social hub: Internet vs Christentum | huffingtonpost
social hub: Internet vs Christentum
Is the Internet Killing Christianity? | Christian Piatt – huffingtonpost
As for why now, the answer is more complex than any single factor. On the one hand, changing domestic, social and economic systems have caused us to spread out and move around far more than before. The churches, as a result, are no longer social hubs of neighborhoods any more. And along with being social hubs, churches also served as economic engines, as businesspeople networked after worship or over a potluck meal. Now we just use LinkedIn.
There’s also been a substantial shift in cultural perception, such that not going to church no longer holds the same stigma that it used to. Even atheists are coming out of the proverbial closet in greater numbers. And as I suggest in postChristian, lower church attendance doesn’t necessarily correlate to fewer people believing in God. Plenty of skeptics have filled church pews out of a sense of familial or other social obligation.
But beyond these factors, there’s the dramatic shift in how we access and consume ideas and information. As Michael Grunwald points out in his TIME Magazine article, „The Second Age of Reason,“ we are living today in the midst of a „Golden Age of answers.“ This is important on a couple of levels as it relates to church, and actually, it’s been a long time coming.
Prior to the development of movable typeface and the printing press, few people of average means owned a Bible. But once printing was accessible, the information once relegated to libraries and collections of the rich was distributed far and wide. Of course, more people had to learn how to read first in order to enjoy the books, but the availability of literature such as the Gutenberg Bible provided an incentive.
Fast forward a few hundred years, and we see the Internet having much the same effect. Aside from the ease and immediacy of access to information, it also offers an unprecedented variety of perspectives. Before, we might have had one newspaper — or one priest or pastor — to tell us what the facts were in any given situation, and we’d take it more or less on faith. But now we dissect everything from the presidential actions in the middle east to Biblical interpretation, and even the price of our favorite coffee.
Perhaps most important, though, as Grunwald notes, is that we have direct access to the information. It’s always „out there,“ waiting to be retrieved, rather than being parsed out to us by some other mediating body. „The democratization of information,“ he writes, „is particularly threatening to middlemen and gatekeepers. Who needs a travel agent when there’s Kayak and Priceline? How long can real estate agents and stockbrokers survive when buyers and sellers are linking up online?“
Stated another way: Who needs a church or a priest when spiritual seekers believe they can access God directly?
via Is the Internet Killing Christianity? | Christian Piatt.