The Mass in Religion has Always Been in the Street
Elizabeth Drescher questions the wisdom of viewing the Internet as a cause of the disaffection with organized religion, pointing out that for the public "mass" media has always held greater allure than religious Mass itself, and that the demise of religious affiliation has been bemoaned over several hundred years. She suggests that while the compulsion to religiously-identify weakens as society becomes more open the needs religion is intended to fulfill (yet often don't) are filled elsewhere.Drescher:
This is clearly the gist of a now relatively steady stream of research and commentary that has formed itself into something of an exurban legend. One more time with feeling: The Internet is Killing Religion. I’ve talked about the absurdity of this claim so many times that I hardly had the energy to bang my head on my desk more than a few times when I saw the Google alerts replaying it in my inbox this week... At the least, we might look at they ways in which other social platforms—coffee shops, cycling groups, drop-in yoga classes, and, yes, online social networking sites—have begun to reconfigure and redistribute benefits traditionally correlated with (but not necessarily caused by) religion and to mitigate its associated harms (even if also accruing harms of its own).The takeaway: religion that speaks to people in terms that relates to their experience has a better chance of reaching many – just like the Internet.