Technology pushing Spirituality & Religion to extinction?

Robots

Yesterday morning on Twitter, I ran into a statement by my buddy, Jesse Oguns,  in which he asserted that religion and spirituality are heading for extinction. Hear him:

The number of people going completely secular increases with the acceptance of technology and science.

When robots take over, if they do, I suspect religion and spirituality will give way totally. My prediction.

You can see that this is not strictly about mobile technology, but then it is a matter of interest, as it explores how technology may be changing our lifestyles. I believe that technology for its own sake is a stupid idea anyway. That’s not how things work. But back to the topic: how is technology affecting us with regards religion and spirituality?

As a Christian, I am aware that church services have changed. There was a time when unbroken attention was the norm during church services. Now, we find people tweeting and responding to messages in church. While that is far from making religion extinct, it is a huge change in lifestyle and attitudes.

Jesse did claim that the number of people abandoning religion is increasing as the acceptance of technology is spreading. I am not sure how firm that claim is. I think that people just adjust their view and position of religion without dumping it outright. The new spirituality is just different from the old. I believe that man is religious by nature, while accepting that exceptions exist.

I haven’t lived with robots, and so cannot say yet how their presence will affect me. But I am thinking that having a robot around should give me more liberty to practice my religion and be as spiritual as I desire to be. But then, I have to wait till I own my first robot to be able to tell for sure. By the way, for Christians who know their bible in and out, remember that the False Prophet is stated as going to set up an image (idol) of the Anti-Christ and cause it to be worshipped? Yes? Remember also that it is written that he will cause that idol to come alive? What are the chances that we are looking at a robot here? Huh? What if technology and religion are not as far apart as many suppose?

Anyway, over to you guys: true or false that tech will kill religion and spirituality? Why do you hold to whatever position that you do? Will technology kill religion?

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38 comments

  1. Technology isn’t killing religion, technology can help strengthen religious faith if only ministers of religious sects can embrace it and use it to their advantage. For me I think science and technology has brought a lot of good that is easily accessible that we take it for grant. No one really appreciates the miracles that the science and technology has made available to all.

    Being secular is not that bad, as it would forster a more tolerate relationship between peoples of different religions.

    Blaming technology for a decline in attention granted during church services is just wrong. God knows that some ministers are deficient when it comes to holding their congregations attention with their choice of messages and delivery, before mobile phones became common place I remember that some people sleep during church services or even step outside to converse or walk around to keep awake. The mobile phone has only given people another option like browsing or tweeting.

    The analogy of robots in my opinion is wrong, robots only do want they are directed to do. Think about it.

  2. Excellent observation there from Martin. I also do not think that science and technology are responsible for people’s attitude towards religion, I believe that it is just a coincidence. For one, science and technology have made religious materials easily accessible to everyone these days and also at almost no extra cost.

    Probably the actions of religious leaders and their attitudes and choice of messages may be at fault. In fact, things like politics and the involvement of religious leaders into politics has by far more of the negative impact than science and technology.

  3. Technology I think will not push religion to extinction,rather it is promoting it;with your smartphone one can send/share bible verses and messages.pastors now don’t have to rumble their bible pages searching for verses while preaching a tap its all they need do.what more while traveling you can read your e-bible and bokoharam won’t…

  4. Well, the article has a point. First of all, the internet is the place where religion comes to die. Because of the internet, information becomes more and more available. Many religious claims are quickly shot down by history and scientific study.

    There are many religions before Christianity that are now extinct. It has happened before, there is a chance it could happen again.

  5. Well said Jesse, well said Glenda. With technology comes increased intelligence and more rational deep taught. By the time you’re done increasing your IQ you begin to see how ridiculous many religious claims are and how we’ve limited ourselves all in the sake of religion. It’s why you find a lot more agnostics/atheist in the developed world and on the other hand a lot more extremist in the undeveloped world.

  6. Glenda & Trae_z I think you guys over rate Hunan intelligence, Internet is an information highway quite right, but 95% of people barely use it as an information source unless you wanna count Facebook status updates and tweets as information that could change the course of history. as a disillusioned christian I don’t see the present generation freeing themselves from the clutches of organised religion, just go on Facebook and see how many likes or comments prayers get there.

