Archive for the ‘internet’ category

Internet usage forces changes to the new Danish Bible translation

May 25, 2011

A new Danish Bible version completed in 2007 has just been revised (as ‘The New Agreement’)  in response to Google search engine returns for a range of religious words. According to the Danish Bible Society, if you type ‘sin’ or ‘sinner’ (synd/synder) into the Danish version of Google you get a range of hits that refer to the environment, football, education. Hits that refer to orthodox Christian understandings fall some way down the rankings.

Research by the Bible Society shows that 56% of Danes turn to Google when they want to find something out about religion. This is an argument for Christian websites to pay more attention to optimising the search terms they use to ‘tag’ their pages. However, the Bible Society decided that they should be doing something proactive about the fact that most Danes are unable to decode religious language. According to news, ‘The assumption by the editorial committee is that modern Danes do not understand the religious codes behind such words as ‘mercy’ and ‘repentance’, and the new version helps them into the religious world with recognizable and meaningful words.’

A sinful person is now somebody ‘who does not live as God wants’ and ‘confession of sin’ becomes ‘telling somebody about everything you have done wrong.’

The New Agreement is available on Facebook and Twitter and features over 1,500 revisions made following internet research.

A recently published EU survey explores online language usage

May 12, 2011

Eurobarometer has published results which will be of interest to Christian individuals and organisations which make significant investments in online presence. The survey may also have broader application to all Christian Media organisations with an interest in Europe.

Across all 27 EU countries, 54% said they had gone online several times a day and 30% said it had been about once a day. 80% of Internet users said they had used the Internet on a daily basis in the four weeks prior to the survey

A slim majority (55%) of Internet users in the EU said that they used at least one language other than their own to read or watch content on the Web; from 50% in Hungary to 90%-93% in Greece, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus.

In Italy, the Czech Republic, Ireland and the UK, a majority of Internet users said that they only used their own language to read and watch content on the Internet (between 52% and 85%).

English was by far the most frequently used language, other than respondents’ own, when going online: 48% of Internet users in the EU mentioned using English for reading or watching content on the Internet and 29% said the same for writing on the Internet. Internet users, who used a language other than their own when going online, carried out several Internet activities in this language. For example, 81% of these respondents said they at least occasionally used another language when browsing to get information, or when reading or watching the news.

Although 9 in 10 Internet users in the EU said that, when given a choice of languages, they always visited a website in their own language, a slim majority (53%) would accept using an English version of a website if it was not available in their own language. Internet users in Cyprus and Malta were the most willing to use an English language website if this website was not available in their language (90% and 97%, respectively). Other countries with a high proportion of respondents willing to use an English language website were Slovenia (81%), Greece and Sweden (both 85%).

About 8 in 10 (81%) interviewees thought that all websites produced in their country should also have versions available in other languages. The proportion of respondents who agreed with this statement ranged from 50% in Finland to 96% in Greece.

Finally, more than 4 in 10 (44%) Internet users in the EU thought they missed interesting information because websites were not available in a language they understood.

Source: Flash Eurobarometer No 313: User language preferences online Available for free download at

Jedi Knights in the UK there are

August 10, 2010

Yes, it is still summer here in the UK. That’s the traditional time of the year to run items that might not appear as important at other times of the year. This time we feature one of the maps produced by the geogeeks over at Floating Sheep.

The UK census in 2001 asked a question about religious identity and there were just over 390,000 who indicated ‘Jedi Knight’ (making it the fourth largest reported ‘religion’ in the UK). The good folk over at Floating Sheep have geo-mapped internet references to Jedi Knights in the UK. They conclude that, ‘The greatest number of references to Jedi exist in and around the cities of Manchester, Nottingham and Birmingham rather than in the capital and largest city of London.’ The virtual location appears to bear no relation to actual census data (with the most Jedi Knights being resident in the city of Leeds (7,543). There are more Jedi Knights in the UK than in Australia (70,000), New Zealand (53,000), or Canada (with a mere 21,000).

The Floating Sheep authors wonder whether the lack of geographical overlap between virtual references and actual census data is due to an important force nexus located somewhere within these cities.

The mapping of the data by FloatingSheep is part of a wider and longer term attempt to map references to religion on the internet. The presentation of the data suggests possibilities for anybody trying to understand the task of mission and the nature of religion/spirituality in the digital domain.

Mission presence in Europe: real or imagined?

March 19, 2010

How much mission in Europe is now on-line? Jesus promised in Matt 28:19-20 that he would continue to be present in and through our mission. What does the mean when our mission in Europe is taking place in chat rooms, appearing on blogs, and expanding across social networking sites?

What can we learn from the Roman Catholic Church’s understanding of the ‘real presence’ of Christ – not necessarily in the bread and wine of communion, but in and through our missionary activity and initiatives. When mission was being talked about during the 70s and 80s as ‘Mission in the way of Christ’, the ongoing presence of Christ in the missionary endeavour was part of the picture.

So, if we are engaged in digital mission, in what way is Christ present in the digital virtual space? Can mission be both real and virtual? Can Christ be present both in a real and a virtual sense?

It seems to me that this is not just a theoretical point. If Christ can be present in the digital space then he can be ‘met’ there and presumably his transforming presence makes personal and social and transformation possible?

I wonder who is giving this kind of mission practice any missiologial attention. It is certainly true that in Europe an ever increasing number of Christians are using the internet for social networking purposes. Some of them are certainly attempting to enter it as digital missionaries. There have been some attempts to think about this theologically – why are more missiologists not giving this important and growing mission activity in Europe a little bit more attention?