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How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the randi-does-miracles dept.

The Internet 1037

pitchpipe (708843) points out a study highlighted by MIT's Technology Review, which makes the bold claim that "Using the Internet can destroy your faith. That's the conclusion of a study showing that the dramatic drop in religious affiliation in the U.S. since 1990 is closely mirrored by the increase in Internet use," and writes "I attribute my becoming an atheist to the internet, so what the study is saying supports my anecdote. If I hadn't been exposed to all of the different arguments about religion, etc., via the internet I would probably just be another person who identifies as religious but doesn't attend services. What do you think? Have you become more religious, less religious, or about the same since being on the internet? What if you've always had it?"

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Knowledge (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674729)

The Antichrist

Re:Knowledge (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 8 months ago | (#46674947)

The fruit of knowledge. There was a reason the bible described things as it did. Knowledge isn't just the anti-christ, it's the anti-god.

Re:Knowledge (4, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | about 8 months ago | (#46675013)

great now the christians are going to call the internet the tree of knowledge and get it declared forbidden in their quest for religious zealotry.

Re:Knowledge (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675125)

If education can destroy your faith it's not God you're praying to, it's ignorance.

unfiltered information will make people THINK! (4, Insightful)

darkeye (199616) | about 8 months ago | (#46674739)

access to unfiltered information will make people THINK!

who would have thought? :)

Re:unfiltered information will make people THINK! (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#46674793)

I think it's not so much access to unfiltered information as it is access to non-religious people. We have seen that people tend to seek out information that confirms their existing beliefs online, but what they can't control is how other people in forums and games behave.

Most regions rely on making themselves a big part of a person's life from an early age. Everyone in the community goes to the same church, attends religious social events and is friends with other believers. Then they get on the internet and are exposed to people with other cultures and ideas who don't make the same assumptions they do, and it makes them realize that there is another way of thinking.

The same thing happens with people who have never been abroad or outside of their home county/state. It happened to me when I first started visiting Japan and realized that there is a completely different way to look at the world.

Re:unfiltered information will make people THINK! (5, Funny)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 8 months ago | (#46675019)

Maybe this is just a clever ruse to trick fundamentalists into avoiding the internet, to reduce the troll count.

Re:unfiltered information will make people THINK! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675079)

Most regions rely on making themselves a big part of a person's life from an early age. Everyone in the community goes to the same church, attends religious social events and is friends with other believers.

Exactly so. The Tech Review summary doesn't mention, but it's in the original reference. The single greatest influence over a person's continuing religion is habit - having been raised in a religion (ie, going to church, not being a cult member) - accounting for almost 90% of adult practice. The real article also attributes more than 50% of the 'loss of religion' to generational turnover - ie, being a child of the 60s. Internet use (probably because it's prevalent among both religious and non-religious people) is a pretty weak influence.

It would be just as easy to argue that the insular nature of internet 'communities' results in religious people effectively isolated in their own little echo chambers, reinforcing religion in exactly the same way as a prairie community.

Re:unfiltered information will make people THINK! (4, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about 8 months ago | (#46675093)

what you described as was exactly access to being exposured to unfiltered information.

there was an ad over a decade ago from on ISP on finnish television where an elderly woman eagarly described to the postman that she had been to south pole last night and tonight she was going to go to the moon. internet enables virtual travel as far as interaction with people goes, unfiltered information from almost anywhere on the world on a whim.

Re:unfiltered information will make people THINK! (5, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | about 8 months ago | (#46674805)

I think there's more to it than just being exposed to skepticism from existing atheists/agnostics too. You get much more exposure to people who are from different cultures and religions that you might in your own little neighbourhood, both knowingly and unknowingly, and when that penny drops, that's when the thinking part kicks in. Generally you are going to you realise that, hey, they are not that unlike us and we actually share many of the same views on life - most religions teach the same core principles wrapped up in some slightly different stories, after all. It's fairly well understood that major cities with cosmopolitan populations tend to be more open minded and their populations tend to have a less religious view than those from more rural communities, so I suspect this is just the same principle manifesting itself on a much grander scale.

Re:unfiltered information will make people THINK! (5, Interesting)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 8 months ago | (#46674983)

I concur. For me, religion died the moment someone told me there were several of them. I briefly asked around about them (there was no internet then) and they all seemed contradictory and presented equal proof to their claims (none at all), so I chose none. In my case, though, it was the internet that brought back my faith, when I found a good book in which all answers are contained. It is called tvtropes and it is my god.

Re:unfiltered information will make people THINK! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675035)

You're going to hell for sending me to TV tropes on a wiki journey through religions.

The Internet: Where Religions Come To Die (4, Insightful)

brambus (3457531) | about 8 months ago | (#46674745)

Great video by a Youtuber on exactly this topic: The Internet: Where Religions Come To Die [youtube.com] . Religions simply can't survive on the open marketplace of ideas. Religions work by indoctrination, shaming and isolating subjects to get them to believe absurd shit and then try to shield them from outside influences to make sure they don't find out. On the Internet, this ploy simply doesn't work.

Re:The Internet: Where Religions Come To Die (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674815)

BS. Most people still believe in higher powers, even in this day and age.

I decided there was nothing to religion when I was 5 or 6 years old. Way before the internet.

Yes there is a small percentage of believers who have the potential to listen to the arguments and make some obvious conclusions. But most people simply have a very strong tendency to believe what they want to believe.

Re:The Internet: Where Religions Come To Die (4, Interesting)

SinaSa (709393) | about 8 months ago | (#46674979)

and yet, the old superstitions have been replaced by new ones.
Those who believe in chemtrails, reptilians and illuminati or a different set which might believe in chakras, tarot and energy healing all happily believe whatever is posted on naturalnews or globalresearchca.
Observation would suggest that "this ploy" is still just as effective on the internet.

Re:The Internet: Where Religions Come To Die (2)

peragrin (659227) | about 8 months ago | (#46675021)

yes and no. the internet exposes more ideas to more people. remember it is relatively easy to post a youtube video that gets seen by a million people. at least 1% of 1% of that group will be complete and utter morons about it and very vocal at the same time.