  7. martinkem:

    I do not overrate human intelligence. It is what it is. The human mind is naturally curious. You said 95% of people barely use the internet as an information source? Can you please cite one source of this statistic?

  8. Firstly, I don’t necessarily agree with Jesse’s premise. Secondly, while some belief systems have died a natural death, I can’t agree with Glenda’s premise that it will happen again, unless your focus is one one belief system eg Christianity. There are many belief systems older than Christianity that still continue in spite of technological changes.

    If any of you have followed science fiction you also know that in some cases, a different belief system can involve the worship of technology. We may see it as such but those who worship their technical gods see nothing wrong with it. I’m sure it even happens now, where the creator is some powerful computer for which its servants do its bidding!

    What is happening more and more is a developing spirituality without a defined God. That is where belief is growing most. And as with atheism and secularism, it all comes down to individual choice. The growth of technology, rightly so, will not change people’s need to identify with a belief system.

    The lack of powerpoint and tablets does not affect my belief – am I there to worship tech?

  9. In my opinion, technology has made us ask more questions and seek for answers about what happened in those days.

  10. Well, Glenda I don’t have a bar chart to substantiate my claims but my interaction with people in my life (I get around), Facebook and twitter has left me with a strong conviction that people in general DO NOT READ and the internet has not and would not change that…I do not count celebrity news or gossip, Facebook status updates and tweets as reading….am talking books, papers, subjects that look at certain topics critically…
    You might be a voracious reader, but you shouldn’t apply the same line of thought to others..

  11. @Martinkem, your claim is ridiculous. I want to believe you mean the opposite. Even people that barely read paperback books and newspapers come to the internet for information. Go to universities. Look at blogs. Nowadays, “google it” is a cliche. Go to a site like nairaland and see how the internet is powering reasoning even among the unwilling. For those that say science doesnt affect religion, think again. There is a reason why developed countries have atheism as the fastest growing belief system. Science is the reason the creation story is being challenged. When religion was the centre piece of human civilisation, it was called the dark/middle ages. But with the rise of science, humanity moved on to the rennaissance. There is a reason many scientist are atheist. “Miracles” are debunked everyday by people who research on the web. Just last week, people were debunking the age long belief that “witches” press people at night. Finally, there is a reason religion has been at odds with science.

  12. Efe – if anything, Nairaland proves the point that people don’t read, or rather can’t be bothered. How many times have I seen people pose questions and the time it took them to do that they could have Googled it? Then when people say they should Google it, they get all offended and start insulting.

    I’d like to think that Martin means that, in spite of all the information out there, a lot of people are selectively ignorant and lazy when it comes to reading. Had this debate with someone recently who said Nigerians need “educating”. The argument the person presented had to do with a man working in a bank who didn’t know the offside rule in driving (this works on the premise that bank workers are learned and should therefore be educated/enlightened. But I’m sure this same bank worker knows the offside rule for football but not for driving. Is it really about education/enlightenment or selective ignorance?

  13. From religion view: Technology is a big key to anti-christ and you don’t have anyway of escaping once you’ve put any data online and you’re not rapture. When I was watching Tim Berners-Lee (WWW inventor) TEDtalk where he was campaigning for OpenData and all I could see was Anti-Christ himself, I didn’t say he is the anti-christ but he is preparing way for him, google, facebook, twitter and others are also big contributors. I always put my phone away in church bcos you could be tempted :.
    From the other view: Well, technology is a tool to make life better and so far it has been achieving it aims, although religion leaders need to adjust themselves because people are curious and are asking question because of different information from different revelations on the internet. Now there is need for every organization to be online and it’s very painful that religion organization are leading the chart, are these all about souls?

  14. @Noni, whether they get it from wikipedia or from fellow nairalanders, the fact remains that the internet and technology have provided a powerful tool for information and enlightenment. People come across knowledge willfully and otherwise. There are people who write to thank Posters for telling them something they never knew. Granted, many people will rather read about celebs than other things. Reading about celebs is also enlightenment isn’t it? A guy that can tell you how many grammys beyonce has won is enlightened in a way. I frequent nairaland and I can assure you that even people that would not be bothered are learning new things everyday, good or bad. Long held religious beliefs are been challenged more than anytime in history. So to claim that 95% of internet users do not look for information is preposterous. Nigerians may be willfully ignorant. Technology however has helped reduced that number. Look at the uproar “oga at the top” caused. Am pretty sure public officials are updating their knowledge about websites now.

