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Is the Internet killing religion?
A new study suggests that the Internet may play a role in the demise of organized religion.
April 9th, 2014
12:17 PM ET

Is the Internet killing religion?

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) We can blame the Internet for plenty: the proliferation of porn, our obsession with cat videos, the alleged rise of teen trends like - brace yourself - eyeball licking.

But is it also a culprit in helping us lose our religion? A new study suggests it might be.

Allen Downey, a computer scientist at Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts, set out to understand the national uptick in those who claim no religious affiliation. These are the “nones,” which the Pew Research Center considers the fastest-growing “religious” group in America.

Since 1985, Downey says, the number of first-year college students who say they're religiously unaffiliated has grown from 8% to 25%, according to the CIRP Freshman Survey.

And, he adds, stats from the General Social Survey, which has been tracking American opinions and social change since 1972, show unaffiliated Americans in the general population ballooned from 8% to 18% between 1990 and 2010.

These trends jibe with what the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project reported in 2012. It said one in five American adults, and a third of those under 30, are unaffiliated.

Downey says he stepped into the ongoing debate about the rise of the "nones" not because he has a vested interest one way or the other, but because the topic fascinates him. He says it’s good fodder for study and appeals to students who are learning to crunch real data.

In his paper “Religious affiliation, education and Internet use,” which published in March on arXiv – an electronic collection of scientific papers – Downey analyzed data from GSS and discovered a correlation between increased Internet use and religious disaffiliation.

Internet use among adults was essentially at zero in 1990; 20 years later, it jumped to 80%, he said. In that same two-decade period, we saw a 25 million-person spike in those who are religiously unaffiliated.

People who use the Internet a few hours a week, GSS numbers showed Downey, were less likely to have a religious affiliation by about 2%. Those online more than seven hours a week were even more likely – an additional 3% more likely – to disaffiliate, he said.

Now, Downey is the first to point out that correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation.

But he was able to control for other factors including education, religious upbringing, rural/urban environments and income, to find a link that allowed him to “conclude, tentatively, that Internet use causes disaffiliation,” he said.

“But a reasonable person could disagree.”

The Internet, he posited, opens up new ways of thinking to those living in homogeneous environments. It also allows those with doubts to find like-minded individuals around the world.

He believes decreases in religious upbringing have had the largest effect, accounting for 25% of reduced affiliation; college education covers about 5% and Internet use may account for another 20%.

That leaves 50% which he attributes to “generational replacement,” meaning those born more recently are less likely to be religiously affiliated – though he doesn’t attempt to explain why that is.

The Pew Research Center has offered its own theories.

One explanation Pew gives is that our nation is experiencing political backlash – "that young adults, in particular, have turned away from organized religion because they perceive it as deeply entangled with conservative politics and do not want to have any association with it."

More specifically, Pew explains, this brand of religion and politics is out of step with young adult views on same-sex rights and abortion.

Postponement of marriage and parenthood, broader social disengagement and general secularization of society may also play a part, according to Pew.

But to be religiously unaffiliated doesn’t require a lack of faith or spirituality, researchers say.

Yes, the "nones" group includes those who might call themselves atheists or agnostics. But it also accounts for many – 46 million people – who don't belong to a particular group but are, in some way, religious or spiritual, according to Pew.

This is all part of the changing face of society and faith, and where the Internet fits in is just part of a complicated puzzle.

The evolving landscape includes plenty of people who go online in search of spiritual and religious sustenance, said Cheryl Casey, who delved into the issue for her 2006 dissertation.

Casey, now a professor of media, society and ethics at Champlain College in Vermont, wrote about the “revirtualization of religious ritual in cyberspace” and the morphing relationship between technology and religion.

That Downey would find a correlation, that the Internet is increasing disaffiliation, makes perfect sense to her.

"The institutional control over the conversation is lifted, so it's not just a matter of more churches to choose from but more ways to have that conversation and more people to have that conversation with," she said Wednesday.

People move away from formal affiliation and toward what she calls "grass-roots religious exploration," where "the nature of the medium allows for those conversations to grow organically."

Innovations have long played a part in influencing religion, she said, and will continue to.

Something she wrote back in 2006 said it best.

“When a new technology, such as the printing press or the Internet, unleashes massive cultural change, the challenge to religion is immense. Cultural developments change how God, or the ultimate, is thought of and spoken about,” she wrote.

“The dynamics of this transformation, however, await continued investigation.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Internet • Technology

soundoff (1,632 Responses)
  1. Peaceadvocate2014

    Internet is not killing religion but the temptations it offers. Freedom. As we know, too much of anything is bad for anyone.

    April 10, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
    • jensgessner

      Freedom? As in the 'freedom' to inquire, the freedom to research? Yup, you are right. It's a huge 'temptation. and it is KILLING religion.

      April 10, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
  2. swipedcard

    There have always been a surplus of disbelievers, just that the penalty ranged from being stoned to death to being ostracized by family and community. The internet has done nothing other than connected like minds and helped others realize, "Hey, there are quite a lot of us out there." Over time, this has given confidence to those without religion to express their viewpoints. There's plenty of online opportunities for religious groups to inject their belief systems into others, especially those prone to joining such movements.

    April 10, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
    • kenmargo

      You're right it can work both ways. The internet allow people like myself to challenge anyone's belief without having to kick their azz if they get in my face. It also grants me an opportunity to talk to those that might be here for the first time. I'll force them to think, put 2 and 2 together and hopefully see religion for what it is. A bunch of load.

