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My Take: How technology could bring down the church
May 15th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: How technology could bring down the church

Editor's Note: Lisa Miller, formerly the religion editor at Newsweek, is the author of “Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife,” recently released in paperback.

By Lisa Miller, Special to CNN

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, and Bible publishers are ostentatiously commemorating the landmark by producing an abundance of gorgeous doorstops. Leather bound Bibles. Two-volume sets. Replicas of the 1611 version complete with “original” illustrations.

The hoopla is entirely justified, since the King James Bible revolutionized Bible reading, bringing Scripture into a common vernacular for the first time for the English-speaking world.

It is not too much to say that the King James Bible - mass produced as it was, thanks to a new technology called the printing press - democratized religion by taking it out of the hands of the clerical few and giving it to the many.

Today, another revolution in Bible reading is underway – one that has nothing to do with gilt-edged paper. If the King James Bible brought the Bible to the English-speaking masses, today’s technology goes a giant step further, making Scripture - in any language and any translation - accessible to anyone on earth with a smartphone.

Just like the 500-year-old Protestant Reformation, which was aided by the advent of the printing press and which helped give birth to the King James Bible, changes wrought by new technology have the potential to bring down the church as we know it.

In the face of church leaders who claimed that only they could interpret the Bible for the common people, Reformation leaders like Martin Luther taught that nothing supersedes the authority of the Word itself.

"A simple layman armed with Scripture,” Luther wrote, “is greater than the mightiest pope without it."

In that vein, digital technology gives users the text, plain and simple, without the interpretive lens of established authorities. And it lets users share interpretations with other non-authorities, like family members, friends and coworkers.

With Scripture on iPhones and iPads, believers can bypass constraining religious structures - otherwise known as “church” - in favor of a more individual connection with God.

This helps solve a problem that Christian leaders are increasingly articulating: that even among people who say that Jesus Christ is their personal Lord and savior, folks don’t read the Bible.

According to a 2010 survey, more than a third of born-again Christians “rarely or never” read the Bible. Among “unaffiliated” people - that is, Americans who don’t belong to a religious congregation - more than two thirds say they don’t read the Bible.

Especially among 18-to-29 year olds, Bible reading has come to feel like homework, associated with “right” interpretations and “wrong ones,” and accompanied by stern lectures from the pulpit.

Young Christians “have come to expect experiences that appear unscripted and interactive,” the Christian demographer Dave Kinnaman told the Christian magazine Charisma in 2009, “that allow them to be open and honest with their questions, that are technologically stimulating, that are done alongside peers and within trusted relationships.”

This yearning for a more unmediated faith - including Bible verses live in your pocket or purse 24/7, available to inspire or console wherever and whenever they’re needed - has met an enthusiastic embrace.

For growing numbers of young people, a leather-bound Bible sitting like an artifact on a stand in the family living room has no allure. It’s not an invitation to exploration or questioning.

Young people want to “consume” their spirituality the way they do their news or their music. They want to dip and dabble, the way they browse Facebook.

Thus the almost-insane popularity of Youversion, a digital Bible available for free on iTunes and developed by a 34-year-old technology buff and Christian pastor from Oklahoma named Bobby Gruenewald. He conceived of it, he told me, while on a layover at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, wishing he had a Bible to read.

“What we’re really trying to address is, how do we increase engagement in the Bible?” he said.

Now available in 113 versions and 41 languages, including Arabic, Youversion has a community component that allows users to share thoughts and insights on Bible verses with friends. It has been installed on more than 20 million smartphones since 2008.

On May 2, Youversion staged its own King James commemorative event: for 400 seconds, starting at noon, more than 10,0000 users logged on and read a portion of the Bible – King James translation, of course - a kind of 21st century Bible-reading flash mob.

Traditionalists worry that technology allows young believers to practice religion without committing to what in the south is called “a church home” - and they’re right.