  15. Efe, there will always be people who genuinely don’t know and need help to find answers for questions. And for the grateful people on Nairaland, this doesn’t take away from the fact that, even if people know about Wikipedia, they won’t look it up but would spend more time asking the question. I’m sure they are much better being enlightened via BBM and Whatsapp and looking up the information themselves. Before the internet, how did we find things out?

    And reading about some celeb is not about enlightenment, that’s usually about information, trivia even. It’s not like what happens to a celebrity will directly impact their day-to-day life though some people live for these things.

    I don’t think technology has reduced the number of willfully ignorant people in Nigeria. Those who want to know will look and ask questions, not ask questions before looking. I doubt your exposure to the internet is reflective of the majority of Nigerians with internet access.

  16. Noni:

    I never said that it will happen again. I said that “there is a chance” it will happen again. There is a big difference.

    martinkem:

    To have an objective discussion, we do not need invented statistics just so you can support your argument. Most people do not read does not mean the internet is not used as a source of information by 95 percent of users.

    Wexcely:

    Anti Christ? You are joking right?

  17. @Noni, at least they ask and in many cases get answers. Some do not even ask but get answers. Before widespread access to the internet, how did we get answers? How many people go to libraries? How many people read newspapers? I went to a university where we hardly had TVs in our rooms. The only time we watched TVs was when they was an important match, as such, we hardly knew what was happening in the outside world. Compare with today where news and information spread within seconds. People in my former university are still not buying TVs to watch the news but they are no longer as lost as they used to be for one reason- the internet. The internet has provided forums for debate that are impossible otherwise. People go to blogs to get entertained only to come out learning a thing or two. Besides, I don’t think its up to us to determine which info is appropriate or useful. While I personally think all the obsession with celebs is rubbish, there are people out there who believe tech lovers like us are jobless. There are people who would not understand why we visit mobility everyday. On nairaland, there was this topic of women giving birth to stone babies. As enlightened as I thought I was, that was the first time I was hearing about it just like thousands of other “willfully” ignorant users. But it doesn’t change the fact that thousands of people who wouldn’t be bothered otherwise learned a thing or two that day.

  18. Efe, I don’t know how old you are, but the idea that you only got your information and news of the world from TV is..and this is in University? I don’t know whether I should laugh or hold my head in my hands and despair!

    You miss my point – THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ASKING QUESTIONS. There is a problem when people are too lazy to look even for basic information before asking a question. That same internet that they have spent minutes logging into, going to the forum and posting. The same browser where they could Google it before asking. THAT is where the problem lies in my opinion.

    The average “educated” Nigerian (and I use this term loosely as educated does not necessarily equate to intelligent) doesn’t read a newspaper, only reads limited resources, yet expects to know and ask intelligent questions. I didn’t buy a single text book in University because I couldn’t afford it. There was no internet as there is today. I had sparse access to a television. But I read a lot and I still do. My sources are numerous and the internet is one of many. One of my biggest resources has always been people, who themselves hold a wealth of knowledge that we undermine in an age of technology.

    The internet may allow us easy access to information and misinformation (if you are inclined to believe everything you read online). It is easy to do things anonymously which is the beauty often of forums than, God forbid, taking the initiative and trying to find out by asking people in the real world, buying a paper or reading a book (people do still own and sell them).

    It all depends on what’s important to people and yes, we will make value judgements on what is and isn’t important because, as humans with ethics and morals that is how we function. C’est la vie.

