I am currently researching for a new documentary that I will hopefully be making in the coming year. 

The film will be exploring the correlation between internet growth and religious decline. 

First of all do you agree there is a connection between the two and if not/so why? 

Secondly, how much do thou think the internet has influenced your relationship or lack there of with faith? 

I am going to reframe from sharing my own findings right away in order to get raw feed back on the subject matter. 

Further more if the subject matter highly interests any one I am looking for assistant researchers, so please get in touch.  

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An answer that some have mentioned is actually one of the more important aspects of the phenomena you are studying. The information, even if it is conflicting information, sits out there and is now available precisely at the time the curiosity is present in an individual. 

Since the information is not pushed to them, it carries a higher credibility in the average persons eyes.

If you had a sample of 100 young people, say 12-20 years old, some of them might have events in their lives that make them search for answers when they are 12, others might never have a question. But when that wild hair hits them, the answer is out there in a way never before experienced in human history. 

Just as with other things, indoctrination can work most, even 99 percent of the time. But all we need is one doubt to begin the process that changes someones life for the rest of their lives. 

Since religion relies on obfuscation, fact tends to trump it. So the math is in our favor. We have 

  1. Credible sources
  2. The questioner drives the process
  3. The information is patient 
  4. All it takes is one crack in the dam to bring it down

I suspect there is somewhat of a parallel between books and the Internet. Throughout history, or at least since the printing press, religion hated books, as evidenced by book burnings. Well, the Internet is like books on steroids.  It allows anyone with any desire to find evidence and reasoning that will disprove religion.

Come to think of it, Wikipedia is supposed to be the sum of all human knowledge, and within it, God is not found and It's existence is not proven. That's proof enough for me!

Good luck on the documentary, it sound like it will be great!

Certainly the Internet has played a major role. It has allowed one to privately find answers to questions that family, peers and church might not tolerate. Indeed, it is probably difficult to pursue any kind of religious question without being exposed to skeptical sites. That said, I believe that the simultaneous rise of powerful right-wing religious groups and 9/11 terrorism in the U.S. has been a major turn-off to those millions who normally float along with little resistance to religion, and especially to the youth who arrive at the questioning ages watching religious strife all around the world. I made it the age of 23 (in 1970) without being aware that anyone had ever criticized the Christian Bible (!).

I'm a Boomer, and I grew up in a world in which churches were detached from politics, and one called a fundamentalist followed the teachings of Jesus that reflected peace, tolerance and sacrifice for others.

Michio Kaku offers a few thoughts on the contribution of the Internet to a planetary trend "toward a multicultural, scientific, tolerant society" versus those (terrorists) who are fighting for theocracy and monoculturalism, and who eschew tolerance, science, and multiculturalism. I think this is an important point, in that the Internet (moreso than any other means) is responsible for spreading ideas across international borders with incredible speed.

Consider the implications from the perspective of those trying to control access to information and ideas in a type-one civilization. A hundred years ago, all one needed was control of newspapers, printing presses, and libraries. Books could be banned. Roads could be closed. Writers and critics could be shot or jailed. No more. The Internet has no borders and cannot be fully controlled without effectively shutting down all of it in an entire region, and even then, there are ways around it.

Countries (such as China and Egypt) have attempted to filter or stop the Internet with varying degrees of success, and the US is spying on it to an incredible degree. Yet even these factors will be increasingly mitigated as time goes on. Unregulated mesh networks are getting larger, cheaper, easier to implement, and far more powerful. Onion routing makes tracking difficult or impossible, even for the NSA.

Ultimately, anything short of a complete ban on computers and wireless equipment (enforced by constant radio frequency scanning and country-wide house-to-house searches) will be ineffective at preventing people from having unfiltered access to the Internet. If they want it, eventually they'll be able to get it, except under the most extreme totalitarian conditions (such as in North Korea). The end result is that people interested in atheism or any other idea will be able to connect with other, like-minded people, and find out whatever they wish to know. The Internet by its international nature favors science, education and multiculturalism, and disfavors theocracy, ignorance and monoculturalism.

 


"The danger is the transition between type zero and type one and that’s where we are today.  We are a type zero civilization.  We get our energy from dead plants, oil and coal. But if you get a calculator you can calculate when we will attain type one status.  The answer is: in about 100 years we will become planetary.  We’ll be able to harness all the energy output of the planet earth.  We’ll play with the weather, earthquakes, volcanoes.  Anything planetary we will play with.

"The danger period is now, because we still have the savagery.  We still have all the passions.  We have all the sectarian, fundamentalist ideas circulating around, but we also have nuclear weapons.  We have chemical, biological weapons capable of wiping out life on earth. So I see two trends in the world today.  The first trend is toward a multicultural, scientific, tolerant society and everywhere I go I see aspects of that birth.

