Skip navigation
Sidebar -

Advanced search options →

Welcome

Welcome to CEMB forum.
Please login or register. Did you miss your activation email?

Donations

Help keep the Forum going!
Click on Kitty to donate:

Kitty is lost

Recent Posts


Scientists and .............
by akay
Today at 07:18 AM

What music are you listen...
Today at 06:51 AM

Qur'anic studies today
Today at 02:13 AM

Hongkong spiralling
Yesterday at 09:38 PM

New PM incoming
Yesterday at 09:15 PM

Painted pious ladies
Yesterday at 06:17 PM

Female role models
Yesterday at 05:54 PM

NayaPakistan...New Pakist...
Yesterday at 11:43 AM

مدهش----- لماذا؟؟؟؟
by akay
July 17, 2019, 10:22 AM

Nominal from Bedfordshire
July 16, 2019, 10:54 PM

Pro Israel or Pro Palesti...
July 16, 2019, 11:38 AM

Hamza Tzortzis vs Profess...
July 14, 2019, 04:16 PM

Theme Changer

 Topic: How the internet is killing faith

 (Read 1463 times)
  • 1« Previous thread | Next thread »
  • How the internet is killing faith
     OP - May 25, 2012, 12:17 AM


    Hemant Mehta says what I've been thinking for a while. He talks about Christianity - the same principles apply to Islam, although there is still the anonymity factor involved in many ways - free open transparent information on the internet is challenging Islam more completely and more abruptly in so many ways in a manner it has never been assailed before.


    +++++++

    How the Web is killing faith

    By Hemant Mehta


    Last year, Christian apologist Josh McDowell made a remarkable claim about the Internet, stating that “the abundance of knowledge, the abundance of information, will not lead to certainty; it will lead to pervasive skepticism... the Internet has leveled the playing field [giving equal access to skeptics].”

    He said that like it was a bad thing.

    It’s not hard to see why McDowell is afraid, though. Open access to knowledge -- the ability to fact check your pastors and imams and rabbis -- is a death knell for religion as we know it, and the Internet is only hastening the process.  (I focus on Christianity in this piece because it has the largest Web presence in the United States.)

    It wasn’t long ago when statements made in a pulpit were simply assumed to be true.  Now, a child with an iPhone in the pew can find ample evidence contradicting whatever the men of God are saying.  That “true story” your pastor is telling?  Snopes.com debunked it long ago.  Gay marriage is destructive, he says? Thousands of YouTube videos made by gays and lesbians in love -- as well as other Christians -- can attest otherwise. Evolution is a liberal conspiracy? TalkOrigins.org will show you how to respond to every argument on the Creationist side.  Abstinence-only sex education is working? Not according to the new scientific study you just read.

    It’s not only the abundance of information creating nightmares for church leaders. It’s the simple fact that, with a lack of physical buildings in which to meet, atheists tend to congregate online.  Until the Internet came along, we didn’t have a space where we could talk about our (lack of) religious beliefs but between blogs, podcasts, and social media sites, atheists have thrived in the age of the Internet.  

    All the evidence -- and quite a bit of the commentary you read online -- is in our favor and, unless a church forces members to exist in complete isolation from the rest of society, it’s inevitable that they’re going to be exposed to the evidence contradicting their own beliefs one way or the other. It may have been possible to “protect” Christians from opposing viewpoints before the Internet but it’s hard as hell to do that now.  Perhaps even more importantly, it’s easy to find other who disagree with what your pastor may be saying.

    Sure, the Internet is a great place to find a church or hear a sermon -- but for every site informing you about a church’s location, there’s a forum with a negative review of the same place.  You can post a sermon online, but others will post responses and rebuttals to it.  You can blog about Jesus all you want, but anonymous commenters will quickly poke holes in your faulty logic for everyone to see.

    Church used to be a one-way street. The pastor fed you information and that was that.  The Internet upended that model and gave people the opportunity to talk back.  Now, they can weigh their own arguments on matters of faith with that of people who disagree. Many Christians won’t go actively searching for dissenting views, of course, but what about doubters? What about young Christians who aren’t sure they accept what the church teaches them? They’ll be able to come to their own conclusions and they won’t necessarily be the same ones their parents and pastors want them to adopt.

