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How the Internet Destroys Faith

Christian apologist Josh McDowell is angry about the Internet. He claims it destroys faith: “The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have… whether you like it or not.”

He’s absolutely right.

Access to information helps people understand reality. Reality is a bullshit solvent. Accepting too much reality destroys faith.

That’s why religious organizations, and cults in particular, train their believers to insulate themselves from outside influences (reality). They limit or outright forbid followers from associating with people outside the cult, and train them to avoid movies, books, music, and anything else that might help dislodge the impaction of bullshit lodged between their ears.

Information is the enemy of anyone who wants to enslave people. Information doesn’t want to be free, *people* want to be free, and when information that can break the shackles is available people will get to it somehow. The easier it is to find, the more people will find it.

When I escaped from my cult I spent an enormous amount of time at the library. I took home stacks of books on every subject that interested me. I spent a year, unemployed and living in a ratty apartment, reading and reading and reading some more. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was deprogramming myself.

It took effort, and easy access to the library. But now all it takes is a click. Just one click, and there’s an idea a kid has seen for the first time. They see a different point of view about something they’ve been taught, and then another, and another. It’s simple, fast, and can be done in secret, over and over and over again. Slowly, gradually, doubts (reality) creeps in and a functioning bullshit meter begins to grow.

Angry is the wrong word to describe Mr. McDowell. His apparent anger is just an outward display of his real emotion: fear. He is afraid of the Internet.

And he damn well should be.

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3 Comment(s)

  1. I came out of the cult in the internet age and I think having free access to other ideas helped me to get free. I found out that there were other people who felt the same way I did and there were people who felt the opposite way. I was able to read ideas and not feel guilty about it. I looked at all the web sites they had warned me about. I realized that I was entitled to an opinion and did not have to blindly follow someone else in the name of “faith”. I could ask questions and get straight answers instead of being told that I had to believe what was being regurgitated to me. I also realized that just because someone wrote something on the internet, it didn’t have to be true.

    Carla Boutchyard | Nov 13, 2011 | Reply

  2. I think one thing to note, is that the Internet gives the Churches just as much access to the youth as it does “the bad guys”.

    If you bring your children up “right”, and with “faith”, they would not go onto “bad guys” web sites, and not be interested in “Poe-No-graa-Fi”.

    –I am only presenting a different way to look at the “problem” presented by Josh McDowell. I am not saying ether “side” is write or wrong, but only that he is silly to worry about something like the Internet.

    Jonathan | Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

  3. I’ve also come away from belief largely as a result of perusing countless aritcles and blogs on the internet — so shame on you, Dave, for turning me into a heathen. Seriously, though, this and other sites have made me think and reconsider what I had been taught to accept as truth. I’ve noticed that atheists never seem to have anything to hide when it comes to spiritual matters, and seem to welcome questions (I love that “Ask the Atheists” website) — while al too often my questions to religeous types, including my own wife, are met with stony silence or insolence. Makes sense, I suppose — with no petulant, irrational god to send you to hellfire you can feel freer to speak freely. I unfortunately have to tread carefully with my budding atheism, however; while I no longer fear the wrath of God the wrath of those in my life who believe in that God is another matter. In any case, keep up the good work, Dave, what you do here has an impact whether you see it or not.

    TimS | Dec 7, 2011 | Reply

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