Religion and the Internet

Singapore
May 16, 2007 11:17am CST
In this age of rapid information exchange, most religions have been taken online. Once hard to access information is now available at a few clicks of a button. In fact, I only got to know about my religion from internet websites and resources. The same accessibility has now, in my personal opinion, become a double edged sword. As easy as it is to spread religions information, it is also just as easy to corrupt them. Cults, mentally unstable religious leaders and extremist groups, lure and brainwash impressionable people. The damage can be seem everywhere. So is the internet a blessing or a curse for religions?
2 people like this
8 responses
@PsychoDude (2018)
• Netherlands
16 May 07
It is both, just as it is for just about everything. The internet is such a massive medium through which you can get in touch with so many people with ease it makes the good better, but the bad also gets made worse. Rather than in example 10 people or so to be reached for holy wars and such now thousands if not tens of thousands or even millions can be reached. Videos of success and response can also be easily spread throughout the net within literately seconds.
2 people like this
• Singapore
17 May 07
Indeed, the internet is being used by both sides of the conflict in many fronts.
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
16 May 07
Without the internet, it would be really hard for me to connect with other people of my religion. There just aren't too many in the area where I live, and while I feel confident enough in my own practice that I don't need teachers (in fact I have taught others) I do sometimes still really enjoy learning about the ways other people do things. It think in the pagan community as a whole, there are a lot of people who either discovered paganism online, learned online, or only have a community online because of the areas in which they live. Of course, misinformation about paganism is also rampant online. Still, I think overall the internet has been a blessing for my religion rather than a curse. I would guess it would be the same for other religions, but I can't really speak for them.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
17 May 07
When I started out, they didn't even carry books and equipment in my country (yes, the whole country). The internet taught me most of my basics before the materials started coming into Singapore. (You teach too? Damn, we should trade notes... and complain about our students...) The material online seem much better years ago, now they are too watered down. Or is it just me? :(
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@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
17 May 07
Wow, I can't imagine living in a whole country without access to such things. Where I lived as kid, most of the pagans were kind of in hiding. Materials about the religion were kind of hidden on the back shelves of stores that sold jewellry or natural items (like rocks from Mammoth Cave). One of those places, the Rock Shop, was owned by a lady I knew, and when she finally did start billing her shop as a "pagan" shop, she was subjected to a lot of harassment and vandalism. Thankfully I don't live in that town (or even that state) anymore. Haha, I don't have any students at the moment, but I have taught before. It's funny because when I was a teenager everyone around me was "new" to the religion, whereas I had grown up in it. So I wound up pretty much teaching everyone I knew, which got really hard after a while. Right now I'm mainly concentrating on what I''m going to teach my child as he grows (though he's only turning 1 year old this month, so it's very early). I do occasionally help others I meet online though, when they don't really know what they are doing and don't have a teacher nearby. I do think a lot of the information available online is becoming watered down. Some of it is political: some people are so busy trying to convince others that Paganism is "good" they are afraid to get into any real details in fear of offending someone. And then there's the opposite camp, the ones that are "Pagan" but seem more interested in talking about why they're rebelling against a former religion than about Paganism itself. Furthermore, there's the simple fact that many of the knowledgeable people are now parts of various groups which only share information with members. So to find a real mentor, often you have to join an organization of some type. That, or the knowledgeable people are busy writing books they will actually be paid for, as opposed to simply giving information away free online. And then, to confuse things further, you have the people who essentially cut and paste from other pagan websites to make their own pagan website. So you wind up with a ton of sites that say the same thing!