      April 10, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
  3. Russ

    Religion can fly planes into buildings.
    Religion can fly planes to bring aid to the needy.

    1) Planes aren't the problem
    2) A faster plane simply does what the pilot wants... faster than before

    April 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
    • kenmargo

      No sh-t sherlock. How long did it take you to figure that one out?

      April 10, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
      • Russ

        @ kenmargo: figured you would be able to make the connection to the article's ti.tle question...

        April 10, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • kenmargo

          You're still as clear as mud. Planes are a solid structure. There is no debate of their function. Religion is guesses, hope, belief and in some cases delusional irrational thinking.

          April 10, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • transframer

          kenmargo:
          You forgot some of the most important things, but I'm talking about Christianity only: love and moral

          April 10, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
        • kenmargo

          I was replying to Russ. I didn't see your post.

          April 10, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
        • Russ

          @ kenmargo: let me pa.rse it then for your sake...

          the article's ti.tle: "is the internet killing religion?"
          evidently you applied the 'plane' analogy to 'religion' when i was applying it to the internet.

          you said: "Planes are a solid structure."
          the internet is not solid, but IT was the thing to which i was referring.
          in the same way that planes can be used for good or evil, so can the internet.

          you said: "There is no debate of their [planes'] function."
          while some might debate the function of the internet, it's called the "information superhighway."
          in short, it's a medium, a conduit, a pipeline.
          just like a pipe can carry water or sewage, so can the internet.
          we just disagree on which is which.

          you said: "Religion is guesses, hope, belief and in some cases delusional irrational thinking."
          i'd be glad to debate you on this straw man, but – for the sake of this conversation – it's immaterial.

          SUM: the point i was making: the internet is not killing religion anymore than planes are at fault for what pilots do or pipes are somehow responsible for what travels through them. you don't have to agree with my position on religion to agree with the nature of the internet as a medium.

          April 10, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        Kenmargo,

        Answer a few questions for me if you would.
        1. How many lies would you say you’ve told in your life?
        2. Have you ever stolen anything regardless of its value?
        3. Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word? (called blasphemy)
        4.have you ever looked at a woman/man lustfully?(if so, Jesus said you have committed adultery with that person in your heart.)
        If you’re like me, you are a self professed lying, stealing, blaspheming adulterer at heart or some form thereof. A holy God must punish wickedness, otherwise He wouldn’t be just. Given your confession, will you be guilty or innocent? If you’re like me and everyone else on this board, you are guilty. However, God provided a way for salvation through the blood of His innocent Son who took the punishment on the cross, that we might be declared innocent. Think of it like this. You’re in a court room. you’re guilty as you’ve professed. Someone walks in and pays your fine for you. Now the judge can legally dismiss your case and let you go. This is the gospel message. What you must do is repent (turn from your sins) and follow Jesus as Lord. This following is enabled by God when He gives you new desires and a heart that wants to please God instead of the flesh.

        April 10, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
        • kenmargo

          @ dumb follower 00............... Here's my answers

          1. How many lies would you say you’ve told in your life? Plenty. (You obviously haven't seen my resume.)

          2. Have you ever stolen anything regardless of its value? Of course. (I've lost count of the number of pens.)

          3. Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word? (called blasphemy) AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE (in short f%ck him)

          4.have you ever looked at a woman/man lustfully?(if so, Jesus said you have committed adultery with that person in your heart.) Do you think I married my wife because she plays checkers?

          If you’re like me, you are a self professed lying, stealing, blaspheming adulterer at heart or some form thereof.
          Please do not insult me by comparing yourself to me. (I don't BS people)

          Answer my questions:

          If your god is all great:

          Why can't he stop a school shootings?
          Explain why PRO LIFE republicans are against healthcare reform.
          Why he allows miscarrages (same as abortion)
          Tell us where that plane is?
          Allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. (they got here the same way straight people got here.)

          I have ZERO interest in being saved. When they nailed his son to the cross, they wasted good nails. I'm not worried about dealth BECAUSE EVERYBODY DIES. If people that believed lived longer, you'd have me right there with you.

          If there is a heaven I'll be there. GUARANTEED. Because there are plenty of christians just like you that think Gearge W. Bush is going to heaven. This is a man that has more blood on his hands than a butcher. Lied about the Iraq war, 5,000 soldiers killed in iraq, tens of thousand injured, over 100,000 innocent Iraqis dead. Bush is my benchmark. If he's going to heaven, I'll be right there with him.

          April 10, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Kenmargo,

          You seem to indicate that school shootings and miscarriages are bad things. On atheism, why are these or anything bad?

          April 10, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
        • kenmargo

          You seem to indicate that school shootings and miscarriages are bad things.

          I guess it's ok if it isn't your kids.

          April 10, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "I guess it’s ok if it isn’t your kids."

          Wow. That's flat out scary.

          April 10, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
        • kenmargo

          @Crazy follower 00.............. This was YOUR REPLY

          "You seem to indicate that school shootings and miscarriages are bad things. On atheism, why are these or anything bad?"

          That means YOU were OK with those things. So don't try to twist it. The responses are on record!

          April 10, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
        • kenmargo

          You still haven't answered MY questions. I answered yours.

          April 10, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          I certainly think things like shoot shootings are morally horrendous. What I was asking you was on atheism, why are things like school shootings morally bad?

