Tweets from the Pope aren’t going to help—mainstream organized religion requires closed systems of information, and will inevitably be destroyed by the Internet, Valerie Tarico argues via Alternet:
The biggest threat organized religion has ever faced [is] the Internet. A traditional religion, one built on “right belief,” requires a closed information system. That is why the Catholic Church put an official seal of approval on some ancient texts and banned or burned others. It is why some Christians are forbidden to marry nonbelievers, and moms home-school their kids with carefully screened textbooks.
Religions have spent eons honing defenses that keep outside information away from insiders. The innermost ring wall is a set of certainties and associated emotions like anxiety and disgust and righteous indignation that block curiosity. The outer wall is a set of behaviors aimed at insulating believers from contradictory evidence and from heretics who are potential transmitters of dangerous ideas. These behaviors range from memorizing sacred texts to wearing distinctive undergarments to killing infidels. Such defenses worked beautifully during humanity’s infancy. But they weren’t really designed for the current information age.
Before the Internet existed most people who lost their faith kept their doubts to themselves. There was no way to figure out who else might be thinking forbidden thoughts. In some sects, a doubting member may be shunned, excommunicated, or “disfellowshipped” to ensure that doubts don’t spread. But today there are many online communities of former believers. There’s even a web home for recovering clergy.
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