Re:The Internet: Where Religions Come To Die (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46675135)

ofc the religions will survive.
However on a lower level, either of importance and/or in number of followers.
All this has nothing to do with the internet anyway, it is more a coincident.
I left my 'parents imposed' religion (who actually both arent believers, but where members of the church) when I had the legal age to do so, that is 14 in germany. That saved me 2 hours per week in 'religious classes' in school.

Perhaps I should not have read the Edda when I was 10, or those many Karl May books, lol (the main character in Karl Mays storries was a hard core christian who always was portrayed in a way that let other religions look lame ... as a kid I found that simply unfair).

Correlation is not causation. (4, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about 8 months ago | (#46674747)

This has been going on in most Western countries since before the internet, mainly in the 60s and 70s. America is just late to the game.

Re:Correlation is not causation. (4, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about 8 months ago | (#46674763)

This has been going on in most Western countries since before the internet, mainly in the 60s and 70s. America is just late to the game.

The graphs on this page [fullfact.org] illustrate this.

Re:Correlation is not causation. (4, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | about 8 months ago | (#46674847)

The graphs certainly back up the idea that the best way to raise an atheist is to send the child to a Church of England school (in my case I was an atheist by the age of nine), but I suspect that the increasingly secularisation in UK education has something to do with that as well. When the only primary school in a small rural town is a church school (usually that would be C of E, but sometimes Catholic) and you have a typical rural UK demographic representing both major christian denominations plus a scattering of other faiths that school tends to get coerced into providing a more agnostic education if it wants financial support from the local government.

Re:Correlation is not causation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675075)

I'll tune your argument slightly to say "the best way to raise an athiest is to send the child to a church school." I was born and raised Anglican, our local community had an Anglican church, yet I parted ways with religion when I was sent to a Catholic School.

Re:Correlation is not causation. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675097)

What's more interesting is the graph further down "How often do you attend services," which is essentially unchanged 1990-2010. More than 50% of people report never attending services, and a further 15% being just "Christmas and Easter" people. So, it seems to me that what has happened over the past 20 years is not that people are losing their religion, but that people feel more free to admit that they never had one.

Re:Correlation is not causation. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674965)

This has been going on in most Western countries since before the internet, mainly in the 60s and 70s. America is just late to the game.

The graphs on this page [fullfact.org] illustrate this.

Or maybe Americans just had more faith? After being torn apart in two world wars, Europe's faith in god's purpose was worn pretty thin by the 1950s.

Re:Correlation is not causation. (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 8 months ago | (#46674821)

Yes but correlation does not discount causation either. Furthermore causation with one element does not discount causation with another.

The fall of religion is in-line with the rise of free thinking people seeking out knowledge post depression. The internet is one of the greatest sources of a wide variety of different views, and information, speculation, and out right lies from all sources. With out it religion may still decline, but I'd wager not as quickly.

Re:Correlation is not causation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675113)

No, this has been going on since the invention of the printing press. What happens now is it accellerates even more, even faster, beyond all limits and into parts of society that had no special interest in "explicitly thinking about how our world works", we touch it every moment we come in contact with other cultures.

Internet as Education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674759)

It is known that education will bring you towards being an atheist, why is that? Because you are recognizing that the churches of any religions have some political drive as well as a control-aspect. In addition, religions have always been a last resort for hope and that thinking that hope helps you to get a job or buy a house is clearly an illusion if you educate yourself on the internet.

Let the games begin (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674765)

So probably the biggest time-waster in human history is being supplanted by a new biggest time-waster ...

Re:Let the games begin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674919)

The replacement hasn't had millions of people killed in it's name. At least not yet...

Re:Let the games begin (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674969)

The replacement hasn't had millions of people killed in it's name. At least not yet...

I'll throw my hat into the ring.

Urge your senators to grant me Imperium and the position of Dictator of the Internet for a period of four years, and I will put every last spammer to the sword upon the sands of the iColosseum. Live streaming available.

More various (5, Interesting)

AndyCanfield (700565) | about 8 months ago | (#46674767)

I have definitely become even more religious, but my variety has increased. Thanks to the Internet I am exposed to more faiths, and can see the merit in each one. For your information, I attend a Mormon church - as a non-member - when I'm near one, but am sympathetic to Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. Each has truths to share with you; none should be a box for you to hide in. Remember what King Monkut of Thailand said to the Christian missionaries: "What you teach us to do is good; what you teach us to believe is silly."

Re:More various (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674903)

Except no, they don't. At most, religions have a few reasonable ideas to do with morality, but they are also filled with almost as many terrible ideas on what morality is, so you still have to (as with all things) inspect them and decide if they are valid or not using reason. If you have to do that, religion has no value whatsoever.

We are much better off inspecting the world for ourselves, and looking at all information. Religion has it's place as a historical artefact, but religion itself is long past it's sell-by date - there is nothing inherently valuable in relgion any more. Every role it used to fill has been replaced by something better, because religions are bullshit cults.

Please do tell us the merits of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674937)

Scientology.

Re:Please do tell us the merits of (1)

Angeret (1134311) | about 8 months ago | (#46674993)

Well I thought that'd be obvious. If you're at the top of the food chain in that, uh, religion, you get to have buckets and buckets of other peoples' money and live like a king. Not so good if you're at the bottom end though.

Re:More various (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674955)

> Each has truths to share with you

No truths there. Just ignorance and lies.

Re:More various (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675139)

For your information, I attend a Mormon church - as a non-member - when I'm near one, but am sympathetic to Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism.

In other words you're a pick-n-mix hipster twat who treats religion as a fashion statement.

As an atheist, I think you lot are even worse than proper religious people.

but the remainder... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674769)

Are a bunch of noisy cunts who pretty much make up for the difference by never shutting the fuck up.

Education always helps (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674773)

At least in Western Europe, it's been true for a long time that the more highly educated you are, the less likely you are to be the slave to the memes of some religious sect. The Internet is, fortunately, gradually increasing levels of education generally.