          April 10, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Please get atheism out of the equation. I'm against guns period. They serve zero purpose. Atheism has nothing to do with it. I believe you should try to do right by people. Try to be the best person you can be. Help your fellow man/woman whenever possible. If you have a problem, lets talk about a solution. If you want to pray, fine. Do it privately and then come out and lets solve the problem. Man created 99% of the problems, man needs to solve 99% of the problems.

          April 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Time for me to go. I'm off tomorrow. To all have a nice weekend. Be safe during your travels.

          April 10, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Ken,

          Think about this. On atheism, good and evil don't really exist. The person who does these horrendous things doesn't really do anything morally evil. If Hitler thought that what he did was morally good, was he wrong? If so, why?

          April 10, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
        • Akira

          What does "on atheism" mean?
          I've asked this repeatedly. Can you answer it, please?

          April 10, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Actually, good and bad exist with or without religion. All it takes is human empathy to understand that hurting others is wrong. I guess believers can't comprehend simple empathy, because their religion tells them it's okay to hate those who don't believe exactly as they do. I guess that's why Hitler's catholic and lutheran followers had no problem with his extermination of jews, gypsies and gays.

          As an atheist, I'm not constrained by religion. I can easily comprehend that bigotry based on an old book of myths is evil and wrong.

          April 10, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
        • Akira

          Tal, you brought up Hitler. TF seems to be particularly enamored with him. Beware.

          Do YOU have a clue as to what "on atheism" is? Because TF won't answer.

          April 10, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
        • Doris

          On atheism – truthf describes that as a world without God.

          Let's review:

          truthf wants his audience to commit to a value for a non-specific "good/bad/correct/incorrect/evil", etc. without making it clear which is being agreed to. When honestly discussing objective versus subjective morality all values for "good" "bad", etc. should be specified.

          Of course truthf is not interested in a subjective answer but only to get the responder to commit to a value that he can then attempt to claim as objective. This is why he asks – "is it wrong?" with no qualification that should be present for such an argument. If he explicitly asks qualifying with "objective", then he will have exposed himself as using objectivity in trying to demonstrate an alleged "truth" about objectivity (which would look circularly foolish). He has to be disingenuous in trying to put the cart before the horse; to put an alleged divine "truth" in front of proving the source for it.

          @truthf

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Prove that objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means. Can you do that? You know – demonstrate either your God or your direct connection to his "truths" without letting subjectivity enter the picture? We wouldn't want subjectivity tainting your demonstration of your direct connection to your god.

          April 10, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Tallulah,

          "All it takes is human empathy to understand that hurting others is wrong."

          Wrong according to who?

          April 10, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          I did respond to you last night using subjective morality in my scenario.

          April 10, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
        • Doris

          truthf: " did respond to you last night using subjective morality in my scenario."

          And just what did that do for your case alleging that objective (divine) morality exists on its own in the world?

          April 10, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          This is the world we live in. Those people who thought it morally good to sacrifice their children were mistaken. I don't need opinions to determine that it was and is morally wicked to so this. What good is it to say "I subjectively believe they were wrong" when this does absolutely nothing to determine if the were in fact wrong.

          On your subjective view of morality, can you ever be wrong or mistaken about what is morally good or evil?

          April 10, 2014 at 11:39 pm |
        • Doris

          There you go again "wrong" with no qualifier....

          Let's review:

          truthf wants his audience to commit to a value for a non-specific "good/bad/correct/incorrect/evil", etc. without making it clear which is being agreed to. When honestly discussing objective versus subjective morality all values for "good" "bad", etc. should be specified.

          Of course truthf is not interested in a subjective answer but only to get the responder to commit to a value that he can then attempt to claim as objective. This is why he asks – "is it wrong?" with no qualification that should be present for such an argument. If he explicitly asks qualifying with "objective", then he will have exposed himself as using objectivity in trying to demonstrate an alleged "truth" about objectivity (which would look circularly foolish). He has to be disingenuous in trying to put the cart before the horse; to put an alleged divine "truth" in front of proving the source for it.

          @truthf

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Prove that objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means. Can you do that? You know – demonstrate either your God or your direct connection to his "truths" without letting subjectivity enter the picture? We wouldn't want subjectivity tainting your demonstration of your direct connection to your god.

          April 10, 2014 at 11:50 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          On your subjective view, is anyone ever really (objectively) wrong or right? Is one person's view, say, Hitlers as equally valid as the next, say, yours?

          On your subjective view of morality, can you ever be wrong or mistaken about what is morally good or evil?

          April 11, 2014 at 12:02 am |
        • Doris

          truthf: "On your subjective view, is anyone ever really (objectively) wrong or right?"

          It's all about terms, dear – which you love to mix and match to keep you on that steady ride around the park with blinders on.

          But no, imho, there is no objective right and wrong. I think as a society we strive toward common values at times – so subjectivity goes beyond personal taste. But nothing purely objective – not something that exists on its own in the world. That's an attribute that goes with the God that you can't prove.

          April 11, 2014 at 12:11 am |
        • Doris

          regarding the mixing and matching from your previous post:

          "can you ever be wrong or mistaken about what is morally good or evil?"

          wrong, mistaken, good, evil – those all need qualifiers – subjective or objective?

