[Computer Scientist Allen Downey] says that the demise is the result of several factors but the most controversial of these is the rise of the Internet. He concludes that the increase in Internet use in the last two decades has caused a significant drop in religious affiliation.
It goes on to indicate that the University of Chicago's General Social Survey's data indicates a other factors causing people to lose their religion. Those are, a decline in religious upbringing and an increase in college level education. Downey says those stats are rather pail in comparison to the data of increased internet use.
If this third factor exists, it must have specific characteristics. It would have to be something new that was increasing in prevalence during the 1990s and 2000s, just like the Internet. “It is hard to imagine what that factor might be,” says Downey.
I thought perhaps that the increase in science and technology might account for the unknown data. The Internet is just a smaller factor in increasing knowledge acceleration. I mean amazing things seem to happen almost weekly. To my mind that tends to trump faith a bit.
What say you, folks?
My loss of faith in the afterlife is due to the internet, and specifically to this site. Even more particularly, LMNO and I taking a particular position in a conversation with Cram (with some input from Vex) about whether stepping on a Star Trek transporter and emerging on a planet, if away team you is still you. LMNO and I took the position that it was, because it's the pattern that defines you, not the composite atoms, because atoms don't have individuality, and further that your atoms always have to be in flux anyway, otherwise you would be a preserved specimen.
That lead me down a rabbit hole, ending with the question "where do I go between falling asleep and dreaming?"
It was the most uncomfortable question I've ever asked myself, and I had to reject any concept of the soul until data could back up why we stop experiencing anything during that period.
I haven't rejected the idea of god(s) because the definition is a slippery one. It's a useless word in the English language. I now attempt to find some sort of sacred meaning in the fact that life exists, and that a chemical (DNA) has a need to continue to maintain its existence (which is a delightfully absurd concept. Think about that. I'm a chemical. I need to continue to be this chemical. I must therefore find a way to continue to exist and make more of me. The instinct to survival and reproduction is freaking ridiculous on paper). That it evolves and gives opportunity for intelligent life to emerge to contemplate the universe. So I can't discount gods. I just have to reject certain conceptions of the word.
So, I think what's going on here is that the internet facilitates conversations that are unlikely face to face. Both in subject matter and geographical distance.