Re:Education always helps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674813)

Nice use of the term 'meme', which was coined by Richard Dawkins of Atheist Bus fame :D

Good. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674787)

Religion and it's many splintered (and violent) factions are one of the last remaining serious problems holding back the advancement of humanity.

The Riddle of Epicurus
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to
Then He is not omnipotent.

If He is able, but not willing
Then He is malevolent.

If He is both able and willing
Then whence cometh evil?

If He is neither able nor willing
Then why call Him God?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We should start taxing churches in this country as well. It's pretty clear religion has not stayed out of politics.
And they've really bent the tax free system we put in place that the church paid no taxes. Now they move everything under the umbrella of the church to enjoy tax free status.
It's gotten corrupt. Take it away.
We need the money and they have enough to build giant monstrosities used two days a week. It's wasteful. Tax them like anybody else.
Half a million churches spread across the country paying no taxes. It's bullshit.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674827)

Blasphemy!

*Holds imaginary mobile phone to ear*
"Gold said to tell you to give me all your money!"

Captcha: desire

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674975)

Read this.

http://atheistsareidiots.blogspot.com/2013/04/refuting-epicurus-paradox.html

Re:Good. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675007)

The fallacy in that riddle comes in the second/third pairs of lines. In the second, the assumption is that preventing evil is something God would necessarily want to do. But God, who's wisdom passeth all understanding, might just know something we don't. The third assumes that Evil doesn't come from God; it ain't necessarily so (for an in-depth investigation of this idea, watch Time Bandits).

Not that I believe in (a/any) god. I just don't like flawed logic.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675085)

> In the second, the assumption is that preventing evil is something God would necessarily want to do.

I don't think that is assumed, it is just stated that not wanting to makes it malevolent.
Though I would agree there is too much wiggle room to make it a paradox.
However I do think there is enough in it that one should very seriously ask oneself: assuming there is a God, why do you think you would want to support him instead of fighting against?

Re:Good. (3, Interesting)

Rande (255599) | about 8 months ago | (#46675027)

The flaw in the Riddle is in the assumptions.
That "Evil" is a definable thing that everyone can agree on. What is evil to me may not be evil to you which may not be evil to God.
If you stub your toe, is that evil? Should God have stopped you? Or would it be more evil to prevent your temporary pain because they you wouldn't learn not to do silly things?
Or are you only defining certain bad things as evil? Say genocide, torture, rape, and murder? Because if all those things never existed, all that would do is change the goalposts so that thievery, vandalism and bad language were now the height of evil. Remove them also and things like being ugly, stupid and unwashed are now the height of evil?

Should God wait upon you hand and foot, serving your every whim and desire, preventing any pain of any kind because not to, you would consider evil?
Or would the greater evil be that self same bubble wrapping where you never leave the womb, never to learn, never to grow, never to mature?

Re:Good. (0)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 8 months ago | (#46675057)

OK, so here is a one liner for you that is equally ancient: Can god make a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it?

Re:Good. (2)

bentcd (690786) | about 8 months ago | (#46675133)

OK, so here is a one liner for you that is equally ancient: Can god make a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it?

This always seemed to me like a very silly sort of "paradox".

In short, yes of course he could. After he did it he would no longer be omnipotent, but then, it has to be such that an omnipotent being has the power to make himself no longer omnipotent; or he would not have been truly omnipotent in the first place.

Also, as a trivial observation, once he had made the unliftable stone he could still use his remaining near omnipotence to turn it back into a liftable one, thus restoring his own full omnipotence. It is of course possible to rephrase the "paradox" in such a way that he cannot do this but that doesn't change the reasoning in the previous paragraph.

There are some more interesting paradoxes involving the question of whether an omnipotent god could make things happen that are simply flat out illogical (I forget the specifics, but draw a two dimensional circular square perhaps). These fast get difficult to relate to however and may be artifacts of our language more than they are good philosophical observations.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675029)

Religion and it's many splintered (and violent) factions are one of the last remaining serious problems holding back the advancement of humanity.

I just love people playing the blame game: Mao, Stalin, Hitler^2, Saddam (Koran written in his own blood - because fuck the Islam^1), have all been such great examples of religious leaders. Then we have the current conflict between Russia and the Ukraine, which of course is absolutely religiously motivated. Environmental disasters caused by failing equipment and paid off inspectors.

Yeah religion is one of the main problems if you just go out and ignore: Megalomania, greed, more greed , people not giving a fuck and people holding grudges for several generations. Of course religion gets used when convenient (Hitler cult), other times its some form of atheistic system where the ends justify the means and if you disagree the means will deal with you personally (every communistic country ever), in both cases the targeted brainwashing is done by the education system.

^1 Writing the Koran in blood is not allowed, just disposing an otherwise perfectly fine Koran even written in blood apparently isn't that simple either.

^2 He tried to build himself up as a religious figure, I don't think it ever took off - not surprising since Germany was strongly christian before and people had little reason to suddenly drop their old believes.

Correlation is not Causation (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674791)

More pseudo science.
The relentless and generally ignorant assault by the media on Christianity (not Islam of course) and an increasingly secular culture are more likely causes.

Oversimplification ... (5, Interesting)

golodh (893453) | about 8 months ago | (#46674905)

Everyone, including the author of the article (which you apparently didn't read) agrees that correlation doesn't imply causation.

However, we do know that religion is transmitted through contact. Both social contact and personal contact. See e.g. [Alderman, Derek H. 2012. "Cultural Change and Diffusion: Geographical Patterns, Social Processes, and Contact Zones." 21st Century Geography: A Reference Handbook (Vol. 1), SAGE Publications (edited by Joseph Stoltman), pp. 123-134.]

This is born out by the empirical data that people who're born in Muslim society tend to take Islam as their religion, whereas people who're born in devoutly Christian, Judaic, Shinto, or Animistic society tend to adopt those. In particular, the hypotheses of "Divine intervention" and "Very Personal Contact With God" aren't needed to model this kind of data. Social proximity (for which spatial proximity is a proxy) does the job adequately and is by far the simpler hypothesis.