I did a public Q&A with Michigan pastor Rob Bell on the eve of the publication of his new bestseller "Love Wins" and was astonished, during the book-signing that followed, at how many acolytes felt they knew Rob through his sermons, which they regularly downloaded off the internet, even though they had never met him. They hailed from places like Australia, South Africa and New Jersey.

They listen to Bell while they’re working out, or commuting to work. They get their religion - like their meals - on the run.

It is now possible to imagine the extinction of the family Bible, long given as a gift on graduation day or other big occasions and inscribed with special dates: births, marriages, deaths.

Instead, the Bible may someday exist exclusively online, with features that allow for personalization: Link to photos of weddings and baptisms! “Share” favorite verses!

When Bible study can be done on Facebook as easily as in the church basement, and a favorite preacher can teach lessons via podcast, the necessity of physically gathering each week in the same place with the same people turns remote.

Without a doubt, this represents a new crisis for organized religion, a challenge to think again about what it means to be a “body” of believers.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Lisa Miller.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Opinion • Technology

soundoff (1,564 Responses)
  1. Josh

    You know as far as I'm concerned, good riddance. Organized religion is the worst thing that has happened to individual spirituality. The last thing any believer of any religion needs is a self-righteous MAN spouting his beliefs from the pulpit and presenting them as unquestionable fact. Maybe I only feel this way because I live in a southern baptist part of the Bible belt, but I highly doubt it.

    May 16, 2011 at 4:37 am |
  2. HJN

    It never ceases to amaze me how the discussion on the relevance of faith quickly gets pigeon-holed by some as being pretty irrelevant to our times, when, in fact, what's often needed is some fresh perspective on the subject. Here's an interesting piece recently published which asks us to examine why we take refuge in a particular view: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/aug/08/excess-adam-phillips – we're back to asking why we have certain basic needs. Is this all purely 'natural', or does it point to more going on within ourselves and our universe? Perhaps the answer is more challenging and disturbing than we care to consider, but I'd agree with C S Lewis that these very needs point to the answer.

    May 16, 2011 at 4:02 am |
  3. 317Simon150

    The King James Bible did revolutionize Bible reading by making it available to the masses. The problem with the article is that it fails to realize that the original mass production and distribution of the Bible helped the Church to grow exponentially and strengthen the beliefs of everyday people. It says, “changes wrought by new technology have the potential to bring down the church as we know it.” The printing of the Bible did not bring down the Church five hundred years ago. Instead, it helped and encouraged the Church to grow and become more inclusive. Yes, many hard and difficult years followed after the printing press created numerous copies , but the Church would never have grown into what it is today if it hadn’t of been forced to adapt to the developing needs and demands of the time.
    Another issue brought up in the article was that people do not read the Bible now-a-days. It said that making the Bible available on iPads and iPhones will keep many people from reading the Bible cover to cover. The author fails to realize that making it available on iPads and iPhones will encourage younger demographics to become more interested in and be introduced to the Bible by making it easier to get ahold of and more attention-grabbing to the younger generation.
    The availability of the Bible on iPhones and iPads will not drive gatherings into extinction. It is a human instinct within all of us to have a physical community around us to give us love and support. Also, as long as they are gathering together to worship, religion is still considered organized with a body of believers. It’s just a community connected by the internet.
    Making the Bible available on demand does not completely “bypass constraining religious structures – otherwise known as “church” – in favor of a more individual connection with God” any more than a hard copy of the Bible does. As with the hard copy of the Bible, Scripture available online does not involve a preacher or priest. Both are private times filled with personal reflection. In fact, the iPhone and iPad have a closer connection to organized religion because with iTunes or any online blog or forum you can instantly become connected to a community.
    Having Scripture available on iPads and iPhones will not end organized religion. It will revolutionize religion by forcing the Church to catch up to modern times and learn how to reach a younger, technologically focused generation.