          April 11, 2014 at 12:13 am |
        • Cybershaman

          You do realize that that sounds like any infomercial selling products that are pieces of crap or all out lies for $19.99 at 3am? You've proved nothing. All you've done is take out the cheap Xeroxed pamphlet of some broken down piece of...something that you were duped into buying and read it to everyone. It's meaningless. This is what is creating the concern – some call it "fear" – in the religious community. It's that more and more people the world over now have immediate access to information. The glue that keeps religion together is fear and it's worked for literally centuries. And for those people that keep saying that the church of today – whatever that is to you – doesn't do that any more is deluding themselves even more. It's what they do best.

          When I was younger, growing up in a hyper-religious home, it was television. Before that, books. For centuries the church/et al wouldn't even let the vast majority of their followers even HAVE the actual writings! So now, everything – essentially, since it could be argued that we still have a way to go yet – is freely available. If you look carefully, they've even given it a name. It's called "postmodernism". Essentially, it means that nobody is going to argue with you if you simply refer back to the thing that is being argued about, in this case whatever particular "holy" text you are referring to, for validation. It's like saying "alligators are green because green is the colors of alligators". It's meaningless. And church leaders know that. So what do they do? They pull out their toolbox and grab the best tool for the job that has worked for years, even millennia: fear. Nope. Questioning is even MORE of a sin! Oh, man! It's scarier than EVAR! Watch out for these people and their facts! You will go to hell if you even THINK about questioning things! And that's what it all boils down to: fear of thinking. You cannot have absolute power over a population that thinks for itself. It's a pesky thing, this thinking. You actually have to back up what you're saying and refute what the other person is saying. And I'm sorry but more and more, religion is losing because people are slowly beginning to realize that believing in something that isn't there is NOT a virtue. Now that you can back up what you are saying by looking up information in seconds – and, yes, even faulty information which is fine because you have the ability to attempt to find something to actually refute it – arguing by simply repeating your argument just makes you sound, well, like an idiot. I really hope that the "tipping point", as Richard Dawkins refers it, comes soon.

          A note on postmodernism: keep an eye out for its use by religious leaders. I've noticed that they don't really use it publically much because, again, it sounds silly and paranoid but it's there. I'm not sure when they started talking about it but I began to hear it in the mid to late 00's. And it's nothing nefarious either. It's simply the act of being skeptical. Skeptical with regard to always doing the new or different thing by default (modernism). I personally have no problem with being referred to as postmodern. To me it just simply means that I am using my brain to the best of my ability. Again, thinking is the enemy of religion, which is why you hear believers constantly define things with statements like "it's called blasphemy" ("I know, God! I'm just trying to make a point here to these heathens! I know what it is! Don't send me to Hell!") or literally cross themselves or whatever if they stray even a bit into the realm of critical thought. This fixation on postmodernism is just an interesting observation of mine. There's really no point to it other than it being yet another demonstration of the church demonizing questioning religious things.

          April 11, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          1. As scary as it sounds, it’s really not more than personal taste. It’s whatever you want it to be. Think about that. It’s whatever you want it to be.

          2. On your subjective view of morality, can you ever mistaken about what what you think is subjectively morally good or evil? Are you always subjectively right, regardless of what you think?

          April 11, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          I'm retiring for the night. Thank you for the conversation. I'll check back tomorrow to see if you followed up.

          April 11, 2014 at 12:33 am |
        • Doris

          truthf: "As scary as it sounds, it’s really not more than personal taste. It’s whatever you want it to be. Think about that. It’s whatever you want it to be."

          Being responsible for one's self in the world can be scary. But again it is more than personal taste. we don't think in a vacuum; we build and modify the laws we live by collectively.

          And again, I suspect you do the same.

          truthf: "On your subjective view of morality, can you ever mistaken about what what you think is subjectively morally good or evil? Are you always subjectively right, regardless of what you think?"

          Of course not. People frequently have to face their transgressions against society when they break the law, which represents the collective, subjective opinion. But also, sometimes the subjectively right/wrong is not the same between people, especially in different cultures.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Prove that objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means. Can you do that? You know – demonstrate either your God or your direct connection to his "truths" without letting subjectivity enter the picture? We wouldn't want subjectivity tainting your demonstration of your direct connection to your god.

          April 11, 2014 at 1:16 am |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Russ,

      Not religion but evil doers who misguide weak humans to do evil acts.

      April 10, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
  4. Mike Ford

    I went to church Sunday. So did a lot of other people, so I guess the obvious answer to the headline's question is "no."

    April 10, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
    • kenmargo

      The problem is a lot fewer people are going. I went to church at my wife's request awhile back. Haven't been back since. Told her if she tried again, the next person she'll be taking to church is her divorce lawyer.

      April 10, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
      • transframer

        I am sorry to hear you have such marriage problems

        April 10, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Who said I have problems? We've been married going on 18 years. There are things I do she doesn't like. We're not the waltons or the cosbys.

          April 10, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • Starshine

          Rather a disingenuous thing to ascertain from kenmargo's post.
          It is not as if he is asking her to give up her church, is it?

          April 10, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
        • kenmargo

          You're right, I didn't ask her to give it up. She goes with my blessing. I told her why I have zero interest. (The rev. made zero sense to me) She's okay with it.

