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.
How could there not be a connection?
Thanks to the internet information is now easily and readily available. And as we all know information is the bane of religion.
Just my thought and purpose for the film.
I was always an atheist, but I would say the internet has made me aware of how many of us there are/the issues we face.
Generally, as 'knowlege' grows, I expect that atleast two paths could be taken, one of 'reduced' 'religious belief, and the other an 'increase'.
If culture and exploration is only defined via a 'religious/theist' world view, what is discovered need not validate the assertions or suppositions/expectations of that view. As the tension between results and ideology increase, that tension might cause either a break, or retrenchment. We might stop 'looking', or the population of explorers might deminish, with a greater and greater concentration of knowledge, but a less and less wide application.
At this point even the explorers will feel the absence of support and resources, further hampering their studies. This then becomes a culture of decline, where our focus becomes our beliefs, not the wider world around us. We might build churches, but not colleges, better and better bibles and commentaries, but distroy our libraries, start hanging our intellectuals, and raise our 'trolls/yes persons' to higher and higher levels of authority. We might demand tests for 'loyalty' to idelogy, and marginalize anyone that does not give the 'proper response'. Ignorance could be pursued, for its own sake, because having a 'deviant' view exposes you to a now corrupt state, and public ridicule. Sadly, as ignorance is pursued, death becomes even more common place because we have now tossed important knowlege onto the bonfire, a few of our own citizens are now acceptable fuel with the proper rationalization.
What would happen with a 'reduced' religious belief?
Our churches become centers of fellowship, to share our appreciation for the remaining mysteries and our compassion for each other. Our knowlege grows, we find that all humans are members of the same species, and deserve our kindness and respect. We are not able to define each other into finer and finer groups because we know that this creates marginalization and a systemic betrayal of our humanity. The universe could open up to us, and we discover a deep humility, knowing that we are only citizens occupying a small speck of dust in a vast universe out of which we emerged from deep time. That the universe, DOES NOT BELONG TO US, but we can use its substance as our creativity allows and our compassion restrains.
I do hope this is of some help...;p)
It certainly did.
Dan - have you seen this video?
I have now.
It was very useful.
The internet promotes vast amounts of information sharing -- but that information is not necessarily the truth.
I suspect that what the internet does is introduce people to CONSENSUS.
And what's the consensus on religion?
I think the consensus is the notion that "a higher power exists, but we don't know what it is". [This isn't MY belief -- I am a strong atheist.]
So I suspect that the internet has contributed to the decline of many specific religions, but been neutral to (or even promoted) what some call "spirituality"...
As a former psychologist I feel qualified to add something. Not to deny others, as I'm certain I will continue to learn from them, simply that I have studied this condition and feel that I may have more factually observed what is occurring.
I think anyone with a Facebook page is capable of concluding that the social Internet is dominated by the young. Additionally, the youth, although usually forced to buy into religion, are also looking for something that provides them with a sense of identification that is not a composite of what they have been "told" to do, but something that appears to embody a wide body of similarly rebellious youths. This is the usual breaking away we all seem to experience to some degree as we reach adolescence--and we rebel against authority in some way.
One of the central authority figures is our parents and the demands of enforced religion. Kids don't often enjoy being drug to church, however boys more so than girls. The internet provides the younger generation with a widened set of choices, but in America the religious choices generally boil down to two; the Christian religion, and no religion or atheism. In fact, a new term may be coined to replace atheism. It comes from the multitude of government forms that wish to appear politically correct. There the choices of religion include "none". So, as I have seen multiple times on the internet, the "nones" are growing, and there has been a slight move to replace the term atheism as "none".
I would support that as Christians can react violently to an atheist. They are far more accepting of "none". Thus as of today, I will officially become a NONE. I find that excitingly suitable as I want no part of the universal nonsense of religion and NONE carries me further distant. By the way, I am 73 and lost religion at about 10.
Consequently, and in part due to the anonymous nature of the internet, I suspect it has become popular for many to reject religion. As you might surmise, this is normal youth rebellion, assimilation into the different or culturally unacceptable (as a part of this rebellion) and the ability to anonymously interact with or at least view the myriad of atheist sites.
I would find it difficult to fathom that the Internet has NOT been highly instrumental in reducing religion. Whereas in the past atheists had to exercise caution in openly displaying their negative findings of any "religious proofs" now we can stomp about as we wish, and others are also realizing this new freedom.
Information contrary to religion has found it's marketplace, and the freedom of reality continues to grow.
How does the conversation go when you are with a group of religious people and they are going on about how thankful they are that god gives them the strength to face adversities so they are so please to have god in their life or spending time with people you love but they have to pray during every occasions. I am excited to have found Think Atheist because it give me a forum to discuss my mix feelings during the holidays.
I know that statics indicate that there are more "nones" than acknowledged atheist but could the reason be that they are afraid to take such a stance. I know how hard it has been for me for taking a such a stance in my 20's, now I am 75 and it hasn't got easier but as I said now that there is Think Atheist I don't feel alone.
Obviously, it's their belief in God that they feel gives them strength to face adversities. This doesn't prove God exists. It's kind of like how imaginary numbers allow one to do certain kinds of math, I suppose.
If it makes you feel better, it's not your job as an atheist to upset their apple cart. Your life is yours and theirs is theirs.