    May 16, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  4. RenaissanceChristian

    Beware of the 'sheep alone' philosophy. The enemy can more easily devour that stray sheep than he can the one in a flock.
    The WORD says forsake not the assembling of the saints.
    The WORD says JESUS says that HE has established HIS Church and the gates of hell/disbelieving 'religious editors' will not prevail against it. Therefore, nothing can or will destroy the Church established by the LORD HIMSELF.

    May 16, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  5. AGuest9

    That should read: "How education will bring down the church"

    May 15, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  6. Pastor Jake

    This life is all about Jesus.

    May 15, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  7. Chill

    Am I the only one who thinks these flame wars are getting out of hand? This kind of conversation is unbecoming of both a decent Christian and a rational humanist. Both your God and the laws governing rational debate are being dishonored in such childish arguments. I think we can all agree that the the Bible and its followers have had their downsides, the Crusades, Spanish Inquisiton, etc. However, science and humanism isnt entirely blameless either. Fortunately both also have their redeeming qualities, from the inherently benevolent and charitable teachings of Jesus in the New Testament to the rationality and enlightenment brought during the age of reason. Furthermore, I would like to point out that M Theory doesn't specifically disprove the existence of a higher power, it merely fails to prove it. The difference there is quite important. Remember, a childish mudslinging fest is the same even when backed by formulas and quotations of esteemed thinkers. It merely gives the mud throwers better tools to do the throwing.

    May 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Miss C

      Chill is my favorite

      May 16, 2011 at 12:57 am |
  8. Nathan Wong

    Schroeder has been pretty thoroughly debunked, and actually even shown to be incompetent in his professional discipline. One example here:
    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/schroeder.cfm
    Don't know why anyone bothers bringing up Schroeder's claptrap as anything worth citing.

    May 15, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • crucified

      that is funny.. a hoky website that basis is talk reason... the schroeder model and experiment 1982 is the basis for much modern physics.. you are trying to confuse people. the mathmatical model has solution and that is the bottom line,, your analysis would refrute Hawkins, Tipler, Schroeder, Alin, and basically all the other greats good try with the one day yahoo website...

      May 16, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  9. frank

    Thst's true, and unfortunately it's not even brightened by the least shred of humor. Plus, what truly miserable people they must have been to make mighty battles sound unexciting, s.ex sound unti.tilating, and paradise sound meh. Pretty sorry stuff.

    May 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  10. Jesusfreaker

    One would think that CNN would have a blog site in which your reply would be listed below the comment you were replying to. I could start up my own blog by going to Jim Bob's Blogs.com or whatever and it would work that way 100% of the time. Amazing.

    May 15, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Trollin' Down the Riv-ah.

      I know. It's a bi1ch.

      May 16, 2011 at 2:37 am |
  11. Eric

    The lack of any reading is evident in the general increasing studity of America....sadly. The over indulgence in religious dogma goes a long way in perpetuating ignorance – men using religion to keep people in fear based on misinterpreted and reinterpreted dotrine which so obviously orgininates in the minds of men and has very little to do with anything we should revere as God or Spirit or whatever we want to call. The lack of all sincere and original experience of a personal spiritual nature combined with hidden agendas and evil, selfish intent of those forcing religion on us makes for frightening results in the nature of men. Ignorance and untruth don't serve us. Misinformation and fantasy tales don't make any of what we're told real. The power lies in our faith to believe and not in what we've been given to believe in – which essentially fails us at the core – whatever religious origin it emerges from. Humanity will always suffer as long as we delude ourselves with this expression of what is at the core of our beings. It's takes bravery to face the unknown – both inside and outside yourself – but it is the only way to know what is really true for you. Faith is a personal journey – not the bandwagon the zealots, in their, demand you accept.

    May 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Trollin' Down the Riv-ah.

      @ Eric

      "The lack of any reading is evident in the general increasing studity of America....sadly."

      Abstruse -and- dyslexic. A powerful combination. Mmmmm.. tasty.