    This is why atheists love the Internet. We can tell Christians the emperor’s not wearing any clothes. We can question the dogma they’ve simply accepted all their lives. We can expose religious frauds. We can explain the many unfortunate consequences of unquestioned belief. The Internet is blind faith’s worst nightmare.

    The genie’s not going back in the bottle. Religious leaders should be very afraid.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/how-the-web-is-killing-faith/2012/05/24/gJQAMHgLnU_blog.html


    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #1 - May 25, 2012, 12:18 AM


    Of course the internet is a tool for propagating dawah and so on, and the pushback hasn't really got to speed yet, but the ability to challenge without censorship is what is key.


    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #2 - May 25, 2012, 12:39 AM

    The internet has killed my mind...

    "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor E. Frankl

    'Life is just the extreme expression of complex chemistry' - Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #3 - May 25, 2012, 01:40 AM

    It is interesting. On the one hand you can say that the internet challenges religion and helps people open their minds to alternative viewpoints because anybody can get any side of the story so easily.

    Yet on the other hand you could argue that it only reinforces narrow-mindedness because people have the ability to only read what they want to read. I.e. they only go to the specific sites that they agree with etc.

    But I think the greatest asset that the internet has with regards to challenging Islam in particular is the anonymity. Anybody can say anything online and nobody knows who they are so they are safe.

    I am kicking myself that I used the facebook comment application for my website, because basically I have removed the anonymity factor.

    Note to self, develop my own comment system, especially if I ever get the site translated into Arabic.
  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #4 - May 25, 2012, 09:20 AM


    Good points Tony. I think that as much as it allows the religion to organise and prosletyse, they don't realise how the game has changed - the blasphemy taboos no longer exist, people are speaking out and challenging on a platform that is instant, universal, and primed to de-bunk them. Its a paradigm change in many ways.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #5 - May 25, 2012, 05:40 PM

    Yes, not only is the ability to publish information anonymously a crucial feature of the web when it comes to undermining Islamic misinformation, but also the ability to access this info anonymously without being caught by the thought-police. They have to resort to nationwide blocking filters but people can get around that.

    But I think there are still some powerful dynamics benefiting dawaganda, even in this internet age. There are far more people publishing online dawah material than debunking it, and there is no major platform for people like us to publish debunking material. There's general sites like youtube, but nothing dedicated just to debunking Islamic arguments. All the major sites like answering-Islam or wikiislam have a reputation of being run by people who want to feed hatred of Muslims, or at the same time promote Christianity. So people who don't want to risk their work being tainted have to publish on their own obscure websites, scattered about, lost in the midst of double digit google results pages. The difficulty of being found by the intended audience is a disincentive to bother debunking stuff at all, and few people not driven by hate or zeal to promote their own religion are motivated to do so.

    Another thing, and to some extent this can happen on both sides, is that when there is a heavy confirmation bias, a false or exagerated piece of evidence will spread quickly. Then someone else exagerates it further and the version most condusive to the bias spreads all over the web (I guess it counts as a "meme"). Not much anyone can do about it at that stage. I see people generating bullshit evidence for Islam all the time, from Hamza Tzortzis with his mistranslated quotes and quotemines, or the invented scientists Dr Sloth posted about recently. The same thing happens when evidence is generated to counter debunking efforts.

    A difference with Christianity is that anyone can quickly check if a Bible verse is being misquoted or quotemined. But with the hadiths, it's pretty hard a lot of the time to trace where a quote is meant to come from and check it. So it's much easier to get away with making stuff up or quotemining. It's also easier to choose from the assorted meanings of Arabic words to make them say whatever you want.
  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #6 - May 25, 2012, 05:49 PM

    So people who don't want to risk their work being tainted have to publish on their own obscure websites, scattered about, lost in the midst of double digit google results pages. The difficulty of being found by the intended audience is a disincentive to bother debunking stuff at all, and few people not driven by hate or zeal to promote their own religion are motivated to do so.


