – like virtual time, virtual location, digitalization, and network communication – with some basic features of religion – time, location, type of communication, etc. in this case study “real Islam” and “virtual Islam” and their fundamental distinctions between them are discussed. The “pluralism” and the contrast between “religious duty” and “spiritual experiences” maybe are the most important keywords which can describe some differences between real and virtual religion in one hand. On the other hand, the significant role of “real-time” and “reallocation” – the religious calendar, sacred places, etc. – in the religious rituals which are against some aspects of the technological features of the Internet, cause some basic changes in religion when emerging in the virtual version.

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Mohammadreza Rafighdoust (Iran) 8294
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