So Strong; yet so calm: Mary's Choice.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Religion may not survive the Internet -

Religion may not survive the Internet - With or without the net (but especially with it) believers sometimes find their worldview in pieces. 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. So, doubters used keep silent and then disappear into the surrounding culture. Now they can create websites, and today there are as many communities of former believers as there are kinds of belief. These communities range from therapeutic to political, and they cover the range of sects: Evangelical, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, and Muslim. There’s even a web home for recovering clergy.

This might sound odd, but one of the threats to traditional religion is interfaith communities that focus on shared spiritual values. Many religions make exclusive truth claims and see other religions as competitors. Without such claims, there is no need for evangelism, missionaries or a set of doctrines that I call donkey motivators (ie. carrots and sticks) like heaven and hell.  The Dalai Lama, who has lead interspiritual dialogue for many years made waves recently by saying as much: “All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.”

The power of interspiritual dialogue is analogous to the broader power of the web in that, at the very heart it is about people finding common ground, exchanging information, and breaking through walls to find a bigger community waiting outside. Last year, Jim Gilliam, founder of Nationbuilder, gave a talk titled, “The Internet is My Religion.” Gilliam is a former fundamentalist who has survived two bouts of cancer thanks to the power of science and the internet. His existence today has required a bone marrow transplant and a double lung transplant organized in part through social media. Looking back on the experience, he speaks with the same passion that drove him when he was on fire for Jesus:

I owed every moment of my life to countless people I would never meet. Tomorrow, that interconnectedness would be represented in my own physical body. Three different DNAs. Individually they were useless, but together they would equal one functioning human. What an incredible debt to repay. I didn’t even know where to start. And that’s when I truly found God. God is just what happens when humanity is connected. Humanity connected is God.
The Vatican, and the Mormon Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Southern Baptist Convention should be very worried.


Find it highly amusing that
this Super Bowl.



Totally agree with 
Dalai Lama that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether;
also believe there is a place for what I like to call 
"destructive (knocking pedestals from underneath) criticism" 
to help move that dialogue along.

As far as 
Jim Gilliam's view 
"humanity connected is God,"
I agree with that for the most part... 
the perspective of "God" AND "time" both being just abstract concepts.

Like I told my mother once:
"With everyone uploading their thoughts and personal informations up to the Internet...
cloud computing is the closest we are ever going to get to knowing the mind of g0d."

Take notice how I spelled the word 
with a lower case "g" and replace the letter "o" with the number "zero" instead;
 blue representing 
the title of a book written by Carl Sagan about earth.

Just my way of reinforcing the belief  
"God" and "time" 
ceasing to exist without a  human observer.

Adam and Eve                                                 Ship of State
by                                                                 by
Jan Balet                                                      Charles Bragg

If there truly is a God, then I will have to steal a title from one of James Herriot books by saying:

Then he has to be

 As all creatures not able uploading their thoughts to the internet;

"humanity connected is God"

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