    Well I am motivated to do so, and my motivation does not come from hate or promoting religion.

    My site has position #2 for both "Rise of Islam" and "Rise of Christianity" search terms in Google. (second only to Wikipedia). About 3 months ago I was actually beating Wikipedia and held the number 1 spot for both search terms. Don't know what happened to change that.

    Anyway, you are forgetting that wikipedia itself can be edited by anyone, and as long as you reference everything you write about Islam on wikipedia, then the Muslims cannot take it down. They will try but the mods will revert their changes if they have no good reason to remove it. I have put some stuff on wikipedia about Muhammad and Islam, made sure it was well referenced, and Muslims are always trying to remove it. But the admins will always back me up and put it back up.
  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #7 - May 25, 2012, 06:02 PM

    That's great to hear about your website's ranking Tony. No doubt a lot of Muslims have learned about the Arab conquests that way and have gone on to investigate futher. What I meant was more in terms of specifically debunking Islamic arguments about Muhammad, the Qur'an, philosophical arguments and miracle claims. The kind of stuff you find on the other sites I mentioned which have a poor reputation among Muslims. I don't know of any high ranking sites for that kind of info that would be respected by Muslims. I did forget about wikipedia though, but I'm not sure that pages debunking specific Quranic miracle claims or in depth analysis of specific errors in the Qur'an would be allowed. They would rely too much on original research for one thing.
  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #8 - May 25, 2012, 09:39 PM

    I'm not sure that pages debunking specific Quranic miracle claims or in depth analysis of specific errors in the Qur'an would be allowed. They would rely too much on original research for one thing.


    It is funny you should say that nj7 because whilst there is nothing that I know of about Koranic scientific miracles on the English wikipedia page, on the Arabic one, under the article for Muhammad there is a section called "Splitting the moon". And there is a picture of some long canyon on the moon.

    And the caption below has some text in Arabic, which when I threw into the google translator, it gave me:

    Quote
    Picture of a groove found on the surface of the moon by the crew of Apollo 10, [350] It is believed by Muslim scholars that as a result of miracle split the moon


     Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

    Someone who can write Arabic really ought to debunk that nonsense. Though I am not sure how impartial the mods are for the Arabic language wikipedia.....
  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #9 - May 25, 2012, 11:23 PM

    Good points, good discussion.

    I think that the slack in countering dawah will be taken up as people get organised. The awareness that the death / violence taboos can simply be by-passed is going to reach a critical mass at some stage.

    Islam, like all prosletysing religions doesn't know what has hit it yet.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #10 - May 25, 2012, 11:28 PM

    Your optimistic Billy, I like that. And I think I agree with you.

    The internet will perhaps be the nail in the coffin for Islam, or at least strict interpretations of it.

    Then the real key to winning the propaganda war is to work towards free and open access to the internet all over the world.
  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #11 - May 25, 2012, 11:33 PM


    Here is a post I wrote last year

    Do you think they have thought through the implications of it fully?

    Modern communication technologies, in particular the internet, has already done, and is going to do more to destroy the death taboo against criticism, dissent, scrutiny and rejection of Islam than anything else in history.

    Because of the dissemination of knowledge, the anonymity afforded by it, people can speak the truth without fear of being assaulted, threatened or killed. Mohammad, Quran, hadith, Islamic history, Islamic culture, is all up for assessment, scrutiny, ridicule, satire, and rejection. The structures that have kept Islam unquestioned for so long, are simply circumvented. This genie can never be put back on the bottle now. I don't think believing Muslims have thought the implications of this through.





    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #12 - May 25, 2012, 11:33 PM

    Do you think there's a discontinuity between ideologies shared, discussed etc on the 'internet world' and the amount that transfers to the 'real world'?


    "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor E. Frankl

    'Life is just the extreme expression of complex chemistry' - Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #13 - May 25, 2012, 11:37 PM

    Yes, there is. But something has to give eventually. The bubble has to burst.

