When it comes to evangelical Christianity, the internet is both a refuge and a threat. It hosts Zoom prayer groups and pornographic videos, religious revolutions and silly cat videos. Platforms such as social media, podcasts, blogs, and digital Bibles all constitute new arenas for debate about social and religious boundaries, theological and ecclesial orthodoxy, and the internet's inherent danger and value.
In The Digital Evangelicals, Travis Warren Cooper locates evangelicalism as a media event rather than as a coherent religious tradition by focusing on the intertwined narratives of evangelical Christianity and emerging digital culture in the United States. He focuses on two dominant media traditions: media sincerity, immediate and direct interpersonal communication, and media promiscuity, communication with the primary goal of extending the Christian community regardless of physical distance. Cooper, whose work is informed by ethnographic fieldwork, traces these conflicting paradigms from the Protestant Reformation through the rise of the digital and argues that the tension is culminating in a crisis of evangelical authority. What counts as authentic interaction? Who has authority over the circulation of information?
While many studies claim that technology influences religion, The Digital Evangelicals reveals how Protestant metaphors and discourses shaped the emergence of the internet and explores what this relationship with global new media means for evangelicalism.