Hence it's very reasonable to hypothesize that as social interaction patterns tend to shift to the Internet, transmission of religious beliefs follows suit. This hypothesis is not contradicted by, and dovetails nicely with, the survey data the article refers to.

Another data-point that fits this theory are examples of young or otherwise easily influenced people embracing fundamentalist Islam because of the websites they hang out on. Which incidentally is one of the reasons why organisations like the NSA and GCHQ are so interested in the Internet.

So all in all, the article is somewhere in-between an-interesting-idea-presented-in-a-blog post (it doesn't do any literature review, it doesn't place the question or the data within a recognised theoretical framework (even though suitable and persuasive frameworks such as the one sketched by Alderman exist), it doesn't present the data or the estimation results) and competent research.

But the one thing it's *not* is "Pseudo Science", simply because it (wisely) doesn't make any pretense at being scientific. Note the difference please.

Re:Correlation is not Causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674945)

Pseudo Science will trump your Pseudo Religion any day.

(BTW - There is no assault on Christianity by the media, put down the Fox News and back away slowly...)

Showed me the way (5, Interesting)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 8 months ago | (#46674795)

While the internet did not make me an atheist, it did made me a better informed atheist with better arguments. It also showed me that I was far from alone.

Re: Showed me the way (1)

lorinc (2470890) | about 8 months ago | (#46675083)

This. The internet and the books of Richard Dawkins are endless sources of arguments.

Exposure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674803)

Exposure sure is dangerous, religion aside, slashdot and reddit makes me lose faith in humanity!

Re:Exposure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674863)

slashdot and reddit makes me lose faith in humanity!

You still have any left?! Sucker...

The Truth shall set you free (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674807)

Not quote as John may have meant it, but oh so true.

That would be a good trick (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674817)

Considering that the U.S. is dominated by 1) militant fundamentalist christian religion, 2) military-industrial complex religiously believing in U.S. geopolitical supremacy which happens to be quite lucrative, and 3) a money-power worshipping fundamentally cynical and corrupt wall street - lobbyist - political power complex which worships themselves as god on earth, I would say that taking away even a smidgen of America's religion would be a nice trick.

FWIW I personally have not changed in terms of belief despite being highly steeped in the Internet and science. I don't go to synagogue, but I have a little bit of faith that is inculcated deep down, that sometimes makes me feel communally connected to people, nature, the universe. I don't know the answer, whether it is some entity, brain linked to quantum reality, or just an artifact of our brain makeup that happened to be a good thing from a darwinian perspective. This has not changed since I was a child. I survived reading the bible, carlos casteneda, illuminati, etc. Probably science fiction affected me more than anything else. One thing I can say, I wish I had the Internet when I was little. It would have given me unlimited educational opportunity, whereas I wasted years languishing in public school and then spent years trying to find the Internet it having heard whispers about it (it was not in existence on a large scale then). I starting with bbs, compuserve, and some engineers who mentored me, but finally had to build my own ISP to start the Internet in the country I am living in now (I am an American living overseas).

The Internet opens you up to many views, which is having a good impact I think on society, but much of it comes from a willingness to hang out in communities that provide such views. In other words, you get more viewpoints by hanging out on BoingBoing (my other main site besides slashdot) than by just using search engines. You can use the net to prop up your own believes and find targets to rail against too. The net won't change fundamentalists, but it may change people who could otherwise be coopted by them, since fundamentalism is just power hungry cynical bastards using both ancient and modern mind control tools (biblical writings, political power structures, so-called miracles, vulnerabilities of the psyche, pseudoscience, etc.) on naive shmucks who don't have critical thinking defenses. In that sense the net might reduce fundamentalists in the next generation who disbelieve evolution, but it might increase scientologists which appear to be a destructive meme, a plague on society.

Humans obviously have a belief circuit that is exploited by organized religion. Whether that is just psychology or tied to something real, it has nothing to do with the state of utter fundamentalist chaos that is ripping the America to shreds, the shreds being preyed upon by cynical power-seekers. You only have to surf the offerings of typical American cable tv after reading zerohedge or even slashdot to get unbearably nauseated. So it would be a nice trick and any amount we can tone down religion in the U.S. where it is visible, will a very good thing, it would be an act of self preservation.

Why just Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674819)

There are a lot of tech that has made advances during the last decades - not only internet. Hence, using the same logic the decline of religious people could be linked to use of Aspartame, the increased popularity of the diesel engine in cars, heat exchangers, Linux, ...

Long before that (3, Interesting)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 8 months ago | (#46674823)

I still don't understand why people drop Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, but stick with Jesus. Hasn't everybody read The Emperor's New Clothes?

Re:Long before that (0)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 8 months ago | (#46674887)

It is because most people accept authority/tradition over logic and epistemology.

Re:Long before that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674961)

Because for all these but Jesus, Children are eventualy tell the truth by their parents.

Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675049)

Jesus is a bit too far away from being a simple invention. Believe in its stories or not, but you can not simply discuss the bible away. Explaining it with self-deception (many people) and forgery is not satisfying. If you believe in it on the other hand, then also, that Jesus is the sond of god, who promised salvation.

Re:Long before that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675067)

I would not drop Santa Claus either, both he and Jesus have historic records backing their existence - If not the supernatural deeds.

However Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy as shown today are a consumerist appeal to greed - reduced from what they once may have been into meaningless marketing and most often even more meaningless child stories. Jesus in contrast comes with a whole book (of books) on living in groups/communities, live and let live, promises of a good after live, etc. . In other words there is a large difference between on dimensional run of the mill mascots and over two thousand years of interpreted (and reinterpreted) scripture written down by people who could write (at a time when writing and education was a limited good).

Internet has given me a faith! (1)

rcht148 (2872453) | about 8 months ago | (#46674829)

On the contrary, internet has given me a faith: Science

Internet "merely" speeds processes up (3, Insightful)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about 8 months ago | (#46674835)

Whatever you do, the Internet speeds up personal development processes as huge amounts of information is readily available. Without the Internet you would have come to the same conclusion but it would have taken just a bit longer. Internet can feed both limits of the scale, atheist and believer.

