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Do Advancements in Technology Lead to Atheism?

Updated on June 3, 2016
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.

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Technology vs. Religion

Our Beliefs vs. Tech Industry

Does technology really influence how we feel about religion? Does it promote atheism?

That's a very tricky question, but there are many ways to go about this.

For some there's the idea that the more society advances, the more likely religions will suffer. For others they either don't see the tech industry as a threat or they fight against it.

As far as the subject is concerned, atheism and agnosticism has been growing over the past several years and the power of the church, temple, or other religious staple has been declining.

But whose to blame?

How much power does technology have over our beliefs, and are there other forces that have influenced the rise of atheism.

Technology vs. Socialization

Social Media's Influence on Religion

Technology has worked with us to produce communicative outlets like Facebook or Twitter, but should social media dictate recent trends of atheism or should it be the tech that created social media platforms?

Partly responsible for the rise of nonbelievers is the ability to look at a huge chunk of the population through social brands. It gives us a broader perspective of the world and what they're thinking.

That perspective helps us form new and different opinions than those we've been raised with, and this is particularly true of millennials and the generation Z populous. It's those groups that are challenging religion the most.

They grew up during the digital age and have either been born or aged into social media, but things were already changing well before Facebook and Myspace began.

The amount of people who believed in deities started declining when the world wide web emerged. Since then we've seen a steady global decline in religious beliefs.

However having a broader perspective can't be the reason why people abandon religion, so what other factors tell them to stop believing?

Science Fiction Becomes Nonfiction

Google Self-Driving Car
Google Self-Driving Car | Source

Science Fiction to Reality

Today we are seeing and hearing about advancements that were viewed as science fiction as early as 50 years ago.

The idea of a smartphone, voice control, or autonomous vehicles wasn't something people believed was going to happen, but rather concepts that were futuristic.

Even events like the moon landing was something no one 100 years ago would think were possible, but that's where we're headed. It's very likely that the first humans on Mars could be our generation's moon landing.

But what does this have to do with atheism and religion?

Well if we're able to manipulate our environment and create things that were only viewed as fiction, then in a way, it's like we're playing god. This is true in the health industry when we're able to cure once incurable diseases and use science/medicine to increase our life spans.

The more we're able to control the natural order, the more our religious views become jaded. How can our beliefs be justified if one day we can prevent death and aging from happening.

That would completely go against what most religions preach.

Information vs. Religion

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Does Information Decrease Religion?

As we learn more about everything, do our beliefs suffer as a result?

In the Google age, the answer is just a few taps or voice commands away. We no longer have to rely on individuals for information and our ideas broaden.

Social media may give us insights into people's thoughts and ideas, but true understanding comes from our own experiences. I've discovered that learning about the world and how it progresses has shaped my religious outlook.

It may not have seemed that way at first but the older I got, the more I realized my mind has altered and not merely due to aging/maturity. The generations before me had also matured but they never loosened their beliefs, so what makes me a special snowflake.

I use technology to get answers just like millions of my peers, and it would appear that those most informed are the ones that divert from the pathways they grew up with.

Learning about the world, technology, and the future has changed what was once a standard method of religious thinking. It's what's causing the shift we're seeing right now.

Is Technology a Bad Thing?

If Technology Causes Atheism, Is it Bad?

Should we hate technology because it's partially responsible for the rise in atheism?

No...

Why would you hate something that saves thousands of innocent lives daily and keeps people safe/informed. Why would you hate something that gives you joy, entertainment, and familial communication.

If elder generations who are most religious hated what technology has done, then why would they watch TV, use Facebook, or get pacemakers. They can't deny its use, and they can't say they hate technology unless they're Amish (maybe).

On the other hand, they do complain about aspects of the industry that has removed people from religion, but wouldn't that be hypocritical? Of course it would but humans are built to be that way, yet there's another question to be asked.

Why is atheism such a bad thing?

Maybe it isn't as bad as our ancestors thought it was.

Atheism vs. Tolerance

Source

Are Atheists More Tolerant?

According to several studies, atheists and agnostics are more tolerant of homosexuality compared to most religions.

Ranking Religions on Acceptance of Homosexuality

That shouldn't be surprising given a lot of religions do not favor same sex relationships or marriages, and in fact, they punish those who practice them. That's the case in many parts of the world today.

Being tolerant is important given where our society is heading, but we also have to be generous towards others. A few studies showed that atheists and children of atheists are more likely to be generous towards other people.