"For example, what is the Internet?  Many people have written about the Internet.  Billions and billions of words written about the Internet, but to me as a physicist the Internet is the beginning of a type one telephone system, a planetary telephone system. So we’re privileged to be alive to witness the birth of type one technology, a planetary telephone system.  What is English?  English is the beginning of a type one language.  Everywhere I go around the Earth, people speak English because that is the lingua franca of science, technology, business.  They all speak English.  It is the number one second language on the planet Earth.  And what is the European Union?  The European Union is the beginning of a type one economy.  And how come these European countries, which have slaughtered each other ever since the ice melted 10,000 years ago, how come they have banded together, put aside their differences to create the European Union?  Well to compete with us and who are we?  We are NAFTA, so we’re beginning to see the beginning of a type one economy as well."

Google killed the god of those with internet access. 

Found this while stumbling atheist stuff:

http://www.thechurchofgoogle.org/arguments.html

Speaking of google, they call it "Googlism" they have interesting views on the dismissal of religion.

So google is trying to compare themselves to "God"? I just hope they don't get too serious on that.

Theological discussion aside, it was Marshall McLuhan who, back in the 1960's, with his books Gutenberg Galaxy and Understanding Media talked about electronic media creating what he called "a global village," obliterating political and cultural borders by putting everyone everywhere in touch with the same information.

I haven't read every post. Am I the first to mention him?

You are the first.  Very interesting!

I don't think a documentary on this subject would be complete without an acknowledgement of what the Internet does to support religion.  There are ways in which global connectedness can isolate people and allow them to find small groups of like-minded, narrow-minded friends to support their wacky beliefs.

Just this morning I noticed my sister joined a group on Facebook called "The Raptured." This group is a treasure trove of fear and loathing, with a misinformation density thicker than anything I've ever witnessed before, and I manage online communities for a living!  I've never seen Facebook remove images for copyright violation until now, this group has numerous posts with images removed for this reason.  I guess these people don't believe they are subject to man's laws.  There's actually a report of a UFO sighting in the first page of posts!

My Grandma uses the internet to connect with church friends. Their FWDing network was so toxic, I had to opt out. She watches FOX (yet voted for Obama) and aparently emails the internet equivalent of FOX. 

My uncle is a member of a fundamentalist church AND a computer programmer. 

I think the internet is mostly what you make of it.

I don't think 'Google killed God', but I think it wounded it... and badly. In my personal experience I think the internet was crucial.
It all began with a philosophy course in high school, internet helped to do homework and find more information that would interest me. Then, I saw the documentary 'Religiolous' on the internet for free (piracy haha). At this point of my life I was agnostic, then I began to follow atheists on Twitter, they would link, articles, Youtube videos, and books. Besides they would give their own ideas and opinions. Twitter introduced Dawkins, Dennet, Hitchens, Harris, Krauss, etc. So, for me 'Google killed God'.

At this point of my life I was an atheist, but way too optimistic and naive. I thought that the reason there were religous people was because they hadn't been presented with the information required to be an atheist or to think by yourself. The last sentence is kind of true, some people really don't think about and when you ask them hard questions and present them with new information they would make their mind. I was like that, but these people aren't religous anyway (even though they might identify with a religion). My parents are an example for that, they are hard christians. When I became an atheist it was like a revelation for me, so I told everything to my parents: I explained to detail the process of evolution and addressed their misconceptions, asked them hard questions that they never answered, tell them the arguments/information, etc. And, as you may imagine, they never became atheist and somewhat made the new information go away, conform it to their beliefs, or interpret it in a way that enforced their beliefs.

So, my conclusion is that new information/evidence doesn't mean new way to see reality. There is a lot of psychology literature in the subject. They have found out that the things we do/think/believe make sense to us (no matter how ridiculous may be), we have a self-serving bias (we just look to information that enforce our view), and some may even argue that change in beliefs is almost impossible.


Good look with your documentary! Send me information for the Research Assistant position. I am at @ismaelquinones on Twitter.

It is education that removes superstitious beliefs. For centuries access to education was tightly controlled by religious organisations. Many of those organisations will claim that they helped to bring schooling to the masses. Some credit is due to them for doing that. However all teaching was done with religious underpinnings. It was done for the glory of god and not just the education of the individual. At higher level many Universities were just as sectarian and only the rich and powerful had access to knowledge. It was in their interests to keep it strictly controlled. Google is the conduit that allows us access to information and knowledge which in turn educates people and removes superstition. Google levels the playing pitch.

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