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Thread: Is the internet killing religion?

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    Default Is the internet killing religion?

    Why has religious affiliation declined? A pretty common view I have seen is that the internet has exposed a lot of people to arguments against religion, and therefore resulted in a decline of it. See for example this article: Why Did America Lose Its Religion? Thank the Internet.

    What is your opinion on this? Is the internet killing religion? Or at least severely crippling it? Or is there something else?

  2. #2
    Protector Domesticus
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Every human being is religious.
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    conon394's Avatar hoi polloi
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calypze View Post
    Why has religious affiliation declined? A pretty common view I have seen is that the internet has exposed a lot of people to arguments against religion, and therefore resulted in a decline of it. See for example this article: Why Did America Lose Its Religion? Thank the Internet.

    What is your opinion on this? Is the internet killing religion? Or at least severely crippling it? Or is there something else?
    So religion can't survive the Socratic treatment?
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB Dromikaites

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    But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place; some swearing, some crying for surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left.

    Hyperides of Athens: We know, replied he, that Antipater is good, but we (the Demos of Athens) have no need of a master at present, even a good one.

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    conon394's Avatar hoi polloi
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    Every human being is religious.
    An absolute you cannot prove. But how they interact with their faith if thay have it is often profoundly different past or present.
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB Dromikaites

    'One day when I fly with my hands - up down the sky, like a bird'

    But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place; some swearing, some crying for surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left.

    Hyperides of Athens: We know, replied he, that Antipater is good, but we (the Demos of Athens) have no need of a master at present, even a good one.

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    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Prodromos,

    Paul tells us in Romans that every person has inside them a knowledge of God so that they have no excuse for disobeying or disbelieving Him. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe when you talk of religion you have the Christian faith at the centre of your question knowing that all others are false. The biggest danger to it is false preachers preaching false gospels the largest of these being the sprinkling of babies and or persons and then telling them they are now Christian. The internet has little or no influence there but where it does have an influence it does give the Gospel of Jesus Christ the chance to be heard across the globe. The downside to that of course is that the opposition have the same opportunity to debunk it. Will it stop God calling out a people for Himself? No, because nothing can do what God determines so our duty is to keep telling of the Word wherever and whenever we can.

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    MaximiIian's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Christianity is in decline, religion is not. The proportion of atheists and agnostics has somewhat plateaued in the past few years. What's happened is more that religion has diversified.
    The "why" is complex. The internet, and the ready access to vast amounts of information on alternatives to Christianity, has certainly played a part. But I'd say that Christianity's history of abuses, Christian hypocrisy, and the role of the Christian far-right in our current state of affairs, has done at least as much to drive people away from it.

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    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Religiosity has been in a steady decline since several centuries and includes pretty much all major religions, like Christianity and Islam. This trend is reflected not only on the growing percentages of atheism, but also on the increasingly superficial relationship of believers with both religion and ecclesiastical institutions. The only exceptions are new, relatively marginal spiritual movements, which usually focus more on an imaginary return to the idealised past of neo-paganism than on any traditional concepts of religious piety. Their appeal is tiny, however, and generally stems from modern popular culture and trendy costumes, while, in the majority of cases, it is more relevant to nationalism and tribalism than religiosity. As for the reasons for the diminishing influence of religion, Internet may have played a small role, but its contribution to the phenomenon is neither very important not completely one-sided.

    The principal factors for the decline of religion is industrialisation and its various consequences upon society, like secularism, scientific progress, state education and urbanisation. For instance, thanks to the dramatic improvements in literacy, as well as the fact that schools are now controlled by public servants, instead of the clergy, people now endorse a much more skeptical stance towards supernatural religious interpretations, especially regarding its most fundamentalist versions. Moreover, secular legislation and the strengthening of secular institutions, like the state or private companies, at the expense of the Church, in every domain of everyday life, like administration or commerce, has also affected religiosity in a negative manner. Finally, our continuously improving understanding of natural laws and the universe means that the God of the Gaps has even less room to cover. The controversial debate on evolution perfectly illustrates this point: Darwin's brilliant breakthrough not only contradicted the Creation story of the Bible, but, much more significantly, also neutralised the most convincing argument in favour of theism, namely the Intelligent Design fallacy.

    Of course, the trend towards diminishing religiosity may be temporarily reversed by certain factors, such as demographic changes, impoverishment and even well-funded propaganda (Saudi Arabia's international Salafist campaign comes to mind), but I personally doubt about how solid their influence will be in the long term. They may lead religiosity to a temporary recover, but you simply can't fight against the global social and economic changes, even Riyadh and the Vatican spam respectively magnificent mosques and basilicas all over the world.