    Imagine if everybody was pretending to be Muslim in the real world but then secretly criticizing it online, eventually people will start talking about this stuff in the real world too.
  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #14 - May 25, 2012, 11:37 PM

    There is a discontinuity to a degree stardust, but it can change. We're still in flux. In real terms, the internet only just started. We haven't gotten to grips with its transformational influence yet.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #15 - May 25, 2012, 11:39 PM

    Yes the first role that the internet can play is to allow for an open forum for discussion. But then later down the road, when the discussion is done, the internet is equally useful in allowing people from allover to come together and organize in the real world.
  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #16 - May 25, 2012, 11:42 PM

    Yes, there is. But something has to give eventually. The bubble has to burst.

    Imagine if everybody was pretending to be Muslim in the real world but then secretly criticizing it online, eventually people will start talking about this stuff in the real world too.


    See, all it can do initially is seed ideas - which in the long run are the most subversive thing of all.

    In the context of the UK, I really believe that the truth claims made by Islam and Islamic identity politics will be cooked and eaten by the internet, but thats because we already exist in a secular society.

    Elsewhere where Islam has control of institutions, societies and polities it will be different, but the point is, this jinn has escaped and is never going to stop whispering in ears now.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #17 - May 25, 2012, 11:45 PM

    See, all it can do initially is seed ideas - which in the long run are the most subversive thing of all.

    In the context of the UK, I really believe that the truth claims made by Islam and Islamic identity politics will be cooked and eaten by the internet, but thats because we already exist in a secular society.

    Elsewhere where Islam has control of institutions, societies and polities it will be different, but the point is, this jinn has escaped and is never going to stop whispering in ears now.



    Heh. Very poetic.

    "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor E. Frankl

    'Life is just the extreme expression of complex chemistry' - Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #18 - May 25, 2012, 11:48 PM

    I agree there is a discontinuity to a degree, was just wondering about your opinions on it. And what sort of time frame you would give it...anywayz

    Tongue


    "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor E. Frankl

    'Life is just the extreme expression of complex chemistry' - Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #19 - May 26, 2012, 12:29 AM

    I think its already happening to an extent - as the article by Hemant Mehta describes, its created a space for dissenters and critics of religion to not just organise but to repudiate religions. This is accelerated in already secular societies, but it will take time to have an affect in other places. Very difficult to calculate time scales especially in places like Iran or Saudi where the state has so much control.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Re: How the internet is killing faith
     Reply #20 - May 27, 2012, 07:58 PM

    I think the fact that religion is even challenged at all is a game changer. before any kind of criticism was quickly snuffed out. Also the fact that there is now a flood of religious stuff can also backfire as people get confused over the different interpretations. As the world becomes smaller and we are longer contained in our community bubble knowing only one lifestyle; the Internet is the gateway to the world. You meet someone of a different religion and then you seek answers for they believe in that, even within your own sect.
    The common starting point of moving away from one's religion is seeing through another lens. Maybe you were forbidden from doing something and they see a belief that does it proudly and without consequences and then you wonder. Or you realize outside of your religious sect more that half of the world is damned to hell and you question things.

    For me all this Islamic knowledge being put out there can backfire. It did for me.  I use to hold Islam in high regard till I went online and read up Hadiths and then it just seemed dumb. By placing religious materials out there, these institutions are making themselves fair game for ridicule.
    Since we, the non-believes are a sect that has been shut out for years, compared to the preachers who have been indoctrinating people for thousands of years it is we who have the upperhand/opportunity via the net not them. They've had there share of unchalleged sermons and laws.

    One must also remember the Internet is policed in some parts of the world, so it would be unfair to assume every had open access to this information.

    The Internet I believe strengthens the bond of current believers, by creating communities through social media so they can feed off of each others beliefs. However, this does little for skeptics. Converts are usually drawn in by direct contact and face face discussions with religious people.

    Wow that's way too long.

    ***~Church is where bad people go to hide~***
  • 1« Previous thread | Next thread »