This study argues that the communities of Darkwood Brew, Buddhist Geeks, and St. Pixels—falling within the field digital religion—express a form of “coffee shop spirituality” that allows participants to experience their religious lives in new ways and become part of an active community for the purpose of finding spiritual fulfillment. Additionally, these groups reflect a new relationship between the digital and the religious that is filling the “third space” in practitioner’s lives. To reach these conclusions, this study will first follow the scholarly development of this field. Next, it will look on the websites and into the services they provide to find the presence of epistemological strategies (appeals to tradition, appeals to rationality, and a focus on the experience itself) that these communities use to legitimize their claims to knowledge and authority. Lastly, it will take this analysis of each group and use the “coffee shop spirituality” lens to illuminate continuities with larger phenomenon in society. This independent study will be using data collected directly from the various community websites, and will not be conducting interviews or surveys.


Rapport, Jeremy


Religious Studies


Communication Technology and New Media | Other Religion | Religion | Social Media


digital religion, online religion, epistemology, third space

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Carl William D. Freeman