The Internet and Christianity in Asia: Cultural Trends, Structures and Transformations


The internet has not as yet transformed the majority of Asian nations into open, liberal and democratic societies. Although it has had a significant impact, particularly on business, advertising expenditures, gaming, ICQs and other such aspects of consumption and entertainment, and in some parts of Asia (particularly in well‐networked nations like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and others), its development and impact have been uneven, predictably tending to follow the existing patterns of socio‐economic development. One area which has not received much scholarly attention is the internet and religion, which is significant in that structural characteristics and trends appear to be privileging the phenomenon of global Christianity, at the cost of the traditional religions such as Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism which have dominated Asian societies. The tendency for internet and evangelical Christian cultures to converge in a number of key Asian nations (and predictably, for both to be absent in other nations at the opposite end of the techno‐cultural spectrum) results in an alternative mapping and conceptualization of Asia in which communicatively and culturally ‘open’ societies are contrasted with ‘closed’ ones, a distinction which is the more pronounced because it is corroborated by several cultural parameters (the history of the nation’s interaction with foreign powers in the age of European imperialism, economic development, communications policies and infrastructures, ethnicity, religious tolerance, and so on). This mapping re‐writes many received groupings and associations of Asian nations in terms of ethnicity, religion and political affiliations.