(I attribute my becoming an atheist to myself. I stepped renounced my religion at the age of 8. Simply deduced that there is no such thing as a god from observations and reasoning. That was in the early 70s. Internet would have merely sped the process up.)

Re:Internet "merely" speeds processes up (1)

stoploss (2842505) | about 8 months ago | (#46674871)

Whatever you do, the Internet speeds up personal development processes as huge amounts of information is readily available.

That's not how I would have chosen to describe Rule 34 and the various furry/vore/inflationist "enthusiast groups", but I guess I should make allowances for poetic license in others' posts.

Re:Internet "merely" speeds processes up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674891)

Simply deduced that there is no such thing as a god from observations and reasoning. That was in the early 70s.

And since you grew up, your "observations and reasoning" skills improved, and you realised that, "There is no such thing as a god," is unfalsifiable, therefore cannot be "deduced" from "observations and reasoning"? I hope.

You can argue that there is no clear evidence for a god. You can argue that god is ill-defined. But what you can't argue is that evidence exists that there is no such thing as a god.

The Internet has turned people into egotistical know-it-alls, who think that being able to quickly look up something approximating information (Wikipedia, I'm thinking of you) means understanding anything at all. But I have found that by far the majority of people today are more intellectually dull than they were 40, 30, even 20 years ago (I am not old enough to go back more than that). They are great rote learners - the essence of religion - but they've found new religions, in game theory and markets and economics, altars far less stable than the bullshit of old.

Re:Internet "merely" speeds processes up (2)

lonOtter (3587393) | about 8 months ago | (#46674949)

But what you can't argue is that evidence exists that there is no such thing as a god.

Nor does there need to be. The fact that I can't absolutely disprove it does not mean that I won't think that the notion of god, the flying spaghetti monster, santa, or some other such thing, are purely nonsense. I argue that there is zero reason to believe such a thing exists, and that it is irrational to do so.

But I have found that by far the majority of people today are more intellectually dull than they were 40, 30, even 20 years ago (I am not old enough to go back more than that).

This was always true. You have the 'Kids these days...' syndrome.

Everyone is born atheist (1)

GbrDead (702506) | about 8 months ago | (#46674853)

I was born atheist and just stayed that way. Thanks mostly to my grandparents who didn't try to indoctrinate their children in any religion (although one of my grand-grandparents had been an actual priest).
Well, I guess I have to thank a bit the religion-condemning totalitarian regime me and my parents grew up under.

TL;DR: No, the Internet did not influence me at all in this regard.

Re:Everyone is born atheist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674931)

Everybody is born in original sin and only religious redemption can save your soul from eternal hell and damnation. Now don't go and confuse people with scientific facts...

Re:Everyone is born atheist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675141)

TL;DR:

Three sentences is too long to read? ;)

With knowledge comes understanding (3, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 8 months ago | (#46674861)

hardly surprising really, religion relies heavily upon ignorance and superstition. The more information and world views you expose yourself to the more likely you are to come out of the dark ages.

bibliotheque (-1, Offtopic)

milissatyra (3606133) | about 8 months ago | (#46674865)

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articles (-1, Offtopic)

milissatyra (3606133) | about 8 months ago | (#46674873)