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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    Paul tells us in Romans that every person has inside them a knowledge of God
    Paul was wrong.
    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, but wiser people are full of doubts.
    -Betrand Russell

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    MaximiIian's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    The only exceptions are new, relatively marginal spiritual movements, which usually focus more on an imaginary return to the idealised past of neo-paganism
    Neopaganism is small, but I don't think we can describe it as marginal; that ship sailed years ago. It's grown steadily since the last major boom in the early aughts. There's more Pagans than Presbyterians, today. And it has exercised a widespread influence; as I said, a more vague and personalized spirituality has become considerably more popular, and much of that has leveraged its way into the popular consciousness because Modern Paganism kept that torch burning after the Occult revival of the early 20th century petered out.

    in the majority of cases, it is more relevant to nationalism and tribalism than religiosity.
    While this can go to problematic extremes at times, this isn't exactly new for religiosity. Aside from atypical outliers like Christianity and Islam, nearly all religions throughout history have been ethnic religions.

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    alhoon's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Please remember the topic of the thread, which is whether internet negatively affects the spread of religion.
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    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Look at it this way. If it weren't for the internet we wouldn't be having this conversation or the insight as to how people all across the globe feel about it. In a simple way it has become for many a religion in itself depending on how one views religion. So, in an inverted way it is doing the opposite to the question posed.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Depends on one's definition of religiosity.
    Abrahamic religions are dying, if not demographically then intellectually. Having said that, this can also be applied to modern-day materialism, which is also de-facto a form of religiosity and is also suffering an intellectual decline.
    As for the spirituality - it will always live on, much like national/ethnic/tribal identity it is simply part of human nature. Esoteric ideas and movements, which seem to sprout despite the intellectual swamp of abrahamic/materialist dogmatism, seem to be the way of the future.

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    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Heathen Hammer,

    Jesus said that one must worship God in Spirit and Truth, Him being the way so you saying that it's part of human nature is right on the button.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaximiIian View Post
    Neopaganism is small, but I don't think we can describe it as marginal; that ship sailed years ago. It's grown steadily since the last major boom in the early aughts. There's more Pagans than Presbyterians, today.
    Really? Seems of a bit of an exaggeration. There is are about 1.5 million Presbyterians of the Presbyterian Church of the USA, and some addition Presbyterians of other versions. Only around 1 million Wiccans in the US last I saw. But the numbers are comparable.



    And it has exercised a widespread influence; as I said, a more vague and personalized spirituality has become considerably more popular, and much of that has leveraged its way into the popular consciousness because Modern Paganism kept that torch burning after the Occult revival of the early 20th century petered out.
    Paganism still has far fewer followers and far less influence today, although I can agree it is no longet completely insignificant. What it does show that rejection of traditional religion isn't always based on rational, logical thought, since paganism is no more rational or scientific than the religions it has replaced, less so. Many major universities were founded by traditional religions (mostly Christianity), modern paganism none.

    But I agree that religion and spirtuality has become more persnal, less associated with any organized religion. Even Wiccans are not really orgsnized the way traditional Christian churces were.

    While this can go to problematic extremes at times, this isn't exactly new for religiosity. Aside from atypical outliers like Christianity and Islam, nearly all religions throughout history have been ethnic religions.
    Buddhist are sometimes not ethnic, at least in the past. Early Buudhism innmany ways was similar to early Christianity in my view. I would say both religions occuppied the same socialogicL niche in their respective socieities.


    I would like to point out mainstream religions have been declining in the West for years, long before the internet. Even in the US, mainstream churches like the Presbyterians have been in decline, and the decline is far greater in Europe. The internet may have hastened such decline, but it didn't start. What growth in churches that has been seen was in less mainstream, groups, both of right and even of left. While some may have switched to othet religions such as paganism, I tend to find more indifference to religion, more lime a person who gives up a belief in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

    Most don't even care enough to commit themselves to atheism, just a shrug. They really only seem to care if religion if it pushes values they find bigoted or discriminatory, like against LBGT rights.
    .
    Last edited by Common Soldier; January 28, 2020 at 09:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Wiccans and pagans in general are not synonymous.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gromovnik View Post
    Wiccans and pagans in general are not synonymous.
    Wiccan's are the largest pagan group in the US. While there are other pagans who are not Wiccans, they are not as numerous as Wiccans as far as I can tell.

    While I have seen figures for the number of Wiccans, I haven't seen any numbers for other pagan groups.

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    MaximiIian's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    Really? Seems of a bit of an exaggeration. There is are about 1.5 million Presbyterians of the Presbyterian Church of the USA, and some addition Presbyterians of other versions. Only around 1 million Wiccans in the US last I saw.
    1. Wicca is probably the largest single religion in the Pagan umbrella, yes. There are other Pagan religions, i.e. Neodruidry, Hellenismos, Asatru and Heathenry, various kinds of reconstructionist polytheism, and Goddess Spirituality. On top of that, there's a decent section of people, probably at least as big as Wicca itself, who are non-specific, eclectic neopagans that don't neatly fall into one sect or religion, but identify as Pagan nonetheless. It gets even wider if we include adherents of New Age thought, or of the Western Occult tradition, which has always been at least adjacent to the Pagan revival movement, even if its adherents don't self-identify as Pagan.
    Ten years ago, I'd have pegged Wicca as being around 1/3 of all Pagans. But that proportion has likely given way to both reconstructionists, and non-sectarian neopagans.

