Religion has been part of mankind ever since we started questioning our existence. It is one of mankind’s first inventions if not the first and has been reinvented over and over providing us with the various forms of religions we have today. These many religions has played an important role in unifying groups of people large and small for a cause. While it has been extremely successful at unifying people, it has been even more successful at dividing societies ever since its existence. Could we be the generation that witnesses the fall of religion due to social networking? Here are 9 ways social networking could eliminate religion.
1 – Social networking breaks down barriers for communication. It allows us to communicate with anyone in the world and share ideas free and freely. What once was a world where people only communicated within their own social circle; it is now a place where the entire world is at one’s fingertips. In the past and unfortunately still today, the world has made decisions based on fear and the misunderstanding of others due to poor communication. This has caused countless wars, intolerance, racism, slavery, sexism, and oppression of minorities. While these still exist today, we have come a long way and made massive advances in each of these issues due to better communication. With social networking improving our ability to communicate we will only improve on these issues further, and religion could be the next on the list.
2 – The truth and good ideas always prevail. Social networking/media gives us a platform to express ideas and beliefs, a platform which only the most powerful use to have. For those who care about the truth, sharing ideas will only help them discover what is rational and will expose beliefs that are irrational. It must be emphasized that this only makes a difference if those in the discussion care about the truth, and makes no difference if they preach their dogmatic beliefs while they have their fingers in their ears (or in the case of social networking – their hands over their eyes). If there is a religion that is true, social networking will be the key to discovering which one is correct. So theists who care whether their beliefs are true should not be afraid of social networking, but instead embrace it to see if their faith can hold up to scrutiny.
3 – Those that are religious can find it hard to proselytize in public. They may be embarrassed to approach someone and start a discussion about their beliefs. For many the only discussions they may have about religion are with those who agree with them. This only helps confirm their beliefs. However, now with social networking they are much more likely to engage in a debate when they can hide behind a computer. They do not have to face public humiliation in the case they get backed into a corner. Because of this, religious individuals are likely to engage in more debates than they would have previously. If the truth always prevails, there will be more people changing their beliefs, whether they are converting to another religion or losing religion entirely.
4 – Just like it can be hard for theist to proselytize their beliefs in public; it can be just as hard for atheist to speak up against religion in public. It may be even harder since in many countries they are the minority, and those who are religious perceive them to be immoral or even evil. No one wants to be perceived in that way. It is easier for people to speak up against something when not in person. Social networking makes this easier for atheist to express their views and could play a large role in eliminating religion and promoting reason.
5 – Not too long ago before the introduction of Google, when people had a hard question they would go to the library to research it, this could take a person hours to find if they were even lucky enough to find the answer. Knowing how difficult it was to find answers, many would not put forth the effort and accept just not knowing. If it was a question about God, they would ask their priest and would get an answer based on the religion he followed. This was obviously an extremely bias answer, which is why those who grew up in a religion would tend stick to the same religion throughout their life. Today it is as simple as typing it into Google, if someone in the world has had a good answer for the question; one is likely to find it. Those using Google to answer a question about God may not get the same answer their priest would give them and could inspire them to do further research which could generate more discussions with others. Anything that promotes discussion and allows us to discover answers without bias is a path to truth.
6 – The population of atheist’s is increasing each year, this also means fewer children are being indoctrinated with their parent’s religious views since less are being taken to church. But those children who are being taken to church have something us adults didn’t have when we were young. That of course being social networking and the internet, children with questions about God will not just have their parents or Sunday school teacher to ask, but will have the internet to use to find their answers. The internet is nothing new to them and will be the easiest way they know how to find answers, meaning they are less likely to ask someone who will give them a bias answer. This will most likely expose them to the truth at a very young age.
7 – For some, church has always been a tool to network and make friends rather than a place to follow their religion, but now with social networking and websites like Meetup they can find groups outside the church for networking resulting in a reduction in attendance at church. Theist may argue these individuals were not believers in the first place so it doesn’t matter. However, they were still a member and could have brought some value to the church whether they were fully committed to God or not. Social networking groups could even take true believers attention away from the church causing attendance to drop further.
8 – If less people are following a religion and not attending church due to social networking, this means there will be less money in the offering plate each Sunday. It could make it difficult for churches to pay their bills and reduce their ability to do mission work. This could even discourage individuals from joining the ministry and may lure them into other lines of work in search for higher pay. These changes might seem small and insignificant, but if reason is winning through social networking and the promotion of religion is slowly dying than atheist and reason will increase in growth.
9 – With atheism growing in numbers due to social networking, there will be less of a stigma attached to the name than there is currently. This will make it even easier for people to lose faith in their religion. Because there is comfort in numbers, it is easy for people to follow whatever the majority believes in. Once it becomes difficult to determine the majority’s view, it will become easier for people to choose reason.
Better communication is always good and something we should constantly strive to improve on. For now social networking seems to be the best tool available to accomplish this and we should take advantage of it and share our views. There are already many pages and groups on Facebook where one can share their beliefs or lack of beliefs openly. Let’s encourage people to engage in these debates while still respecting the views of those who differ. Cursing and raising one’s voice does not help an argument, it just shows that the argument has weaknesses and cannot stand on its own. Comedian Demetri Martin said it well with this slogan, “Raising your voice, the next best thing to being right.” Remember, the truth can stand on its own merits. We must ask ourselves, is it best live in a world with religion where communication is discouraged and we fear others or in a world without religion where communication is encouraged and there is less violence? So participate in these discussions and put your beliefs and views to the test and let reason and logic determine the truth.