see more articles Faculté des Sciences de la Nature et de la Vie et des Sciences de la Terre et de l'Univers 1. Workshop sur l’Agriculture Saharienne Enjeux et Perspectives Université Kasdi Merbah – Ouargla - le 03 mai 2010 La gestion des potentialités hydriques en régions sahariennes http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 2. Dysfonctionnement des élevages dans les régions sahariennes http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 3. La céréaliculture sous centre-pivot dans les régions sahariennes : cas de la region de ouargla http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 4. La dynamique agricole dans la zone d'El Ghrous (Biskra) : entre le boom maraîcher et la lente généralisation des systèmes de production phoenicicoles http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 5. L’état phytosanitaire des palmeraies algériennes, http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 6. principaux axes de recherche/développement à prendre en charge 7. Gestion participative des ressources génétiques du palmier dattier (Phoenix dactylifera L.) dans les oasis du Maghreb http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 8. Crise de gestion de la diversité des dattiers dans les palmeraies algériennes http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 9. La recherche sur le palmier dattier au département des sciences agronomiques de Ouargla : situation et perspectives http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 10. Les anciennes systèmes de gestion des l’eau dans les oasis : patrimoine à préserver http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 11. Gestion participative des ressources génétiques du palmier dattier (Phoenix dactylifera L.) dans les oasis du Maghreb http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 12. Crise de gestion de la diversité des dattiers dans les palmeraies algériennes http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 13. Aperçu méthodologique de la démarche d’évaluation de la durabilité de l’agro-système à Palmiers Dattiers dans les oasis du Maghreb http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 14. Rôle des associations dans le développement rural http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 15. Ressources en eau du sahara septentrional http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 16. Rôle de la Recherche / Développement dans la durabilité et la performance des agrosystèmes sahariens http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 17. Programme d’investissement du cdars http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 18. Les systèmes de production sahariens : http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 19. déclin ou renouveau ? 20. La sécurité alimentaire et l’agriculture saharienne -février 2012- http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 21. Toxiinfections alimentaires collectives a Ouargla. http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 22. LA STRATEGIE DE DEVELOPPEMENT RURAL EN ALGERIE http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 23. VALORISATION D’UNE PLANTE TOLERANTE A LA SALINITE : http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 24. CAS DE l’Atriplex halimus L. 25. UTILISATION DES ENZYMES COAGULANTES CAMELINES COMME SUCCEDANE DE LA PRESURE COMMERCIALE http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 26. SITUATION DE L’AGRICULTURE DANS LA ZONE DE HASSI BEN ABDALLAH /OUARGLA, FIN DE 2010 http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 27. INSPECTION DES VIANDES (CARCASSES ANIMALES) DANS LES ABATTOIRS DE LA REGION DU CENTRE http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 28. LA MISE EN VALEUR PAR LE BAIS DE LA CONCESSION http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 29. LE PNDAR ET LA REALITE DE LA SECURITE ALIMENTAIRE DANS L’ALGERIE http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 30. L'AUTONOMIE ALIMENTAIRE DES EXPLOITATIONS LAITIERES DANS LE NORD EST ALGERIEN ET SON IMPACT SUR LE PRIX DE REVIENT DE LAIT http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 31. LE PLAN NATIONAL DE DEVELOPPEMENT AGRICOLE PNDA ET LA SECURITE ALIMENTAIRE http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 32. LE DROMADAIRE, ÉLÉMENT INCONTOURNABLE DANS LA SÉCURITÉ ALIMENTAIRE DES POPULATIONS AUTOCHTONES http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 33. LES PRODUITS DU PALMIER DATTIER, UN MOYEN D'ASSURER LA SÉCURITÉ ALIMENTAIRE EN ZONES SAHARIENNES. http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 34. AGRICULTURE SAHARIENNE ET SÉCURITÉ ALIMENTAIRE. http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 35. EFFET DES MUTATIONS SOCIO – TECHNICO – ECONOMIQUE SUR LES SYSTEMES DES CULTURES MARAÎCHERES EN ZONES SAHARIENNES ALGERIENNES http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 36. UTILISATION DE LA GEOTHERMIE DANS L’AMELIORATION DES PRODUCTIONS MARAICHERES DANS LA REGION DE OUARGLA http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 37. Mutation ver une agriculture productiviste et sa durabilité dans les régions arides ; cas d’étude la zone d'El Ghrous (Biskra). http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 38. SECURITE ALIMENTAIRE ET PRODUCTIVITE AGRICOLE DANS LA WILAYA DE GHARDAÏA http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 39. EFFET DES MUTATIONS SOCIO – TECHNICO – ECONOMIQUE SUR LES SYSTEMES DES CULTURES MARAÎCHERES EN ZONES SAHARIENNES ALGERIENNES http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 40. Systèmes de Production Sahariens et Sécurité Alimentaire. http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 41. L’AGRICULTURE SAHARIENNE ET SECURITE ALIMENTAIRE EN ALGERIE http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 42. ÉVALUATION DE l’ÉTAT DES LIEUX DE L’INDUSTRIE LAITIÈRE EN ALGÉRIE. http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 43. IMPACT DES POLITIQUES AGRICOLES SUR LA DURABLITE DE LA PRODUCTION LAITIERE DANS LA WILAYA DE TIZI-OUZOU http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] a. http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] b. http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] a. http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 44. LE RENOUVEAU RURAL ET LA SECURITE ALIMENTAIRE : QUELQUES INDICATEURS DU SUD ALGERIEN http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 45. L'intervention publique dans l'agriculture. http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 46. Atout ou contrainte pour l'amélioration de la sécurité alimentaire ? 47. Exemple du préfinancement de la culture de pomme de terre arrière saison dans la wilaya de Laghouat. 48. L’IMPACT DES POLITIQUES AGRICOLES SUR LA SECURITE ALIMENTAIRE EN ALGERIE http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 49. STRATEGIES, POLITIQUES AGRICOLES ET SYSTEMES DE CONNAISSANCES AGRONOMIQUES. http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 50. Séminaire International sur la Biodiversite Faunistique en Zones Arides et Semi-arides 22 au 24 novembre 2009 http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 51. VARIATION DU REGIME ALIMENTAIRE DES MALES ET DES FEMELLES DE SCHISTOCERCA GREGARIA (ACRIDIDAE, CYRTACANTACRIDINAE) DANS LE SAHARA CENTRALE D’ALGERIE 52. BIODIVERSITE & PROTECTION DE LA NATURE UNE DERIVE SEMANTIQUE DANGEREUSE http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 53. BIOECOLOGIE DE QUELQUES ESPECES DE MANTODEA DANS LA REGION D’OUARGLA (SAHARA ALGERIEN) http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 54. INVENTAIRE DE L’AVIFAUNE DE LA ZONE HUMIDE DE SBIKHA DANS LA REGION SEMI-ARIDE DE KHENCHELA http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 55. PLACE DES INSECTES DANS LE MENU TROPHIQUE DES JEUNES DU MOINEAU HYBRIDE (PASSER DOMESTICUS X P. HISPANIOLENSIS) DANS LA PALMERAIE D’ASSAL A HASSI LEKHFIF (OUARGLA, SAHARA ALGERIEN). http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 56. LA GERBILLE DE LYBIE Gerbillus tarabuli (Gerbillinae, Rodentia) A EL BAYADH INDICATRICE DE DESERTIFICATION DU MILIEU ET SA RELATION AVEC LES CONDITIONS CLIMATIQUES http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 57. FAUNE DE LA ZONE MERIDIONALE DE LA REGION DE TLEMCEN DIVERSITE ET APPROCHE BIOECOLOGIQUE http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz] 58. FAUNE DE LA ZONE MERIDIONALE DE LA REGION DE TLEMCEN DIVERSITE ET APPROCHE BIOECOLOGIQUE http://manifest.univ-ouargla.d... [univ-ouargla.dz]

Brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674877)

Whether or not this is true, this report could cause the fundamentalist noise to drop radically as religious people flee the godless internet. Mission accomplished.

articles d'UKMO (-1, Offtopic)

milissatyra (3606133) | about 8 months ago | (#46674879)

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Religion (5, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about 8 months ago | (#46674881)

Your friends tells you about this thing which he believes in and tries to convince you. But you're not sure.

Do you:

a) Go along with them, get absorbed, spend hours listening to their arguments, ask around a circle of friends that you share with him about their opinion? (i.e. imagine pre-Internet generations where if you didn't know someone personally, or were a part of a group, you didn't even get to meet them, let alone communicate extensively)

b) Go to your social network online, look up vast resources, have the arguments for and against in front of you, find out all the dirty secrets, cliques, etc. hear tell from friends-of-friends-of-friends about things they do and believe in?