1 person likes this
• Singapore
18 May 07
It was only 3~4 years ago that wicca and pagan books started to appear on the shelves here. Before that, I had to get all my reading material online. The lucky thing was that I could pick up basic supplies from stores selling items for other religions (mostly Buddhist stores, great candles, incenses, oils and crystals) The books are starting to thin out again though (since most of the flurries driving the market don't think it's cool anymore...) I had a two mentors when I started, one was a fraud and the other was top student from the school of hard knocks. They came and left pretty quickly, not without leaving me very confused first. When I finally sort things out and progressed, I decided that I cannot let that happen to others. I'm still regretting that now ;p Luckily I wasn't egoistic enough to try and teach more then 2 before I dropped of the local scene (Toooo much ego clashing) There was actually talk about drawing pagan comic books for kids. Unfortunately, like most talk, it stayed as carbon dioxide. Wonder if I can bribe a few gods to draw their comic series for loads of cash... (yes, I can draw comics, just don't have the time =/) The politics is really pretty stupid. People who have a problem with us, will always have a problem no matter what we say. The whole 'Never again the burning times' is just laughable, they seem pretty healthy for someone burnt 500 years ago. I understand that we are still treated badly worldwide, but playing their game only makes it worse sometimes. We should just be show the world who we are, without shame or hatred, and let them decide for themselves. Truth prevails, and it's already doing so. I have no beef with the experts trying to make a honest living from their writings, heck, even I want to do it (but I know I'm nowhere near the level to write a book) I hate seeing site after site of the same material all over again, makes me want to tie them up, pile up the wood and... err... never mind.. you din hear me say that...
1 person likes this
@Krisss (1231)
• Australia
16 May 07
In my opinion it is a blessing. Education is always a good thing. If the faith that I followed had something to hide I would really want to know about it, in fact I believe I am very entitled to know about it. Many religions and cults have operated so well for generations because of their "closed" way of life. They cut you off from the outside world, limit education and knowledge of the truth behind their man made beliefs. What do you mean you only got to know about your religion from the internet? Didn't you know what they believed in and who they were before you became involved?
1 person likes this
• Singapore
17 May 07
I'm a pagan Krisss, its not a common religion in this part of the world. Most people don't even know what earth-based religions are around these parts. In paganism, we don't really have a 'church' or similar central authority. It's all personal growth and development.
• Philippines
16 May 07
the internet is a wonderful thing but i think religion should be out of it...the act of worshipping has a lot to do with personal experience, being one with one's Maker, it has something to do with total surrender...these things definitely cant be done on the internet, unless of course one's worship means a simple chat..
1 person likes this
• Singapore
17 May 07
LOL, I can't imagine chatting to the divine in IRC. Thanks for the visuals mugna_1964!
@Rohit20 (327)
• India
16 May 07
All religions in common convey the same message about humanity , faith in God and plenty other good things.Now sources as internet to avail the information is very good option in my vision because we may get to know so many uncxpected unknow things from it and that's the merit.But when anything corrupt is found for any religion then it is us who have to decide how to take that because as already said that all reiligions profess good thinking.We should not pay heed to whatever wrong is written about particular religion.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
17 May 07
But how would we decide right from wrong with all that inform out there?
@EvanHunter (4028)
• United States
16 May 07
Like anything else its a tool and how its used will matter most and not what it is. I think we have to keep an open mind with everything in life and dont buy what everyone says, we still need to look at the more educated and more experienced people in our lifes for true guidance for anything. We all have a tendancy to believe anything that is in writing, people can say anything and we dont believe it but when someone puts words to paper or in this case to the internet it some hwo because a reality on its own. we still need to keep an open mind and review both sides of anythign we see online to know the truth. its kind of like all the spam emails you get and everyone used to take them for face value people start to wise up after seeing how foolish they are to believe something just because its in writing.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
17 May 07
That is a very good viewpoint EvanHunter, thank you very much :)
@shak143 (1280)
• India
16 May 07
Internet is a blessing or a curse?Before answering to this question i like to say some thing i think you may know this the person who made dinam*te will killed himself.Because he made it for sake of people who has to breaks the mountians and huge rocks.But when he think that this can be used for some other purpose which is really bad so he fell bad for that. Now it's same the matter over here some people will use it in correct sense and some in worng.It completely depends on once mind.So internet is not a curse at all. By this we are knowing most of the things and very quickly.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
17 May 07
Maybe it's all in how we use it
@barehugs (8986)
• Canada
17 May 07
The internet is the biggest Blessing that has ever graced the earth! It spreads truth and information to countries that have been closed for years. Women in Muslim countries are learning that they are people too, in spite of what they hear from their religious leaders. I believe the internet and the world-wide exchange of information has helped to shed Light on Child Molestation in the Christian Church. Even the Pope feels the pressure of world wide thought on his suppression of women's rights in the Church. Muslim extremists will be influenced by this same world thinking. And God knows we need help from this Quarter.