“Is the Internet destroying religion?” I think it is making it very difficult to be religious. I think the Internet’s helping atheists in a lot of ways. And here’s the basic reason: the one thing the Church has over you is this idea that they have some sort of knowledge, and if you come to church you will acquire that knowledge. You know, it’s in the Bible, the pastor, the priest is gonna explain the Bible to you, and this is knowledge you can’t get from anywhere else. And you know what, sometimes they can keep you even more sheltered, they can make you go to Christian schools when you’re growing up. In elementary school, in high school, even in college. You can go to a Christian college. Or you could be homeschooled! Like you can be trapped in this Christian bubble that says “we have the knowledge, and no one else has it”. And what does the Internet do? It brings you knowledge at your fingertips. So all of a sudden, if you have questions, you don’t have to go to your pastor anymore. You can go to Google, and you can see what a lot of people have answered to your questions. It’s amazing how important that is, it’s exposure to knowledge. And, if you’re an atheist, and you’re having doubts about your faith, when I was growing up I didn’t know who to talk to, and by the way that wasn’t that long ago, but I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about my doubts. And so what did I do? I went on AOL and I would type in, like, “What happens when you don’t believe in God?” And I started realizing, there are some people out there who don’t believe in God, and I’m reading the things they’re saying, and it kind of makes sense. And I never would’ve just been exposed to that otherwise. I don’t even know how many atheist books were in my library. There probably weren’t that many, ’cause there weren’t that many written about them, about atheism. So, it’s all of a sudden not only can you answer questions, and you realize the Church is wrong, when it comes to a lot of those questions, you realize, “Oh! There are other people out there who’re going through the same thing I’m going through, it’s not weird to be an atheist, ’cause all these other people are atheists.” You could be anonymous and go on Reddit, and talk about your atheism. You can start your own blog, or read blogs, you can go on websites where they’re talking about religion, more importantly, I think you get exposed to different people and different ideas, and you know, one of the things I heard that the gay movement does really well and has done really well, is that people change their minds about homosexuality and their support for same-sex rights, when they know someone who is gay. And the Internet shows you that there’s so many atheists out there. And they’re everywhere, they’re not just random bloggers, but they’re celebrities, and they’re people you know in your community. And when you get exposed to more of these ideas and more of these people, it’s a lot harder to discriminate against atheists or make, you know, random stereotypes against atheists, when it’s so obvious that the answer’s right in front of your face, that you’re wrong. So, the Internet exposes people to more atheists, it exposes them to knowledge that the Church was trying to prevent them from getting. And when you factor in all that knowledge, and again now you could be sitting in the pews and you could be like, “oh, my pastor’s said this story, I’m gonna go to Snopes and check this out.” You can do that now, you could never do that before, and it’s amazing! It kind of breaks you free of this, you know, the shackles churches wanted to put you on. So hey, more power to more knowledge, so yeah, I think the Internet’s bad for religion. At least when it comes to organized religion, in the churches. The Internet is the pastor’s worst enemy. My name is Hemant Mehta, I write at FriendlyAtheist.com and we hope to see your comments and discussion below.