It's just a product of information availability. And it works both for and against us now. It's now harder to quash rumours started by a random person with no basis from spreading but it's much easier for such rumours to reach the ears of the interested - even if subject to court order in some cases!

And it's not just religion. It's products, services, celebrities, charities, you name it. Before, you didn't have a source of information likely to know both sides and the in and outs of everything that you could consult confidentially and extensively and get THOUSANDS of peoples opinions in a matter of minutes. Now it's a click away and you're taught to use it for school research before you're able to write.

On a personal note, I'm agnostic, so it's no great surprise to me that the more facts people have available to consult, the less seriously religion is taken. "Faith" is something I see as laziness - "I don't want to check this fact, I'll just trust it's true" isn't the best principle to live by. In fact, it's that exact principle that is being eroded by the simplicity of fact-checking nowadays (even if not perfect, there are still good sources of actual fact rather than common belief out there).

Religion has been on a bit of a death-spiral for years. My country is pretty much turning churches into nothing more than pretty historical buildings that you visit and feel obliged to drop a coin in the box to pay for your nice photos of the stained-glass. My father-in-law is religious and bemoans the complete lack of religion in his local area - he visited dozens of churches before he found one with any kind of active services, and they didn't suit his preference.

By contrast, he says that the US is a much more faithful country and you can still draw crowds of tens of thousands at certain churches.

But I think that's more about celebrity, and the older generation, than anything to do with religion itself.

Religion is dying a little, but to be honest we were in a kind of renaissance of religion the last couple of hundred years anyway.

exposure to alternatives (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674889)

i've heard it said that "if you study one religion you can be absorbed for a lifetime. if you study two religions, you can be done in a day."

It Wasn't That... (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about 8 months ago | (#46674893)

I'm pretty sure it was "Catholic School" that's to blame for my atheism. Every time I meet an atheist (you know, down at the Church of Atheism [youtube.com] ) it's always the same story -- they spent some number of years in a Catholic School. Sometimes it's a little, sometimes it's a lot, but there's always some there. Sure this is anecdotal, but it's common enough that someone could probably get a research paper out of it.

Internet as a mind control platform. (0)

strstr (539330) | about 8 months ago | (#46674897)

The benefit of the Internet is that it's acting as a mind control platform. Information can now be sent into a persons mind, and information duplicated amongst a mass population of people. The truth is, you will believe whatever is put out onto the internet, based on the tools you're given and your biases in interpreting this information.

Therefore, religion is getting the boot, because it allows people who are not in your local culture to influence your decision making process. You are choosing to believe science related information, because that is what you're being taught.

Luckily what you're being taught is also reality, to a degree, but the information being sent out is not exactly perfected and therefore your understandings of this universe are still quite lacking. You are all also heavily influenced by the military, department of defense, corporate media, and government, which frequently seed you lies, and are actually in total control over your entire lives.

What I can tell you is that, religion is also less pleasurable than it once was, and this makes people want to believe it less and less and spend less time on it. The issue is that all the science we are creating also is teaching people that's it's false, so we are able to begin to move past it.

Today the Internet as a mind control platform is mostly positive, but there is still the pesky issue of the NSA and governments having complete ability to both seed information through it, and to monitor your behavior and actions regarding consumption and communication. This is allowing the government to customize the messages they seed, and to learn how better to control the population.

Crime is being covered up, and the government is the only opinion that actually matters. Because they have the power and force to control everyone else, arrest, or even to secretly assassinate people, no one really has any power to stop it.

Details on The Matrix Deciphered book from Dr. Robert Duncan.

There are also methods of other forms of mass surveillance including satellites, phased array antenna dishes, and radar, which can monitor your neurons and movements around the earth, and tap your mind directly as a result. I'm sad to say, but the population still needs to figure it out, and realize how this is all being done. http://www.obamasweapon.com/ [obamasweapon.com] has more dirt, to teach you their capabilities.

born again daily tasked with saving ourselves.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674901)

& one another.. each our very own reward, penalty & greatest enemy.. us freaking agnostic unchosens never get a play http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mom+center+peace rock on /. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9F8QM3tjkTE

Just one more wonderful benefit (4, Insightful)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | about 8 months ago | (#46674913)

the Internet offers.

Learning about reality is a GOOD thing.

Learning that the silly myths and superstitions pounded into your head when you were a child are silly myths and superstitions, and NOT universal facts, is a GOOD thing.

I know it wont be in my lifetime and probably not in my children's either, but someday, humans will shed all religious superstition.

Burning books (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674915)

The church has always tried its best to keep people ignorant.

Imagine where mankind could have been by now, if it wasn't for that.

Re:Burning books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675037)

I dropped out of church myself, but you do realize that due to the bible translation, most illiterates in western culture of early ages had presumably an advantage when it came to learning how to read..in approximately 1215 AD, ministers/clerics were amongst the few who were able to read to read at all, most likely built the first libraries and were a vital part in building cities as we know them today. They probably did draw up contracts, did relevant paperwork in the "public sector", or had the function of being readers to the public, witnesses ;} So, rather, Touché! One for religion/the church. Certainly the church of old is not the church we have today. Later ;}

Re:Burning books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675071)

-to read ;}

Who can blame them becoming atheists when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674923)

they visit religious sites like this [constellation7.org] .

The internet is a tool, just like faith. Use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674925)

Religion didn't bring you the internet, but the internet can show you all the wonderful things religious people do for humanity.

When I was younger I thought religion was a total scam because the only view I'd ever have is on the micro scale within one community in one tiny corner of the world. You had to have "faith" your good deeds were affecting the rest of the world in a positive way for them to be felt.

Present day we can use the internet to actually see where our donations go, how our hard work is being used, and the places where help is most needed. Special interests, even within religion want the faithful to stop helping on a global scale and focus back on community using the internet to demonize our global awareness.

Is the internet eroding religion as a whole? No not really. The world is going through a period of hedonism atm and like any "mood swing" they will get bored and seek salvation eventually. When they realize the internet cannot provide what they seek, people will turn back to faith and look inside for answers.

