Information vs. Faith
Hemant Mehta recently wrote an interesting article for the Washington Post titled: How the Web is Killing Faith. It’s a brief article with some provocative ideas. The main premise is that statements made by preachers/pastors/priests/rabbis/imams/etc. are not exempt from immediate scrutiny in the technology age. Declarations that went unopposed years ago due to perceived authority can now be challenged directly from the pew by anyone with a smart phone.
Whether or not the internet is actually killing faith is up for debate, but it certainly poses a legitimate challenge. In addition to information being more readily available than at any previous time in human history, people also have the ability to connect with other human beings from all over the world through social media. Many people who struggle with (or secretly abandon) religion still feel attached to the social structure that church provides. The fear of ostracism is a powerful motivator to keep quiet and toe the line. Social media affords these people the ability to find other like-minded people as well as the affirmation that perhaps they aren’t as isolated and alone as they feel.
I’m jealous that my seven-year old daughter has never known a world without Google, Wikipedia, computers, and smart phones. Instant information is now literally at the fingertips of an entire up-and-coming generation. It will be interesting to see how they utilize it.
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