      May 16, 2011 at 2:35 am |
  12. David Johnson

    @crucified
    @anyone who would be deceived by crucified

    As was pointed out to you, by others and me yesterday:

    You prove nothing. Your idea sounds very much like those of Frank Jennings Tipler.
    Critics of the final anthropic principle say its arguments violate the Copernican principle, that it incorrectly applies the laws of probability, and that it is really a theology or metaphysics principle made to sound plausible to laypeople by using the esoteric language of physics. Others, just called it crap. – Source Wikipedia

    Niels Bohr believed that quantum mechanics was a complete description of nature, but that it was simply a language ill suited to describing the world of everyday experience, and that in the human realm experiences were described by classical mechanics and by probability. This point of view, the Copenhagen interpretation, was shared by Max Born and Werner Heisenberg and became the standard view. – Source Wikipedia

    Quantum Mechanics with its String theory, multiple universes etc is exciting! But it does not prove there is a god. It does not even prove that it is likely that there is a god. The evidence is not on the side of the believer. God is still very much a product of faith. And faith, without evidence is worthless. I can give you many reasons why the Christian god is VERY unlikely to exist. The presence of multiverses, does nothing to solve these problems.

    You have used the science of Quantum Physics, mixed in your own totally unproved interpolations of this data, and now wish to proclaim that the existence of god, has been proven. ?

    There are many brilliant scientists working in this field. M theory (use to be just string theory) attempts to be the theory of everything. None of these scientists think it points to a god. Stephen Hawking believes he can explain the universe, without the need of a god. But, poor Hawking doesn't have your intelligence. LOL

    Quantum mysticism is a term that has been used to refer to a set of metaphysical beliefs and associated practices that seek to relate consciousness, intelligence or mystical world-views to the ideas of quantum mechanics and its interpretations.
    Many ideas associated with "quantum mysticism" have been criticized as either misinterpretations of quantum mechanics or as pseudoscience. – Source: Wikipedia

    For further reading on the prattling of this religious fanatic, see Quantum mind and Quantum mind–body problem. You will find both on Wikipedia.

    Cheers!

    Cheers!

    May 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • crucified

      I did not bring up tipler, you did .. I brought up shroeders mathmatical model.. everyone is throughing tiplers name in to confuse.. which I might add he is much smarter than you.schroeders mathmatical model is what all quatum physicist consider foundation. you are trying to confuse people. the facts are facts. the sub atomic level has no dimension! they are non locally connected! and the reality you base everything on is a sub unit of a greater reality.. quit through tipler in to confuse. I know atheist ate these facts.. thats why I bring them up.. because you will have to face what you have been dening.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • crucified

      E\psi(r)=-\frac{\hbar}{2m}\nabla^2\psi+V(r)\psi(r)
      There is the formula for GOD! now deal with it! also, you have to deal with the measurablilty problem! look it up, google fan. everything Atheist have used to try to refute Christianity can no longer be used for what they use as a standard of measure..does not exist. all your applied sciences are falls for sub atomically when things are observed they react. proven 1982 twin proton experiment. now you know. so you can deal with your judgement from the Creator with the full knowledge that He exist. being imaged..images have purpose and design.///and need a designed they are not part of random chance and chaotic.Atheism is DEAD! or should I say "TWICE DEAD"

      May 15, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • your-knickers-in-a-knot

      E=mc^2. There in that equation is proof that god does not exist. It is absolute proof, so crucified, go back to your crib and stop bothering us with your wimpy excuse for "proof" you little twerp.

      May 15, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • crucified

      Thank you for bringing up energy...since in quantum that is all we are at the sub level any created by design to what you see. Don't be afraid of facts.. embrace them. You will have to face your Creator. Deal with it! there is little time.. the time is short. Repent before it is too late! as for Hell.. I have seen it.. don't want you are anyone else to go there.

      May 15, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • FifthApe

      crucified – you sound so messed up. But then, thats the mind of a creationist.