          April 10, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
  5. abigchocoholic

    I just watched a youtube video of a debate between a physicist and a bible thumper. In the debate the physicist put up on the screen

    1. Bill O'Reily pumping religion saying nobody knows what causes the tides to come in or go out; it's a miracle from God.
    2. A TV minister claiming atoms should not be held together because sub-atomic particles repel each other and should just push away but the glue that holds them is the miracle of Jesus Christ.

    Needless to say the physicist easily explained both with well known scientific principals and used the point as a springboard to explain how the religious, when they reach the limits of their small amount of understanding, try to assign everything beyond their understanding to their God.

    It was so funny. And entertaining! Especially the part about Bill O'Reilly. I mean the guy is a famous TV personality and he's as ignorant on science as an elementary school child.

    April 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
    • Angelica

      O'Reilly is a brilliant man, but knows exactly which base to pander to for maximum power and money.
      He knows how the tides work. He lies to his base. And they lap it up like the simpletons they are as they hang on his every word while they run out to buy his next ghost-written book.

      April 10, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
      • kenmargo

        Is he brilliant or a con man?

        April 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
        • swipedcard

          Unfortunately, one can be a brilliant con man.

          April 10, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
        • Starshine

          I think every con-man has some brilliance...but the people who can see through the con are truly the brilliant ones.

          April 10, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
  6. anjisan63

    Here's why the Internet is slowly killing religion.

    No child over 8 or 9 years old wants to be found out by his peers still believing in Santa Claus. When they're 4 or 5? Perfectly alright. All their peers believe the same thing, and they all emote great enthusiasm for Saint Nick amongst themselves. Then a kid or two finds out... No Santa. The rest don't want to believe the kids who know the truth. Santa is good, just, and brings them presents every Christmas. What's not to like about Santa Clause?

    Then a couple more kids find out. They confer together. They know the truth. It's their parents putting presents out. Well. That's not so bad, but they start looking at the other kids. The ones who still believe in Santa Clause. They start questioning them. "Why do you still believe that"? "Why is it so important to believe in Santa"? "It doesn't really matter, you'll still get presents".

    The kids who believe in Santa Clause resist the change, but eventually, they have to admit the truth. No Santa.

    The internet is the older kids who know the truth about Santa. There is no God. Only stories and mythology without any corroborating facts. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. We try to explain that "Faith" is not a word to be flung around like some wholesome club of virtuousness. It's not. It's merely a willful cloak of ignorance, the little-minded children wrap themselves up in as they continue to play-pretend that magical beings exist in the sky who are tracking their every movements and care very, very deeply about their lives and commitments these people have made to their magical sky Daddy Figure.

    Frankly, many of us "Who Know" are getting kind of embarrassed by the number of people "Who don't know" this. We watch you go to churches, and gather together to reinforce the lunancy which is running rampant amongst you all. Personally, I live in a G##D##M Lunatic Asylum that is being run by the inmates, and this place is coming down around our ears while all the loonies insist that they're Napolean and their ideas will lead us all to greatness.

    No it won't. All the lunancy will do is continue to drive the asylum into total ruin.

    With luck, the internet may educate enough people to where we may slowly wrest control of the asylum away from the inmates before everything is destroyed. Hopefully. I'm not counting on it yet though.

    April 10, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
  7. norcaljoe

    Hold thy peace, and come out of him in Jesus name.

    April 10, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
    • doobzz

      Are you trying to cast demons out of the internet?

      April 11, 2014 at 1:34 am |
      • Doris

        lol

        April 11, 2014 at 1:47 am |
  8. norcaljoe

    Jesus came to fulfill the law of atonement. (blood sacrifice) He became our Passover, through His crucifixion, and our eternal life by His resurrection. He preached the coming Kingdom of God, and the certain keeping of promises given to our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    April 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
    • anjisan63

      Jesus came to be the Blood Sacrifice? Really? Ya know, for a fella who could create matter out of non-matter, energy out of non-energy.... God sure made a lot of mistakes in the Old Testament and sure required a whole lot of sacrifices. When we hit the New Testament, he even requires the sacrifice of his son.

      I'm not so sure you're following a being of pure light and enlightenment. Sounds more like your worshiping a Pagan Blood God.

      April 10, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
  9. new-man

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeV0P_uqAEI&w=640&h=390]

    Dr. Andrew Farley – "God Without Religion"

    I believe the internet is great for believers. One can be a student of many teachers simultaneously and vice versa without having to leave a geographical area.
    There are multi.tudes of sermons, information, and revelation readily available.
    There's no need to guess at what is happening within the body of Christ (the Church) as a quick and relevant search will reveal all those details.

    "what is ending is a whole pattern of how we stewarded the activity of God; and something new and beautiful and majestic is unfolding because Jesus is the Lord of Nations, He is the desirer of Nations. The saints demonstrate the power of the age to come in the midst of a decaying age." Dr. L Wallnau

    There's much more to come folks, because those who know their God will do exploits!
    Blessings

    April 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LOL "Dr." Andrew Farley... LOL

      No thanks...

      April 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
    • Akira

      I was unable to find any educational background on Mr. Farley.

      April 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
      • new-man

        it's not difficult to find.

        April 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • Starshine

          I haven't found it either. Perhaps you can cut the coyness out and just tell us?

          April 10, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
        • Starshine

          How very strange. His web site didn't give his educational background, either.

          April 10, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
      • joey3467

        Having watched the video that is not at all surprising.

