Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Internet and religion.

Various religions ruled this world for last so many centuries unanimously and without any serious threat or challenge (apart from conflicts between each other). Empire of religion grew as it became more and more organized. As it became organized, it also became very powerful, so powerful that it was very easy for them to crush any opposition in name of blasphemy. It became a big enterprise, more like today's cell phone market. As everyone needed this product called religion different versions of it became available depending on time and need of that particular place. Some survived and some perished as they couldn't compete with big guns. Very few philosophies survived who dared to challenge concept of religion or God, so the empire of religion has ruled this world unanimously for so many centuries. But it seems there is one thing which is threatening the empire of religion like no one ever did before, it is not any organization or any new philosophy but it is a open and free information source called "internet". Internet is quite recent discovery but in last 20 years or so it has changed the way people collect information and the way they communicate with each other. It has changed the way information is generated and shared. This marvelous discovery in the field of information and technology has provided access to vast amount of information to almost anyone with a internet connection on any electronic device. Ignorance and lack of reliable and verifiable information was major reason for rise and spread of all religions. People had many questions but no answers and religion easily fulfilled that vacuum by providing them some explanations about the things happening around them which people struggled to explain with available knowledge of that time.

Today people can get answers to most of their queries by using any search engine on internet. They can find various views and opinions about any given topic by reading various discussions, blogs or articles freely available on different websites. Actually readers can choose how much information they want, they are no more limited with only one sided view or argument about any topic. This has challenged the propaganda run by different religions for centuries. Many people with open mind and lot of questions found internet as a vast ocean of information. Before it was very difficult to get hold of some book or a person who can provide some reliable information about many questions because of limited resources in many parts of the world but now it is  not that difficult. I can say these things based on my own personal experience. I started questioning religious practices and concept of god when I was in college, but no one bothered to answer those questions but rather I was told that it is wrong to ask such bad questions. Then I started reading books based on such subjects during my college days. I was lucky to have access to library and I am glad that I utilized that. Those books challenged my beliefs, questioned my faith and forced me to think, they forced me to raise questions even though no one was willing to answer them. I found some of the answers in those book and then some of them were discovered when I started learning about science and its amazing discoveries. Next level was attained when I came across the phenomena called 'internet'. It gave me lot of information and connected with many individuals who also think like me. I used to think I am the only one who find many problems with the way religion (in my case it was Hinduism) is practiced but I realized that there are many who are raising these type of questions. Internet helped me to educate myself without help from anyone. I was able to read a lot and collect lot of information, some was useful and some wasn't but it was my choice what to accept and what to reject. That information cleared lot of my doubts and also provided me a platform to share that information with others, this blog is a result of that effort. In this amazing journey on internet I also got connected with many people who whom I would not have met otherwise. It was really great experience to interact with them and get to know their views. It enriched my thinking for sure.

I have no doubt that internet is going to be a major force to challenge the authority of all religions. After realizing its potential and reach all religions are also using this as a tool to propagate their faith and many of them are doing it very effectively but at the same time it has provided a unique and safe platform to all who always faced threats and intimidation from powerful religious institutes. These powerful institutes now can't execute people on internet for blasphemy, they can't intimidate them like they used to do in past. So the game is on and now the fight appears to be fair at least in cyber world. Many people are getting more vocal and assertive with their views against bad customs and rituals from every religion which was not possible just few decades ago. This alternate voice which never had any stable platform can not only be heard but can also match the pitch and every note of that powerful and dominant voice which enjoyed unchallenged run so far. I am glad to see that slowly but steadily this alternate voice is forcing religion to change its attitude and modify its stance on many issues. I am sure this is just beginning and we are going to see more tolerant form of religion in coming years. Destruction of faith or religion should not be a motto but to make it more tolerant and flexible should be the purpose of challenging it. Religion has to change its intolerant attitude or it will perish slowly. I am sure it will prefer to change rather than to perish, after all who will like to destroy such a vast empire built over centuries at the cost of defending few lines from some ancient books. Thank you internet for giving us the space to raise our voice.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

1. Why the Internet is slowly strangling religion

1 comment:

  1. Vinay: Thanks for the great article. I completely agree with you. I have gone through the same thought process and experience as you.