      May 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      cruicified, I asked you for your qualifications in quantum mechanics. I asked for links to peer-approved and published papers by yourself or others that supported your position or even considered it plausible. You refused to provide any of that, and as I told you, when I googled your equation and "proof of god" all I could find was Tipler's theory and the less than enthusiastic reception it got from the bulk of the scientific community.

      If I saw actual hard science backing up the claims of a higher being, I'd instantly reconsider my lack of belief. Your "proof" doesn't even begin to prove anything except that you are another believer so desperate for validation that you would believe any nonsense that said what you wanted it to.

      May 15, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • crucified

      @talluhah I am not going to post peer review, Universities, Fellowship, anything on a public website..you are asking too much, instead evaluate the evidence..I will give a clue. I have mastery of at least two feilds of study. It is E\psi(r)=-\frac{\hbar}{2m}\nabla^2\psi+V(r)\psi(r)
      You have much to consider. Chance does not create Purpose! If the equation is too hard to consider, consider the measurement problem....I have no motive to tell the information and therefore present it with the intent that those that are atheist ..as I was once, would take a closer look at what the are believing..and stop using archaic physical science to validate their belief. You will meet a Creator. and it is reasonable to say He would seperate those who believe and those that do not. It is reasonable to say that those that do not will be judged. I am not saying anything about which god, only that there is a singular GOD. and we are a subset of a greater reality. I believe in the Christian God/Jesus because of experience. I know those experiences do not come to those that do not believe. so believe and be healed. God does Love you. consider the evidence. make your choice.. your choice determines your eternality!

      May 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • crucified

      @tehellal by the way I could reverse the arguement you said..that you are willing to take hold of anything that validates your belief. Just consider the evidence!

      May 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Obviously, crucified, English Composition wasn't one of those fields.

      May 15, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • tallulah13

      crucified: I cannot consider evidence that doesn't exist. If you can't provide a link to ANY peer-reviewed, published article that supports your claim, then all you have is a crackpot interpretation of an equation. I have searched and the bulk of what I find indicates that your "theory" was proposed by Tipler, but rejected by the bulk of the scientific community. I have spent my own time to do what you will not: verify your claim. If I cannot find it and you will not provide it, I have to conclude that either verification does not exist or that it is so obscure as to be unreliable. Therefore I must conclude that you have no proof.

      Your very name indicates a christian bias. I think instead of searching for honest answers, you grasped at the first thing that was close to what you needed and twisted it to suit your needs. Or else you read Tipler's book and chose to make it your second bible.

      May 16, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • crucified

      again Tipler is not source although he is brilliant..and many physicist sgree with him.. and some dont..again the model given is the foundational model.. there are only two ways to interprete model...faster than light communication or non locally connected..that information alone says everything is relationship based. if you take the information we know about the dimensionless quality of the subatomic. you end up with dimensionless energy deciding to be imaged. that is design..not random process. images have purpose and fuction!indicates designer. indicates GOD. and to the question about english as a field of study...no it was not..and it is immature to take facts and try to debuke a communication style, for english may not even be my primary language. I can see tellallal that you do not want to accept the formula.. but you have to accept the measurability problem.. the measurability problem makes applied science a false indicator of existance for if the sub atomics are affected by observance their designed image is affected also. the theory of evolution becomes irrelavant..the biological sciences are not provable anyway..but science is. that is why I gave you a formula.E\psi(r)=-\frac{\hbar}{2m}\nabla^2\psi+V(r)\psi(r) there is the mathmatical formula for our sub reality of a greater one. a designed one.God's created ONE!

      May 16, 2011 at 5:01 am |
    • crucified

      I meant Math is provable and the biological sciences are not..all you can do is get closer to a result.. where Math has a definite solution...of fact!

      May 16, 2011 at 5:04 am |
    • Tallulah13

      Crucified: Again, your personal interpretation of an equation does not equate to fact. You have nothing. If so many agree with you and Tipler, why can't you provide a link so that we can verify this for ourselves? I have tried very hard to find proof for you. Now it is your turn to put up or shut up. One link to a peer-reviewed, published paper. Is that too much to ask from someone who claims to have the most important proof in history?