        April 10, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
  10. kenmargo

    As you've all heard about by now, a kid stabbed 21 people in Pennsylvania. Again god fails us by NOT preventing this from happening. All the praying done after all the previous school violence didn't do much. I guess you could say things are getting better because no one died and he DIDN'T have a gun (Don't tell the gun nuts this). It's acts of violence like this that will kill religion quicker than any thing else.

    April 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
    • Russ

      @ kenmargo: i guess mom's to blame here, too...
      "never put salt in your eye"

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_83MEuLoz9Y&w=640&h=390]

      April 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
  11. bostontola

    Is the Internet killing religion?

    Headlines are not usually written by the author and are composed to be provocative. This one certainly fits the bill.

    Religion as a whole will likely be part of society for centuries at least. Specific religions will wax and wane. The ones that stick to primitive creation ideas and shun progress are more likely to wane. I expect new variants to gain numbers.

    People like to be in groups, so attractive religions will grow. The internet makes all the competing ideas quicker and easier to access. This will increase the rate of religious evolution. As in any evolutionary process, some religious species will become extinct.

    April 10, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      I agree. I would not say attractive but what is righteous. A qualification of a true God. There is only one God, all Gods in various religion may be the same provided they have the same teachings.

      April 10, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
  12. Salero21

    Atheists is time for another short quiz!!
    Answer to the best of your knowledge (science). Do your best which is the Worst that Mankind has to offer.

    Second Quiz
    a) Atheists are extreme hypocrites.
    b) Atheists are compulsive Liars.
    c) Atheists are Pathological Liars.
    d) All of the above.

    April 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
    • Jaymes

      Please stop bringing shame to Christians. Definition: False accusation is very closely related to slander. Slander is a false report maliciously uttered, with the intention of injuring the reputation of another.

      1. Accusing others falsely, or "bearing false witness," as it is usually referred to in the Bible, is specifically condemned and forbidden by the Lord.

      * Exodus 20:16 [The Ninth Commandment says:] Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

      * Exodus 23:1,7a Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 7a Keep thee far from a false matter.

      2. Accusing falsely is a form of lying.

      * Proverbs 6:16,19a [The Lord hates] a false witness that speaketh lies.

      * Proverbs 10:18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.

      * Proverbs 12:17 He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.

      * Proverbs 14:5 A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.

      3. At the root of false accusations there are very often the serious sins of pride, selfishness, bitterness, jealousy or envy, as illustrated in the Bible:

      * Numbers 16:3 [Korah and his cohorts jealously accused Moses and Aaron:] And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?

      * Esther 3:2,5,8 [His pride wounded, Haman maliciously accused all the Jews to King Ahasuerus:] And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence. 5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. 8 And Haman said unto King Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them

      April 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
      • Salero21

        So then... you don't believe that atheists are in Fact extreme Hypocrites, compulsive and pathological Liars. That in Spite of the Fact that the whole Blog and History itself are Full to the brim with their Pathetic Hypocrisy and Lies. I have plenty of Personal experience and knowledge with these.

        CAN YOU DISPROVE OR REFUTE WHAT I SAID IN THE QUIZ?

        April 10, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
      • Salero21

        Are you such a naivete, as to compare atheists with Moses and Esther and me to Korah and Aman? Really, really!!!

        April 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • kenmargo

      If you think christianity is superior why do atheists bother you? Jesus, (according to stories) was nailed to a cross. Do you think what an atheists say would really bother him if he was real? The church has protected child molesters, several preachers had affairs (swaggart, coy), pro-life before birth couldn't care after birth etc etc.. Please stop using the word hypocrite to discribe others. It makes you look foolish.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
    • iamyourgod2014

      Hi Salero21, Tis I God again. You need to sound more blood thirsty than your post. I need you to let the non-believers know what is waiting for them in H-E-double-hockey shcticks afterall
      Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
      And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
      Burn baby Burn!!
      Anywhoooo---Dont you worry bout them non-justin beliebers--Jesus is waiting with his poker at the gates to poke their eyes out..... Satan got laid off, we had to downsize (it's been really tough:( )
      Toodles love God

      April 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
  13. Salero21

    Atheists is time for a short quiz!! Answer to the best of your knowledge (science). Do your best which is the Worst that Mankind has to offer.

    First Quiz.

    a) Atheism is Total Stupidity.
    b) Evolution is Complete Stupidity.
    c) Idolatry is Absolute Stupidity.
    d) All of the above.

    April 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
    • kenmargo

      I think you're mistaken, This sounds like a question for Christians or Muslims.

      April 10, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • davida2014

      THERE IS NO GOD , THEIR NEVER HAS BEEN A GOD NOR WILL THERE EVER BE A GOD....IN CASE YOUR WONDERING THE EXTREME MYTH OF THEIR BEING A GOD, PROVE IT TO ME...A WORK OF FICTION TO CONTROL LITTLE MINDS LIKE YOU.....YOU LITTLE FASCIST RACIST CREEPS ME OUT.....HOW PATHETIC PEOPLE ARE....RELIGION UTTERLY STUPID AND DEAD IN MY EYES......YOU CAN TAKE THIS SO CALLED BOOK OF FICTION AND FLUSH IT......

      April 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
    • anjisan63

      Salero21... Let me ask you a little question. Do you believe in Dog or Horse breeding? Do people do that? Here is a link to what 100 years of artificial breeding programs have done to various types of Dogs (http://dogbehaviorscience.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/100-years-of-breed-improvement/)

      This is evolution working on through artificially-created selection over just about 100 years. Now imagine natural selection running for tens of millions of years.

