Religion in the Internet Age

There’s a conversation that’s spread through the ‘net recently about how religious observance is dipping among kids these days. Over the first decade of this century, those reporting no religious affiliation in a Pew study rose sharply, reaching 46 million in 2012. Unsurprisingly, the 18-29 age group posts the highest rate of respondents who have no stated religious preference.

Some think social issues are driving this break from God. Valerie Tarico at Salon suggests that the Internet, with its free exchange of ideas and cool science videos, is behind this change:

Tech-savvy mega-churches may have twitter missionaries, and Calvinist cuties may make viral videos about how Jesus worship isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship, but that doesn’t change the facts: the free flow of information is really, really bad for the product they are selling.

She also points to the kind of web content that is drawing worshippers away from the pews and onto their iPhones:

Religious beliefs that aren’t yours often sound silly, and the later in life you encounter them the more laughable they are likely to sound. Web writers are after eyeballs, which means that if there’s something ridiculous to showcase then one is guaranteed to write about it. It may  be a nuanced exposé or a snarky list or a flaming meme, but the point, invariably, is to call attention to the stuff that makes you roll your eyes, shake your head in disbelief, laugh, and then hit Share.


It gets nasty, sometimes in ways that are titillating and sometimes in ways that are simply dark. The Bible is full of sex slavery, polygamy and incest, and these are catalogued at places like

I’m a little bummed that OMGWTFBIBLE isn’t brought up, but given that we’re only at 3 episodes (EPISODE 4 IS COMING OUT JANUARY 26!), I guess I can’t blame her.

What do you think? Is the web making us less religious? Is all of this nonsense? What does “religious” even mean, anyway!

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