guest post: Internet and religion
How the Internet affects Christian religion
Without any doubt internet has changed the dimension of the religion to a major extend. The religion and its values are no where same after the arrival of the internet. The universal acceptance of mobile devices, like the smartphones, iPhone and iPad, is provoking a profound social change. Nothing has changed the world in such a short time as the Internet.
Public access to the web and email is less than 20 years old while social media like blogs, Twitter and Facebook are still in their infancy, yet well over three-quarters of the adult population makes use of these technologies weekly. No one can agree on how this technology will shape our future but everyone agrees on the fact that we are in the midst of a powerful revolution in communication and personal interaction.
Everything has become like click of the button and it has led to a platform that everything can be achieved through internet. The sad factor is that the dependence over these devices and internet is eliminating the individuals need for traditional religion and going to traditional houses of worship. The biggest problem with this is, without having the traditional religious brick and mortar upbringing, the youth of today forgo a key element of the religious experience. Religion was never just about a supreme being, the social gathering and interaction of those with similar beliefs and values is also a critical part of the experience. Religion is losing the youth.
The arrival of internet without denying can learn more about the religion but the practical experience has gone down the par level. This is certainly a thing to be taken into account. Religion has to be taken personal towards the heart it can’t be practiced just with information gathered with the internet. Some have expressed concern that the popularity of the Internet will cause many people of faith to participate more in online church than in a physical church.
How religious people use the Internet.
The usage of internet by the religious people has increased to an impeccable height according to latest survey reports. Religious people use their internet to buy books, strike up relationships on the Internet and a growing proportion of the population are experiencing God in cyberspace as well. Among the growing number of Americans who use the Internet, millions are turning to the digital dimension to get them in touch with God and others who pursue faith matters. There are thousands of apps for religion which are available 24 x 7 on internet. My deep concern is how many of our younger generation are downloading those religious apps opposed to angry birds. Is the virtual congregation a realistic way to gather people and practice religion? I have a hard time thinking the young will embrace religion without the real life experience which creates the feeling of being at peace with oneself.
We are aware that Internet leads to a faster spread of information. Studies claims that the more knowledge a person has, the less likely they are to be religious.
How do religious communities use Internet?
Every religious community is in desperate need of the internet these days to establish their community and to invite people to their religion. Communities are making use of internet as the vital tool to attract or speak about their religion. Communities are depended over the Social networking such as watsapp, facebook, instagram, pinterest, twitter etc to share or intimate their followers with their religious stuffs. Pre-Internet, churches were often gathering places for communities, helping to strengthen religious ties. With the Internet available people can explore other relationships and religion without the need for attending church, which might help explain the rise in spiritually over organized religion.
According to survey reports it is claimed that communities use internet for the following: The top five activities of Religious Surfers on the Internet are: (1) looking for information about their own faith (67%); (2) looking for information about another faith (50%); (3) emailing a prayer request (38%); (4) downloading religious music (38%); and (5) giving spiritual guidance via email (37%).
The rise of social issues surrounding LGBT citizens and women’s rights also plays a role. The Internet has given people wider access to information on issues concerning abortion, HIV transmission and similar socially stigmatized issues.
Whatever the reason, we can see the Internet had an impact on reshaping religious beliefs and practices. The wider access to information and different cultures has given people more reasons to question their beliefs and seek out different answers. Whether this is a good or bad thing is still up for debate.
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Merlin Minu is an Ordained Pastor, Evangelist, a Professional content writer, blogger and currently living in Cardiff, United Kingdom. She has been dealing with writing articles on parental counseling, rehabilitation and written number of blog post on Kingdom development.