      May 16, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Nonimus

      @crucified,
      I'm new to this discussion so perhaps I misunderstand, but it seems to me that you make a leap at a certain point that implies design or purpose, "images have purpose and fuction!indicates designer. indicates GOD." Although, some images are designed, certainly not all are: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7570729/ns/us_news-weird_news/t/salt-runoff-or-face-virgin-mary/ ( more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perceptions_of_religious_imagery_in_natural_phenomena ) These phemomena, or more accurately our reaction to them, are given the name, Pareidolia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia), and generally mean seeing meaning in the random, such as seeing shapes in clouds, or faces on Mars, or Jesus on toast.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • crucified

      I qoute Neil Bohr "If sub atomic particles do not exist until they are observed, then one can no longer think of them as independant "things"...it is an "indivisible system" Bohm, Bell–Bell inequality experiment performed in 1982 by Aspect, Dalibard, Roger.eistiens ban's faster than light speed travel which leaves "non-locally connected" which means our reality is "holographic" to the greater reality.Davis qouted"non local aspects of quantum systems is therefore a general property of nature"..according to Bohm you live in the "unfolded" order the deeper reality is the "enfolded" order. Penrose, d'espagnat,and Josephson 1973 Nobel Prize winner in physics champion the model..The Schroeder model has been proven..the Bohms model proven..the Bell experiment success. and the only other option and that is probably why the field was invented "Chaos Theory" Mathematicicians have been unable to prove the physical existance of randomness..so that makes you stuck into the quantum realm..Your reality was created..imaged! showing design and purpose..and therefore a Creator..this explains intelligence entering into our system...you however have to deal with the measurement problem as long as you rely on physical sciences. I have listed many sources and cited many things here. the equation I gave has a solution and is foundation to Quantum Mechanics..and is the basis for Laser, micro-electonics, semi-conductors etc.. their very existance proves quantum physics...as Feyman says "It is unquestionably correct!". now you can try to refute the minds of each of the genius I listed and support.. but their discoveries stand firm. at the sub atomic level evergy is all that is there and for it to be imaged would require purpose and design,,,oh and intelligence.. You will face a Creator..accept him! He died for you even though you are and have rejected him!

      May 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • crucified

      @nonimus you left out, conveniantly, Purpose! we are talking sub atomic "imaging into a physical form.. not physical forms looking like another physical form..don't be confused...and just to eliminate all confusion..these are mathmatical models..there is either a solution or not.. since there is there is a designer!

      May 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • crucified

      @tehellah13 I think what you meant to say earlier in your comment..instead of i have tried to ind proof for you..was I have tried very hard to disprove you.. Look as far as peer review..I am only submitting the people above and their analysis. I do not care for fame or have no motive to confuse you or anyone else...I provided a formula to get you to look deeper..that is all I feel I need tio do.. God Loves you and wants you to rethink your position.... if nothing else you should of come to the conclusion that your concrete stance of atheism is not so concrete. Their are many that misrepresent God..He is Love..and a perfect Love could only arise out of an imperfect existance..look up information I submitted for yourself.. evaluate for yourself..a singular intelligence pre existed creation. think about how much computer code goes into writting the simple worm game..with out the code the screen is blank! if the game has already existed you may believe there is no code.. like many ingnorant windows users thinking windows is apart of the hardware of the computer itself. the realization of the code gets lost. I was once where you were imagining that we self existed, I was God hating.. and I am a Christian..but my only motive for bothering to say anything to atheist that blasphamy God, who hate God, who mock me, who practice the very hate they condemn..my only motive is love...on the reverse, the atheistic motive tends to be Hate..hate towards God.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  13. Randall12

    They keep bring up Bell's Love Wins as controversial? You've gotta be kidding me!

    Try reading Perceptional Threshold by Casper Parks. Parks' book has a few grammatical errors here and there, still overall he blows the doors off Bell's moderate book with something that is truly entertaining and controversial...

