Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Integration of Technology Disintegrates Religion

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

[1] 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"

[3] Religion displayed as intolerant
Other forms of media, including our news stations, tend to portray religion as discriminatory or intolerant. Several events have occurred in which those who refused to provide business services based on their religious opinions, including doctors who refuse to perform abortions or even a baker who refuses to provide cake to a gay couple for their wedding [2]. Those who view this content could easily be dissuaded from having any affiliation with a religious group, sheerly due to the way religion is portrayed in this instance.

[7] Religion portrayed as discriminatory
There have also been several instances of states that have received bad publicity for passing religious freedom laws. Though the laws are intended to protect those with religious beliefs from doing anything against their conscience, the laws are labeled as "discriminatory." Georgia, North Carolina and Mississippi [4], and Indiana [5] have had their share of pressure from citizens to appeal or veto these laws. In Georgia specifically, businesses such as Disney [6]and the NFL threatened to remove their business from the state if such a "heinous piece of legislation" were signed. It is interesting to note that, in the article on North Carolina and Mississippi, there is a discussion board [8] that received hundreds of comments over the course of two days, indicating that there are many people who are passionate about both sides of this issue. However, the negative tone of the comments is evident and is usually relating religion to "bigotry", "racism", and other intolerant attributes.

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.

[10] Thomas Paine
During the Enlightenment, society began to be increasingly secular as people focused on empiricism, a way of gaining knowledge through observation and experimentation, which could only be based off of physical evidence. Philosophers such as Renes Descarte urged people not to take what they learned at face value, but to question the knowledge of the day and conduct individual experiments. One Enlightenment thinker, Thomas Paine, wrote The Age of Reason [9], an entire book devoted to disproving Christianity and other organized religions of the day. Though he was not an atheist, Paine used reason to discourage people from believing in religion that was, according to him, only there to gain power over its members. 

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.

[12] Social media takes over
In The Social Life of Information [11], Brown and Duguid talk about how certain companies advertise as having all the answers (p. 19-20). This is even more evident now than when the book was written. Google boasts millions of web pages customized to answer any question that you may pose. If you want to know what the meaning of life is, Google has the answer (linked to Wikipedia, of course). Even searches related to religion bring up so much content that the reader cannot dream to digest all of it and may lose hope in finding the truth. Though religious groups fight back by digitizing their own content with websites such as,, and even member initiated discussion-based sites like, many might find it difficult to choose a given religion, especially with all of the negative material that exists that could dissuade them from making a decision.

What can we do?

[13] #ShareGoodness

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 [14]. 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.

Works Cited

[1] Batman v.s. Superman Image -

[2] Oregon bakery owners refuse to pay damages in gay wedding cake case -

[3] "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone Not Like Us" Image 

[4] Backlash Grows Over 'Religious Freedom' and 'Anti-Discrimination' Push -

[5] Why Indiana's Religious Freedom Law is Such a Big Deal -

[6] Disney Threatens to Pull All Film Projects from Georgia if Governor Signs This Religious Liberty Bill -

[7] 'Religious Freedom Bill is a "License to Discriminate"' Image -

[8] Discussion Board -

[9] The Age of Reason -

[10] Thomas Paine Image -

[11] Brown, John Seely & Duguid, Paul (2000). The Social Life of Information. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

[12] Media Board Structure Image -

[13] Share Goodness Image -

[14] Share Goodness -


  1. This is an interesting perspective. You claim that religion is usually portrayed negatively, but I'm inclined to think it's more typically not protrayed at all. Secularism isn't the same thing as anti-religion. Is it really media where religion is missed, or education systems? Both consider religion a hot potato but there are places where it's still thriving (usually with a conservative audience), integrated.

    And I'm not sure that people expect Google to be an answer engine - some people ignore existing information if they can't find it or already have a deep-seated-enough opinion to act in some cause, plus information overload is a reality, even if you consider solely the number of religions and spiritual organizations out there.

    1. I tried to change my display name, I'm Josh Olson.