    2. A fair amount of the most thorough, recent polling was from ten to twelve years ago, so it may no longer reflect actual numbers. Considering the growth patterns we've seen in the past (going from 200,000 in 1999 to 1 million in 2008), it's likely that those numbers have at least doubled. We may know more after the next US census is completed and analyzed.

    What it does show that rejection of traditional religion isn't always based on rational, logical thought, since paganism is no more rational or scientific than the religions it has replaced, less so.
    IIt's neither more nor less rational, in the sense that it deals with spirituality and theology.
    I would say that Paganism does lend more to rational thought than Christianity in practice, though, because Paganism does not emphasize unity of belief, and so encourages free thinking. The popularity of environmentalism tends to encourage also an understanding and interaction with the natural world, and consequently of the natural sciences.

    Many major universities were founded by traditional religions (mostly Christianity), modern paganism none.
    That's due to institutional differences, don't be ignorant. Paganism is still a small, decentralized movement of several religions. It lacks anything close to the institutional organization and financial power to do that. That's slowly changing as more Pagan religions found educational institutes (mostly online) and build physical, public places of worship.

    Even Wiccans are not really orgsnized the way traditional Christian churces were.
    Never really have been; Wicca is deliberateyl decentralized. But there's a big difference in goals. Wicca never sought to become the largest part of a widespread movement; it sought only to revive a mystery religion of folk magic and fertility. It just happened to strike a chord at the right time with enough people.
    Christianity, from the outset, sought to replace all existing religions with its own faith system.

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    basics's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Maximilian,

    No, Christianity sought to save a people for God. In other words all that the Father gave Jesus will be His despite the false religion that has been built around it. Hence we get the sheep and goats all in the same pen, or the wheat and tares in the same fields. The call to go out into all the world and preach the Gospel was plainly to activate the work of the Father in drawing certain elect to Jesus that they might be born again. The names of all those people were put into the book of life before the worlds were made and will only be opened in the new heaven and earth by the Lord Jesus Christ. The internet is but another tool in bringing that about especially in places where preaching Christ is banned.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaximiIian View Post
    1


    IIt's neither more nor less rational, in the sense that it deals with spirituality and theology.
    I would say that Paganism does lend more to rational thought than Christianity in practice, though, because Paganism does not emphasize unity of belief, and so encourages free thinking. The popularity of environmentalism tends to encourage also an understanding and interaction with the natural world, and consequently of the natural sciences.
    Actually, in practice paganism clearly leads to less rational thought in practice. It encourages unscientific beliefs such as astrology, reincarnation, pyramid power, and the like.

    Christianity spent a lot of effort in attempting to rationalize its theology, something paganism doesn't even try to do. Christian philosphers like Thomas Aquinas tried to logically construct the world in a logical, consistent whole, and regardless of whether they succeeded or not, they tried. Logic really doesn't enter into the believe of all the Gaia worldview, and the modern paganism doesn't try to construct a logically consistent thought structure.

    That's due to institutional differences, don't be ignorant. Paganism is still a small, decentralized movement of several religions. It lacks anything close to the institutional organization and financial power to do that. That's slowly changing as more Pagan religions found educational institutes (mostly online) and build physical, public places of worship.
    The very nature of paganism doesn't lead to creating and founding centers of learning the way Since it was the structural nature is one of the reasons that many adopted paganism in the first place, it is unlikely they will ever be a force to found great centers of learning the way Christianity and other religions have (like Buddhism)

    Never really have been; Wicca is deliberateyl decentralized. But there's a big difference in goals. Wicca never sought to become the largest part of a widespread movement; it sought only to revive a mystery religion of folk magic and fertility. It just happened to strike a chord at the right time with enough people.
    Christianity, from the outset, sought to replace all existing religions with its own faith system.
    Yes, but what you describe isn't going to promote logical, rational thought nor is really conductive of forming major institutions of learning and research, which is my whole point.

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    conon394's Avatar hoi polloi
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    Default Re: Is the internet killing religion?

    The very nature of paganism doesn't lead to creating and founding centers of learning the way Since it was the structural nature is one of the reasons that many adopted paganism in the first place, it is unlikely they will ever be a force to found great centers of learning the way Christianity and other religions have (like Buddhism)
    Well Classical not christian paganism certainly did create centers of learning and consistent moral philosophy like stoicism for example and of course the neo- platonic thought and logic that aided the early church fathers to turn Christianity into something more than a messiah riff on a small people's religion.
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB Dromikaites

    'One day when I fly with my hands - up down the sky, like a bird'

    But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place; some swearing, some crying for surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left.

    Hyperides of Athens: We know, replied he, that Antipater is good, but we (the Demos of Athens) have no need of a master at present, even a good one.

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