      Evolution really is that easy to understand. Any 4 year old child would understand the truth behind the science. When it comes to you, I'm going to have to speak with your 4 year old child, because I suspect they're the adult in your relationship.

      April 10, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
      • Salero21

        Amazing!!! More Evidence on top of more Evidence that atheism/evolutionism/idolatry are all Absolute, Complete and Total NON-SENSE. God Create ALL the Animals in TWO days. Now this Weird atheists think that because artificial insemination and breeding has "created" some sub-species that more than enough "proof" of nature creating itself through Macro-evolution.

        On top of that in his feeble imagination he/she believes that breeding is "artificial". No need to look any further. This is one good piece of Evidence of the Absolute, Complete and Total Stupidity of atheism/evolutionism and idolatry.

        April 10, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
        • enderspeakerforthedead

          solero

          What are stating is known as the logical fallacies, "Special Pleading," and "Special Knowledge."
          There are no logically coherent statements in your argument.

          June 2, 2014 at 12:00 am |
    • swipedcard

      You violated rule #1 of quiz writing: you can't write the quiz if you have all the wrong answers

      April 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
      • Salero21

        Who swiped you?

        April 10, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
        • iamyourgod2014

          Ya Salero21! you get him. ya take that and that swipecard. (pursed lips, narrowed eyes, arms crossed) jesus and noah and adam and eve and steve and bruce almighty, we all waiting for you at the gates.

          And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. stompy stompy stomp stomp.

          April 10, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
  14. gulliblenomore

    A conservative estimate at best.....

    April 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
  15. hsheng06

    "kill religion" may be a big word. Better call it a counterbalance. Don't forget that even Christianity was once a bloody, killing-people religion.

    April 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      When did it stop being that?

      April 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
      • iamyourgod2014

        OMG (a.k.a me), you mean lucifer's evil twin really exists??? That was just a fairy tale I made up to scare Jesus when he was being bad. Wow this is cray cray. I love the internet I am being connect with so many people. It's just kind of hard to type and float. you and your brother are totally invited over for the last supper tonight. BYOW !

        April 10, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
  16. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    "Is the Internet killing religion?" Doubtful... There will always be sad insecure people looking for a divine father-figure to make them feel important and relevant in the big bad scary universe.

    April 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
  17. bostontola

    If God created life, then God created evolution.

    Bacteria and viruses are in a constant pitch battle, never ending. New bacteria are evolving all the time. DNA is exchanged, new life forms emerge, some deadly to man. If God created bacteria and viruses, then God created evolution.

    These micro-organisms exchange DNA with animals, us included. The smoking guns are found easily in our own genes. If God created animals, plants, and us with "clean" DNA, it is different now, we are different.

    You can't get around it, if God created life, God created evolution (yes, that includes the silly category of "macro-evolution").

    April 10, 2014 at 11:36 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      Bacteria and viruses changing into other forms of bacteria and viruses isn't macro evolution. Everything has the ability to adapt, and that's all that you're seeing.

      April 10, 2014 at 11:42 am |
      • bostontola

        You conveniently ignored the other part of my post where their DNA is in ours and is responsible for function in our bodies. That has been conclusively shown.

        April 10, 2014 at 11:53 am |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        There is no macro evolution, it's all micro evolution. Much like an avalanche, these micro changes build up to a tipping point in a species evolutionary change which is what the anti-evolutionists want to see happening right now but will likely never get to see. We are watching the snow flakes fall, we may never see the avalanche in our life times due to time in between avalanches which can take millions of years of epigenetic changes before we see a new limb or change a major feature that humans would then classify as a "new" species.

        April 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • joey3467

        Basically what you have done is admit that evolution occurs,and then refused to call it evolution.

        April 10, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
      • kudlak

        Theo
        How do you account for the distribution of different kinds of life throughout the geological strata, showing a progression from simpler, aquatic forms to large land animals? A massive flood would have mixed all the fossils up in some jumble, right?

        April 10, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
      • sam stone

        theo: why do we have tailbones?

        April 11, 2014 at 9:53 am |
      • enderspeakerforthedead

        theo

        Arguing that there is no macro-evolution without micro-evolution is like stating you cannot walk a kilometer without using meters. It is known as, "Moving the Goal Posts," logical fallacy.

        June 2, 2014 at 12:04 am |
    • anjisan63

      "...You can't get around it, if God created life, God created evolution (yes, that includes the silly category of "macro-evolution")..."

      Can't get around it? Your conclusion? What a fine argument you've made to. It started like this:

      "...If God created life, then God created evolution..."

      And then went nowhere because you left the big question hanging.... Did God create life? Your entire argument hinged on the concept of "God Created Life, and Therefore is in Charge of Evolution". Fine. Prove it. Show us your evidence that God created life.

      April 10, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
  18. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    "We can blame the Internet for plenty: the proliferation of po-rn, ..." Unquote.

    Indeed, there is a high temptation to watch po-rns on the Internet. But, I guess, Americans yet abused TV for watching certain movies, when the Germans still had got no TV. Actually, every technical medium can be abused, even print media (po-rn magazine).

    How to escape "watching po-rns on the Internet"? Don't have it at home where you are alone, and no human observes you, but use it at the internet cafe or any library. Few of us will be so clinical that they would dare to watch po-rns at a public place. Internet is only dangerous, if we use it at a lonely place.