    May 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • crucified

      well Bell is a Heritic! just read Josephus and you would know that the Jewish thought Hell was consistant with what Jesus describes in Lazerius and the Rich Man..and before you say that was a parable.. Parables are not allagories..they are true events, people, and places.. it is interesting that this parable is given just before Lazerius is raised from the Dead.. and Jesus had stated even if I raised someone from the dead you would not believe.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  14. Melissa

    lol. I honestly think I'm going to explode with laughter. Yes, of course technology is going to bring the end of the church. And its about bloody time. The church is old, antiquated, out of touch, sometimes cruel, thoughtless, and incredibly arrogant. It NEEDS to end, because humanity needs to grow up and start to understand that religion is a very personal and private thing even if the religious prefer to call it "a relationship with god". It has no business butting its head into other peoples lives. Period.

    May 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  15. mlundber

    If one actually reads the Bible, one will see that the consistent encouragement is to be the body of Christ, not an individual believer in isolation. If one is truly in touch with God (and not just with one's own desires), then God will lead one to seek out others that God also loves.

    May 15, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      and so the meme, and the myth, gets propagated even further. We might be able to stop this mind virus called religion, if enough people can be convinced to reason.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Melissa

      If one actually reads the bible, you realize its a bunch of garbage created by closed minded uneducated people to make them believe its ok for them to continue to live that way to keep them stupid so they can be ruled by church officials.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Sandra

      Whether one believes or not, the Bible encourages introspection, as well as reaching out to others in community. I would hope that such time and place for communing with others as church attendance provides would be improved through any means of communication, not to replace church, but to make it more responsive to a churchgoers needs. I appreciate following the church calendar on line as a guide to reading the Bible, and my minister and I correspond through email, but this does not replace the feeling of fellowship one gets through weekly church service, and the opportunity to join with others, sing in the choir, share joyful experiences and ameliorate sad ones. But, then, I do not use my religion or the Bible as my only source of spiritual nourishment, nor as a weapon.

      May 15, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Drew

      Up Your Rear Admiral:

      You do realize that you couldn't have Western Civilization and its advances without Christianity, right?

      May 16, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Drew
      "You do realize that you couldn't have Western Civilization and its advances without Christianity, right?"
      I don't think this is correct. Assuming this isn't a tautology where "Western Civilization" is defined as Christian or Christian-based, what aspect of Western Civilization is only available from Christianity?

      May 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Drew

      Well inasmuch as societies and religions develop side by side, it is just silly to try to separate one from the other. Christianity helped produce one of the most advanced cultures on earth

      May 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  16. Chaz

    The more society can be exposed to God's good Word, the better. The Lord Almighty and his Son Jesus save.

    May 15, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Neither a god nor Jesus has ever saved anyone. Nor saved even a dime, for that matter.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Gods good word? Have you *read* the bible? Its one evil and intolerant work of fiction.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Scott

      From my birth I was raised a Christian. But there came a time in my youth when my faith began to falter. So I decided to read the bible front to back because the unadulterated holy word of God must be able to help me and strengthen my faith. It was horrible. I didn’t make it past the first 5 books. The terrible stuff god and his people do in those books are beyond any modern atrocities. It makes Hitler and Stalin look like Boy Scouts. So yes, the more society can be exposed to god’s word (and not the sanitized version they hear in church) the better.

      May 15, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  17. George

    Stephen Hawking captured the irrelevance of the Bible when he said 'There is no heaven, it's a fairy story'. Study of the Bible should be relegated to a study of myths, mythologies, fairy tales etc. In other belief in a god to the extent that it has any inherent value is limited to its use as a cultural metaphor.

    May 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  18. bill

    First it was radio that would takr down. Then it was TV that would render the church obsolete. Now it's the dumb world wide web. Next!

