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.
Some negative social trends are also a factor, like employment pressures creating absent parents.
Studies show that one of the most positive factors in healthy child development is having a stay-at-home parent, or at least one who is both free when they are free and available on-call if any situation should arise. Kids can get into a lot less trouble if they are required to go straight home after school, are not allowed to hole up in their room behind a closed door, and have to do their homework out where the parent can see them doing it. The same experts discourage allowing kids to have a personal computer in their room.
I think restrictions on cell phones are an obvious corollary.
I have found the idea that " People don't know what they like, they like what they know " To ring true in so many cases. Yes with facebook taking interest for young people they may avoid religion by popular demand and easy access. But the republican party is now so religious that I can not listen to any of them any more. As a libertarian I used to vote republican as a lesser of the two evils. As small government and take personal responsibility being the message they pushed for the most. Now they are just a bunch of religious fruitcakes. They never used to push for the mixing of religion and politics as they have in the last 10 years or so. They have definitely become more religious to the point that I can't see any atheist tolerating them. In fact I don't remember religious people being so demanding since before the 1950's. (maybe I am just getting grumpy in my old age)
Im gonna share a liitle story here.
When I was 10 years old or so, I found myself thinking 'But, wait, there's literally no other proof of the existence of God than the Bible! And the bible should've been written by a person so you can't really know whether the things written there are true or not!'
Since I was raised on a very catholic family, this was pretty much of a shock for me. I felt that questioning the very existence of God was just like questioning everything my parents had ever taught me, and I knew that would dissapoint them to no end. I felt horrible with myself.
To make things worse, up to that point, I had never met any non-religious people (or if I did, they never told me about their way of thinking), which led me to the conclusion that literally no one else ever questioned the existence of God and there should be something wrong with me if I did.
I was firmly convinced of that until I got my first computer when I was 13 years old and found out thanks to the internet that my way of thinking was called agnosticism and, in fact, it wasnt at all as weird as I thought it to be, which led me to finally come to terms with myself and start identyfing as agnostic.
Long story short, I do think there's a connection between both, since the internet makes it a lot easier for non-religious people to discuss their beliefs and expand them while they're at it.
You really can create 'questions' and 'ideas' on your own. It does not take a real brainiac to get to the frame breaking 'good ones'.
I had read some Plato by the time I left HS. Socrates does a rather good job of questioning the existence of the the gods supported by the Athenian state, but also suggests that mono-theism would make more sence. This now, in hindsight sounds very much like the atheist one liner about 'believing in one less'.
I also indulged in a long period of reading B. Russell and A.Whitehead. Russell introduced me to 'proof', and Whitehead with the idea of 'self sealing systems'. Both, I expect, help me on the path towards thinking in terms of 'logic systems/models' as a way to look at beliefs and conventions.
Godel is also helpful with his ideas concerning model 'incompleteness'
This style of thought can cause one to excape the common confines of culture, since when you question the 'game/model' people are using it can become very hard to come back into the fold. The 'logic' people are using starts to look small minded, safe, and self-serving, but also confining. So many ideas and questions are never visited because they mean that you have found the 'seams', or 'incompleteness'. A little like finding a very soft spot in the sand around the limits of the belief.
One could also consider these 'limits' as points of instabilty or complexity where a model or logic system has entered a new or uncertain state.
Theists, I think, know where these limits are, and stay away from them like the plague.
Atheists, by definition, explore these limits, but theists fight tooth & nail to stay away from their logic cliffs, for fear that they would encounter their 'devil' of doubt or a new certainty. Theists are addicted to a certainty that is not tested past their level of confort. Atheists, I think, have grown used to the discomfort, and now see it as blessing for the sake of freedom, if not honesty.
The connection seems rather obvious—and to be absolutely clear about it, I’m not a scientist or a historian, I just studied social sciences and history myself, so these would be my personal conclusions— religions serve (or rather served, as the function has been distorted since the beginning) as cognitive tools to explain the world on the basis of the current state of knowledge and to keep folks in check by giving them sets of rules to go by in very specific geo-socio-economic circumstances. It was rough, being a shepherd in the middle east 3,000 years ago, so they needed to have rough measures to make sure the tribes don't go extinct. It may have worked two or three thousand years ago, but the state of knowledge has improved significantly since then and we're not middle-east shepherds any longer; and access to knowledge, thanks to the internet as well, is, theoretically, global nowadays and if you can look up lightning bolts on Wikipedia, and the explanation is coherent and seems to make sense you’re less likely to buy the ‘gods-are-angry’ theories that are slightly more difficult to provide hard evidence for. There have been studies, which, unfortunately, I don't have links to at the moment, but you can, I'm sure, find them quite easily, showing that the higher the state of education within a nation the lower the percentage of those defining themselves as religious. It's a simple as that. I think the percentage of religious scientists tells it all.
I'd just like to thank everyone for their input as it has given a huge help to building the foundations of this film.
Another question I would like to propose is, how many kids do you think turn to the internet instead of their parents for answers about the world?
Sadly this is mostly a statistical question. There might be better platforms than TA.
I should of asked if anyone has any first hand accounts of such behaviour.
Please check out this new thread.
Personally, the internet was not the cause for me renouncing my faith. I came to that conclusion on my own. Being raised Catholic and pretty much being told what to believe by our school system in Ireland, in a way makes you see how corrupt religion really is. It just never made sense to me.
The internet just gave me a fantastic forum to voice my opinion against religion, on atheism and even my sexual orientation. I can understand why for some persons that the internet influenced them to think and question religion; and look at the alternatives (especially atheism).
As a side, please do keep us posted about this documentary, I would be very interested in seeing it.
I would just like to give this a signal boost as the doc is still going strong and we have started organising interviews, gathering equipment, hiring locations and all the other planning needed to bring this film to life.
The crew and I really could do with as much help as possible though as the project is fully independent, we don't have any prior contact with big name atheists, we are funding this our selves and all while trying to do other jobs.
So if there is anything anyone could do to help this project please contact me.
We also now have a information booklet. If you are interested I can e-mail a copy of to you.