Is the Internet dissolving belief in religion

April 12, 2013 | By | 5 Replies More

At Alternet, Valerie Tarico argues that the Internet is shriveling memberships in religions. She gives six reasons:

1. Radically cool science videos and articles.

2. Curated collections of ridiculous beliefs.

3. The kinky, exploitative, oppressive, opportunistic and violent sides of religion.

4. Supportive communities for people coming out of religion.

5. Lifestyles of the fine and faithless.

6. Interspiritual okayness.


Category: Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (5)

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  1. Ben says:

    The answer to “is science the new religion?” is obviously yes, so long as you redefine religion as “a self-correcting, evidence based system of exploring the universe which attempts to unearth the least wrong laws and theories that can explain what exists or might exist whilst accepting that room must always be left for doubt and further enquiry”. (via PZ)

  2. Dan Klarmann says:

    No. The internet has made it possible for all fringe ideas to be more visible. This includes rationalism; an unfortunately minority way of looking at ideas.

    But while the positivity of life without deities is more visible online, the forces of Counterknowledge run deep.

    The Discovery Institute has many web sites (none of which actually admit to being affiliated, but a quick whois search tells the tale) all purporting to provide “unbiased” information about science and life. They churn out web pages full of Christian Apology that Google Docs accept as scientific papers.

    Home schoolers of the Young Earth variety need never discover actual pro-science web sites, as the web of protective in-linking keeps them safe from any ideas about our place in the universe that arose more recently than Galileo’s incarceration.

    So there is a well funded and diligent effort to make sure that the theistic point of view remains the majority appearance on the web.

    So the recent up-tick in self-identifying irreligious folks is more like the rise of gays a couple of decades ago. We ignostic/agnostic/atheist types are becoming more visible. But probably not an actual growing demographic.

    Thus I deny that the cause of any actual rise in irreligiosity is caused by the internet.

  3. Dan Klarmann says:

    And just today, Pharyngula makes a related point while denouncing assorted posts about The Ice Age in the Bible. Even showing a published-for-home-schools wall chart showing the way the Ice Age (singular) fits into the Biblical timeline.

  4. grumpypilgrim says:

    Since the main draw of organized religion is the organization (e.g., fellowship in the congregation), perhaps the Internet, by providing many new types of communities, is reducing the stranglehold that religion has historically enjoyed. I can think of two ways this could make religion appear to be diminishing. One, it provides atheists and agnostics with organizations to belong to and blogs to post to and, thus, to be more visible than in the past. Two, it provides opportunities for non-believers who desire social interaction, but who previously had few options other than religious ones, to reject religion in favor of non-religious choices.

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