    May 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      We can only hope for eventual success and the complete demise of religion. That would be a great, positive result for humanity.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      of course its the 'dumb' world wide web that is currently letting you find this news site and post on this forum.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  19. saty

    How about "Will technology bring down religion/God"? My answer/take: "yes".

    May 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Drew

      Did it ever occur to you that maybe we aren't as smart as you/we think we are?

      May 15, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Did it ever occur to you that maybe we aren't as smart as you/we think we are?

      Yes, which is why religion exists in the first place. Think about it. God has an important message for us that will prevent us from burning forever. And what does God do? Have the revelation in a soon to be dead language that is copied from transalations of copies of translations.

      The christian god is incredibly stupid if it wants to achieve it's goal of having people live according to it's will.

      May 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • pockets

      Snake oil salesman scaring the great unwashed, look up George Carlin if you want the real truth on religion.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Drew

      Look I'm not necessarily defending religion, I'm just questioning the value of deterministic predictions based on what we think we understand through science

      May 16, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • Drew

      And Bobinator, if anything the fact that there ARE modern translations of the Bible at all actually strengthens Christianity's claims, as people seem still interested in studying its teachings 2000 years later. If you were god would you have presented your words in English before English existed?

      May 16, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Drew
      You said: "If anything the fact that there ARE modern translations of the Bible at all actually strengthens Christianity's claims, as people seem still interested in studying its teachings 2000 years later. If you were god would you have presented your words in English before English existed?"

      The Christian god is said to be all powerful, all loving and all knowing.
      These are some pretty impressive attributes.

      There are about 38,000 different denominations of Christianity. They have all been derived from reading the bible god supplied. If this wondrous god existed, and He wanted all mankind to know His wants, why didn't he give man a bible that could not be misinterpreted? Why is this book, written / inspired by a perfect god ambiguous?

      ambiguity – a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways : an ambiguous word or expression

      The Christian god is Omnipotent, Omnibenevolent and Omniscient.

      1. If the Christian god exists, He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity.
      People attempt to discover and comprehend god's wants, by reading the bible.

      2. The bible god provided, is ambiguous.
      This fact is evidenced by there being 38,000 different denominations of Christianity.

      3. Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Cheers!

      May 16, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Drew

      Well actually David your reasoning rests on the supposition that god thinks the way you do. If he exists and is omnipotent, omniscient and outside of time it is highly unlikely that he does. How about this, as soon as YOU come up with a religion/philosophy that lasts 2,000 years maybe people will listen to you when you talk about how outdated Christianity is

      May 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  20. Debra

    I use my iphone at church all the time, love it. Pastor teaches from his ipad, love it. How does this put the church in jeopardy?
    So many of our church members are doing the same. We get to hear more sermons from our iphone etc than ever before. I can only see the opposite happening more hunger for the Word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. The more we feed ourselves they more we will attend church. By the way church is not the building it is the body of Christ. Take the building you will still have the body.

    May 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • mlundber

      I absolutely agree!

      May 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Jesusfreaker

      I too love my Iphone bible app. It's great reading. It comes in handy when I want to show someone how immoral the Bible is. Try READing it for the first time.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Because here on the internet is where religions come to die. The evil thats contained in the bible is up for discussion here, unlike the sanitized sermons you will get in church.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • pockets

      Only those mentally ill would even consider reading such rubbish. Religion is POISON. The bible is true nonsense. People are lacking in self esteem that would believe anything in that comic book.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • RenaissanceChristian

      I agree. Technology is but a tool to 'get the WORD out'. And it isn't just the logos/words in the Bible that makes the transformaton in human lives. It is the HOLY SPIRIT HIMSELF. Mental ascent to understanding the WORD of GOD and HIS Ways will only bring you to these types of conclusions.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Drew

      I'm getting a bit sick of the "religion is poison" argument; the fact is any atrocity or suffering that some "enlightened" atheist on the CNN comment board attributes to religion is equally caused by social, economic and political factors. Learn to think critically, please

      May 16, 2011 at 2:53 am |
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About this blog

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.