By: Ryan Blaser
The integration of technology into our modern society disrupts the growth of religion.
As technology becomes rapidly integrated into our contemporary society, people all over the world are being influenced by the plethora of information to which they are exposed. This information can take many forms, including social media posts, news articles, or even the results for a given topic being looked up in a search engine. Whether people like to admit it or not, this information can have a profound effect on the way people view the world. One facet of society that has been greatly affected by this is religion.
The Entertainment Industry pushes Atheistic Agendas
| Superman is portrayed as the god-like power |
that is destructive to humankind
The media constantly portrays religion in a negative light. The past two movies that I have seen in theaters, X-Men: Apocalypse and Batman v.s. Superman, have attacked commonly held religious beliefs by attributing the power of God to a superhero/villain. Both movies had strong atheistic undertones which mocked those of faith. Another favorite TV show of mine, The Office, portrays the Christian character as strict, hypocritical, and tightly-wound. Those who are religious could be offended or even embarrassed by these negative portrayals, causing them to rethink their religious affiliations.
The News debates Religious "Discrimination"
| Religion displayed as intolerant|
| Religion portrayed as discriminatory|
Anti-Religious Material Runs Rampant
As a Christian missionary, I was often faced with people who were disinterested with our message because they had read negative things about our church on the internet. I found this rather disheartening and wondered how such blatantly false or contorted information could be so prevalent. As I have studied more, I realized that this is not a new issue.
| Thomas Paine|
In todays society, we have taken these Enlightenment principles one step further and reasoned that, because we cannot see Him, God does not exist. The difference between a work like Paine's and what we see today is the sheer amount of anti-religion materials that exist. This is in large part due to the advent of the internet and the dissemination of information thereon.
Drowning in Information
It is not only anti-religious information that is the problem. I believe that because of the amount of information available on the internet, people fill their time with things that are more trivial than they would have if they did not have internet access. This leads less time for pondering things such as the purpose of life and what happens after death.
| Social media takes over|
What can we do?
The internet is full of so much negative content that it is difficult to see the good in the world, even though there is undoubtably much out there. One way we can take an active part in this issue is by searching out the truth, rather than passively taking the information we receive from the media, as a contemporary of mine, Josh Olsen, states in his argument concerning our role as amateur scientists in the digital age. Another suggestion given by a religious leader, Elder David A. Bednar, encourages members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Share Goodness . Though this is from a religious point of view, anyone can post positive things about their families, their beliefs, and their experiences that are meant to uplift rather than to tear down. Then you can use the hashtag #ShareGoodness to link it to a community of others who have similar experiences. I encourage you all to help fill the internet with good, uplifting content that can help combat the negativity that is so prevalent in our society. In relation to my claim that the integration of technology disintegrates religion, positive, authentic, and genuine content about religion can help to combat this ongoing onslaught against religion in the media.
 Batman v.s. Superman Image - https://i.ytimg.com/vi/ajCOaIqaZdc/maxresdefault.jpg
 Oregon bakery owners refuse to pay damages in gay wedding cake case - http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/10/01/oregon-bakery-owners-refuse-to-pay-damages-in-gay-wedding-cake-case.html
 "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone Not Like Us" Image
 Backlash Grows Over 'Religious Freedom' and 'Anti-Discrimination' Push - http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/backlash-grows-over-religious-freedom-anti-discrimination-push-n554016
 Why Indiana's Religious Freedom Law is Such a Big Deal - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/01/indiana-religious-freedom_n_6984156.html
 Disney Threatens to Pull All Film Projects from Georgia if Governor Signs This Religious Liberty Bill - http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/03/23/disney-threatens-to-pull-all-film-projects-from-georgia-if-governor-signs-this-religious-liberty-bill/
 'Religious Freedom Bill is a "License to Discriminate"' Image - http://freedommichigan.org/livingstondaily/
 Discussion Board - http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2016/04/11/35379778-backlash-grows-over-religious-freedom-and-anti-discrimination-push?d=1
 The Age of Reason - http://www.deism.com/images/theageofreason1794.pdf
 Thomas Paine Image - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Paine
 Brown, John Seely & Duguid, Paul (2000). The Social Life of Information. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
 Media Board Structure Image - https://pixabay.com/en/social-media-board-structure-1157114/
 Share Goodness Image - http://wholesomemommy.com/zoes-kitchen-wants-to-share-goodness-with-you-a-give-away/
 Share Goodness - https://www.lds.org/church/share/goodness?lang=eng