The Internet and Faith Part 1

The internet is killing Christianity.  I’m even surprised I haven’t heard it being called the antichrist or the beast in Revelation.  I try to think of a few reasons:

A less religious demographic driving the conversation.  Anyone on the internet for any length of time will notice it has an atheistic bent.  Part of this has to do with the fact that young people who are from a less religious generation write the comments tend to be atheistic and (at least in America) atheists are stigmatized so they find a refuge online (similar to how people with disabilities do the same).

Lopsided Reading Ground.  People of faith might be evangelical in real life but it’s the atheists that are evangelical online.  The best arguments against faith can be found with a cursory Google search.  The best arguments for it are locked up in books that cost $9.95 each or more.  Of course we could blame the publishing companies for this, authors of faith might see their work as a ministry but if the gatekeepers on top do not, they won’t allow said authors to distribute their work for free.  There is no reason C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and Peter Rollins’ Orthodox Heretic shouldn’t be (legally) free online perhaps with moderated comments section (those of faith can think of their favorite authors and chances are they aren’t available free online).  There’s even a book that criticizes neo-atheism.. but you have to pay for it.

There is also the issue that the internet has changed the structure of thinking—people like their information in bite size news article chunks.  Authors of faith should be mindful of this and structure the writing they wish to reach people with accordingly.

Non-incarnational virtuous cycle.  The internet is a non-incarnational medium.  Atheism is a non-incarnational way of life.  The two go together and spur each other along.  Religion happens in the flesh through the medium of hospitality.  As one spends a higher proportion of their time on the internet, even if all they’re doing is reading the Bible, just by the fact that they are in a non-incarnational medium means they are drifting away from faith in an important way.  A lot of people don’t realize this because they were told the faith was primarily about taking in and spitting out the right information.

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  1. “I’m even surprised I haven’t heard it being called the antichrist or the beast in Revelation.”

    Ha, this reminds me of back in the 90’s when people started freaking out because WWW translates to 6-6-6 some how. Of course, WWW is a series of letters, whereas the 666 in revelation is not a series of numbers, but literally “six hundred and sixty-six”.

    Good observations, though. Makes me wonder how (or if) we can stem the tide…

    1. Yeah in 1998 they had Bill Gates’ name adding up to 666 in ASCII (but it didn’t even really work, you had to take the name Bill Gates in ASCII and put a 3 in front of it and count the 3 as 3 instead of the ASCII equivalent of 3).

      I don’t hold out much hope for the church because the tide of hyperindividualism doesn’t bode well for religion. My experience is the main purpose of the church most places is to incubate the next generation rather than reach the existing one (outreach comes at a much higher personal cost).

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