Re:The internet is a tool, just like faith. Use it (1)

lonOtter (3587393) | about 8 months ago | (#46674963)

Yes, because blindly believing in fairy tales will definitely provide the answers people seek, and not just bullshit that other people made up. How very creative.

Derp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674927)

LOL all theses LABELS!!! I'm atheist, I'm agnostic, I'm catholic. Hurrrrr. Stay pleb assdot.

Information (1)

Livius (318358) | about 8 months ago | (#46674939)

For myself, the issue was information, namely the history of the Christian Church (there can't be 'one true faith' if literally everything in your religion was plagiarized from other religions) and evolutionary psychology. And it came from traditional paper books.

The impact of the Internet is more likely the revelation that atheists are not the vanishingly small fringe group that religious people want to believe.

Not religious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674951)

But definitely not atheist. Honestly it's hard to imagine more hate spitting out of modern westerners. Sledgedot is just one more example of how hideously hypocritical people are. But nothing I say is going to make one bit of difference. So go on, project every idiot you've met onto me. Make up your little fantasies of who I am. Live in your own world and seek out confirmation of your predetermined truths. You'll get more than enough here.

A Bad thing? - NO. (2)

xenobyte (446878) | about 8 months ago | (#46674985)

It is actually a good thing if people are 'losing their religion'. It simply means they've started thinking for themselves and questioning things.

Wrong title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46674991)

The title makes it sound like less religion is a bad thing.

Religion, maybe, but not /faith/... (3, Interesting)

ralphtheraccoon (582007) | about 8 months ago | (#46675003)

The internet may kill religion, but it doesn't kill faith. Religion being defined in this instance as cultural observances, unquestioned metaphysical assumptions and ceremonies, and faith as things one deeply believes and part of who you are, not merely what you do (to fit in).

And, I suspect, most people of faith who have thought about it deeply have no problem with that. I'd much rather people were sure of what they believed, and actually thought about it, argued about it, and made a real statement about what they believed, rather than just accepting what they are brought up with.

I think that the internet - and in fact any meeting with outside ideas - is the best way to kill nominal 'religion'. However, I'd make a guess that many people actually find a new faith, or find their faith hugely challenged or restructured. I know formally agnostic people who got into 'new age' mysticism and became (in some form) Buddhist through reading and learning online.

I am a follower of Jesus, who I believe is the son of God. ("Christian" being a very loaded term, especially in the USA). Many of my friends and others who believe the same as I do have been strengthened in their faith by discussions and videos online. Many churches don't bother actually exploring scripture in a critical or even structured way - but plenty of people online do. Video serieses by John Piper, Rob Bell, Nicky Gumbel, John MacArthur, and many other "thinking preachers" have been instrumental in my building a faith which is able to accept alternative viewpoints without freaking out.

C.S. Lewis was an Athiest, but became a Christian at university, and encountering views which challenged his view of the world so much he had to re-examine his own philosophies. I know plenty of others who came to faith at university, and a few who did online.

So. I'm a believing, 'born again', totally convinced Jesus-freak, with friends who are Athiest, Buddhist, Muslim, Agnostic, straight, gay, married, divorced, rich, poor. Their views do not destroy mine, and I will not try to destroy theirs. And I accept the fact that my views can only really be solid if I can engage with them in civilized discourse, and can understand and appreciate (even if I totally disagree with) them.

To those who call themselves Athiests here - how many of your friends hold views as strongly as you do, but which are completely contrary to your own?

Re:Religion, maybe, but not /faith/... (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 8 months ago | (#46675081)

You sound like a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Budhist, Confusion...

Re:Religion, maybe, but not /faith/... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675089)

"Christian" being a very loaded term, especially in the USA

Come on, stop lying.

4Chan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675041)

It made me lose a lot of faith alright.

I Get all My Religion Learning from FAMILY GUY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46675063)

Jesus is on often (hint: he's the record shop owner). God hiselft is own on (hint: there was a big bang! and God done it). Even the birth of da baby Jesus was told. So if this internet is making you heathen to go to the TV and toon to FoX Sunday night.

Sense of permanence... (2)

beaverdownunder (1822050) | about 8 months ago | (#46675077)

Many people become Christian because they worry about relevance. An after-life makes the here-and-now less relevant, and there's less of an onus on making your mark, you just "have to follow the rules".

The Internet creates that sense of permanence. You post photos, you document your life, you create music, images, apps, stories, blog entries, etc. etc.

People realise that blogging on Sunday morning makes them feel better than going to church, and there you go...

"Taking away" (3, Informative)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 8 months ago | (#46675099)

The internet isn't "taking away" anything. Stop trying to make it sound like an aggressive action. People can't be forced to give up their religion. Even if you beat it out of them, all you can really do, at best, is prevent them from practicing it when people are looking at them. But I suppose "How the internet is convincing people to be less religious" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

More anti-religious (5, Insightful)

FridayBob (619244) | about 8 months ago | (#46675101)

Atheism is not new to me. The first time I questioned religion was when I was seven years old, asking my mother, "If God created the universe, then who created God?" Her answer, "God always was", did not sound at all convincing to me. At age 15, when I was finally allowed to choose for myself whether or not to attend church services, I immediately stopped doing so, having considered it a waste of time for as long as I could remember. A few years later I realized that I did not believe in God at all. That was over 30 years ago.

What the Internet did, however, was to introduce me to the writings of authors such as, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Their books describe in great detail how religion has caused so much more suffering in the world than it has ever managed to prevent, for example how wars may be started by people, but wartime atrocities almost always require religion to be involved. Ultimately, this is all caused by systems that tell us what to think, immunizing us to argument, so they should be recognized for what they really do: brainwashing.

What to do about it? Education, education, education. Mandatory up to age 21, but available to everyone at all ages and for free. Everyone should be scientifically literate. The best thing a society can do is to invest in itself, and religion just happens to be one of the first things we lose when we learn to think for ourselves.

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