    It is just a matter of handling. The Internet can be of great benefit for the one who uses it with wisdom. There are also sites about faith, Jesus, etc.

    Monday I have published an article about the drought in Bavaria and God, and immediately got a very high ranking on "google". If a Bavarian enters "Trockenheit, Bayern", he or she will certainly find my article including some statements about our current society worldwide and God's judgement. Ain't that positive?

    The Internet is not impersonal or only virtual. It depends on the user. Two users meeting each other on the web could simply arrange an appointment, and meet each other at a restaurant or so. Then it would become obvious that Internet is part of reality. Nobody would say that newspaper adverts are virtual. Imagine a job ad. If you call there, and get a job, it has turned out that the job ad was part of reality. It depends on you.

    I also would suggest to establish a culture of "real-name-using".

    Main reason for decreasing religious affiliation: The power elite of today is totally godless. They consider humans only as manpower (human resources). They want to exploit everybody up to the maximum. A Church which would give the people some backing and a home, would stand in theirs way. Only uprooted people can get perfectly exploited. Therefore, I am convinced, the power elite of today hates the true Christian Church standing up for love of neighbour and righteousness. Simingly, we have reached the stage of the Antichrist. who only seeks his own benefit, and is not concerned about the happiness of his subjects. On the contrary, he offers us for his personal wellbeing.

    If the churches of today had not turned apostate, they would tell their members that they should have no Internet connection at home because Internet is really dangerous at a lonely place. Yet, they are more concerned about the number of the workplaces of the telecommunications industry than about the soul's health of their believers.

    May Jesus return soon, and kill the tyrants ruling us.

    April 10, 2014 at 11:31 am |
    • observer

      What would you know about Jesus?

      You are totally CLUELESS about what he said "the law and the prophets is all about".

      April 10, 2014 at 11:35 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        He did not say that he would have come to keep the law of the Torah, but to fulfill it. That is a great difference.

        Jesus character prompted him to live a life of love, simply because He Himself was love.

        Concluision: Christian love is the fulfillment of the law of the Torah (St. Paul confirms that).

        We fulfill the law (that is much more than keeping it) when we remain in Jesus, in the heavenly state of health, in God himself.

        April 10, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • James XCIX

          Rainer – "He did not say that he would have come to keep the law of the Torah, but to fulfill it."

          You're leaving the rest he said out. The full quote is:

          Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

          Sounds to me like he's saying the law still needs to be followed–since heaven and earth have not disappeared, everything is clearly not accomplished. So, just was does it mean that he "fulfilled" the law?

          April 10, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
      • observer

        Rainer Helmut Braendlein,

        Still TOTALLY CLUELESS, but you don't believe it enough to follow it anyway.

        What did Jesus say "IS WHAT THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS ARE ALL ABOUT”?

        This is pretty important to him. Why haven't you read a Bible and know?

        April 10, 2014 at 11:50 am |
    • ausphor

      Herr Helmut
      Trolling, trolling, trolling and you excuse other people of being trolls.

      April 10, 2014 at 11:40 am |
      • ausphor

        accuse, excuse doesn't work all that well.

        April 10, 2014 at 11:41 am |
      • iamyourgod2014

        Hi ausphor , it's me god...(me waving and standing with my toes pointed inward, doing my shy look..wait i dont have toes, ...wait what do I look like?) I like trolling too. me and jesus just learned how to do that. we should have started this 2000 years ago, like why didnt someone tell me bout da net!! trolly trolly troll troll i live under a bridge.

        April 10, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
    • Akira

      Your search – “Trockenheit, Bayern” rainier braendlein – did not match any documents.

      Suggestions:

      Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
      Try different keywords.
      Try more general keywords.
      Try fewer keywords.

      April 10, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        My German website has got the name http://www.glaubereal.wordpress.com

        Try it again. It will work.

        April 10, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • Akira

          Oooh! Your blogged on your German blog! I thought you wrote an article that wasn't self-published. I understand.

          April 10, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
  19. iamyourgod2014

    Hi guys. Its god again. I noticed the same people that were commenting on the pastors downfall are on here trolling around! HOLLA!! Do you guys get time off work to do this? Jesus and I would like to know. Do tell. Oh and what is your view on the dinosaurs? I'm coming up with another version of the new testament, but I dont know how to explain that one. Gimmie some thoughts please.

    April 10, 2014 at 10:48 am |
    • swipedcard

      ....and don't forget to send money! God needs money! Mail to PO Box 105503. MONEY MONEY MONEY.

      April 10, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
      • iamyourgod2014

        Hi swipedcard. it's god. yes thank you, money is great, we take any kind of currency, (except pesos, sigh...yes, jesus treats the mexicans like second class citizens in heaven too....sigh....what to do what to do...) It is real easy to pay your way into heaven. p.s can you tell me how to beat level 92 in candy crush?
        The lord giveth and taketh, upward and onward, tally-ho!

        keep up the good work loyal servant

        April 10, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
  20. Rynomite

    The Internet is absolutely helping to kill religion. 20 years ago, skeptics went to church and really didn't have anyone to talk to about the 1000 little irrationalities of their religion that kept nagging their head. Now within a few clicks, they can not only find well formed arguments against religion, but also find thousands upon thousands of like minded thinkers inhabiting forums.

    April 10, 2014 at 10:21 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.