Children of Atheist Parents "kinder and more tolerant"

I realize these studies don't determine everything, but there seems to be a trend where atheism doesn't appear to be as bad as some think.

Given that logic, if tech does lead to an increase in atheism, then is technology making the world an acceptable place?

Possibly but how will it affect our future in the decades ahead, and what will become of religion if this is true.

The Future of Religion

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The Future of Atheism

Atheism is projected to grow in the decades ahead but so is religion.

Will Religion Ever Disappear?

The world may eventually be split into a few major religions as minor organized groups get phased out. In particular, Christians and Muslims are likely to be the top two dominant religions by 2050.

The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050

However I think a lot of these projections are underestimating the impacts of the tech industry and scientific advancements.

Personally I think if scientific advancements continue to accelerate, then we may one day see a collapse of "organized" religion. It may take decades or a century for this to happen but unless tech innovation stops or declines sharply, then it's going to happen.

This doesn't mean that faith and morality will be eradicated, but we're going to see very secular forms of that ideal.

It may appear scary to many but it doesn't have to be a terrible thing. The true pinnacle of human achievement is when we can combine tolerance, faith, and technology to create a better society.

I think that's what technology is trying to do. It wants to bring us closer together and widen our viewpoint so that we become more tolerant of everyone's beliefs including atheists/agnostics.

The world is after all a small place, so why not embrace it rather than forego it.

Your Turn!

Does Technology Lead to Atheism?

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    • Tara Mapes profile image

      Tara Mapes 11 months ago

      I think its a combination of knowledge that leads one to a path of seeking more knowledge. The greatest philosophers encouraged to always question. Does more knowledge lead to atheism? It depends on the individual. I hope it leads to more self-discovery and questions. Unfortunately, I think because technology has provided a platform for everyone to feed their minds without tasting what they're consuming has lead to blind 'followers' of trends or beliefs that are boxed up in untruths.

      My beliefs do not fit in a box because of my intrinsic motivation to know more about what I speak about and believe in. Technology has helped me form opinions but ultimately I think it is the person's efforts combined with their desires to know that will form their ultimate belief system.

      Great hub. I love thought provoking pieces :)

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 11 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      A very enlightening analysis and thank you for sharing. I agree about those who use technology as a crux rather than a tool to help form their own ideals and motivations. The former is what made innovation so incredible but lately it's been entirely mixed up and has led to "blind followers" as you've stated.

      I'm glad you've used it for good and as guidance/information because that's what I want people to get out of it. We're really on the brink of something immense that's about to take hold, so it's incredibly important to not let this new era take over who you are. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 11 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Chris....This is superbly written. It's obvious you put serious thought, research & respectful balance into this.

      It's been apparent to me that while "religious affiliations" have dwindled drastically & religious institutions are steadily closing up shop (at least here across America) I still have to think that those with closely-held personal "beliefs" are alive and well.

      I do not disagree with what you present here. I'm not sure I can accept that it is atheism that may be growing but certainly the world of technology has created widespread curiosity and serious cause for (especially our younger generation) to question, doubt and continue to search & educate.

      This may become Page One google material, Chris. Kudos to you and your work. Peace, Paula

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 11 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm not one to offend religious groups but rather present a few outlooks on formally stable ideals of faith. I do not see personal beliefs fading anytime soon because after all we are humans who want to believe there's more than just us.

      I am leaning towards organized religions devolving down the line but not our own beliefs. The beauty of personal beliefs is that they don't have to be tied down to a book or a specific religion; they rest within us. That's why one does not have to attend church every Sunday to believe in something greater. I don't want that to fade away, I hope technology can merely give us more to explore than shut down.

      Page one would be nice lol but I'm just happy to be able to express my thoughts on these matters. That's the beauty of technology too, how else would we be able to share with so many other people. Thank you again.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 11 months ago from Hamburg, New York

      Yes we have Google and social media at out finger tips to help us with fact finding and the opinions of others, but can either of these really help us in answering the questions about our place in the universe? But does organized religion help us answer these questions? I say no to both, the answers always come from within ourselves. But that does not mean we cannot believe in a higher source. Good thought provoking article.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 11 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you. People can be so impressionable sometimes, so they look towards other sources/people to develop their own beliefs. I agree that neither can directly help you discover what you believe in but many don't have it in themselves to find that meaning either. Perhaps they're too afraid to choose so they decide not to and rely on organized religion or other means.

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