  19. Spirituality and religion are not threatened by Technology. Science and Scientists. are not against God. Most of the things we say for science were originally predicted by Religion(the source of applied spirituality)
    1.Anti christ is not a product of technology or science,it was Infact,predicted by the Bible.It was religion that warned us of it.
    2. Human Intelligence:it was the Bible that told us,there is going to be so much proliferation of human knowledge! But with a corresponding level of sorrow and destructions-are we not witnessing these?
    3. The Christian religion,a source of sound spirituality has been ahead of science for ages. when scientists were pushing for a flat earth,the bible made it clear,that the earth was spherical and sits on nothing.
    4. The bible talked of a people who will push the Godless theory long before atheism was coined!
    5. Long before the science of using salts for water purification was identified,the Bible thru Elijah did the first water purification.
    6. Creation suddenly is now a viable scientific platform for accounting for the origins of life. Unfortunately evolution is looking more and more like voodoo magic than science! Infact creation has made us to appreciate a God that initiated creation itself by looking at ourselves,yes dont we create things? can these things turnaround and say they evolve?
    Long before we knew that,if a body travel at the speed of light it could collapse time,Angels have been using this scientific principles to carry out some of the most strategic operations,like visiting you and I and capturing the devil,and even giving Mary the goodnews!
    No sir! Technology will rather proliferate spirituality! The issue will be how do we glean or distil the TRUE scientific spirituality!

  20. jujukemist, I don’t agree with ur number 2, others I can ignore but no 2..check through history and see how much suffering and death religion has brought to the world.

    From Human Sacrifices to wooden gods, Moses asking the children of Israel to kill everyone of the people of the lands they sought to capture (including women, children and animals), Christian popes killing and torturing people (even early scientists) in the name of heresy, Muslims killing people in the name of a Jihad, suicide bombings. Today, we see churches trying to rob people of whatever little they have with ludicrous sermons with little or no charitable works to show for it.

  21. Jujukemist:

    Science never said that the earth is flat. It was the bible that stated that the earth was flat and standing on four pillars. When Galileo said that the Earth was not the center of the universe, the church was furious. Where did you get this absurd claim?

    Evolution is a fact. Creation has been disproven ever since Darwin published the origin of species. The bible creation story is a myth.

    I suggest you read the bible from cover to cover. Do not just choose the verses that you think is good. The bible is full of immorality.

  22. Is technology not as a result of increase of Human knowledge?
    Now how can we synthesize progress,when you selectively choose to disagree? and ignore others?

  23. sorry glenda, I do my research very well,believe me! your statement on Darwin shows you are not in touch with contemporary scientific findings.Your statement of the Bible shows you dont read the Bible,Infact you may be a bible hater! which is ok!
    It took you almost 12hrs to respond from your first shock,to your last position.That in itself spoke a lot of you. However since you disagree on the issues I raised,we may have to go into specifics. You may begin by telling the house the verse of the bible you are quoting,and after you,I will do same of mine. Then you will explain to the house,how you evolved from lizards pigs and dogs.
    Exception, I close this case. shukran!
    And please no partial or selective response.Take me up on all my points!

  24. Lol, jujukemist has thrown down the gauntlet Glenda!

    @ Glenda, “It has happened before, there is a chance it could happen again.”. This premise ignores adaptability. Many belief systems have adapted over the ages which is why much of the practices still remain today. So again, the likelihood of that happening is pretty small.

    The only way that has happened – if you can call it becoming extinct – is where that belief system is absorbed into another or the practitioners literally die out.

  25. Okay, get your bible and start reading people. I have read the bible twice, once when I was a kid. But that was just a bible story that was shortened. The ones with more illustrations than actual verses. Cover to cover. I read the King James version of the bible when I was in college, cover to cover. True, there are verses from the bible that is good, but a lot of other verses are immoral. Read this http://www.evilbible.com/.

    Evolution is a fact my friends. This is supported by enormous amounts of evidence. Even the Catholic Church accepts evolution. The fact that you can’t accept it does not mean you are right. It means you are either a fundamentalist or you just ignore the evidence. http://library.thinkquest.org/22446/Evidences.html

    Finally, it is possible to believe in God and not believe in the bible. I mean, if you believe in talking snakes, God turning a person to a pillar of salt, a man living inside a fish for days and Jesus walking on water, do not argue using science because those things are an impossibility in this known universe. There is nothing I or anyone would say that will change your mind.

  26. Evolution is the most illogical believe ever! Considering the complexities of living things and suggesting that same came from some accidental chemical reaction to give rise to species or biochemical products that went further changing their forms to ultimately (or are we still evolving) give rise to human beings and all the other complex creatures is preposterous at best and for someone to suggest there’s evidence to prove such? What a laugh! Anyone inclined to believe that should go ahead, after all we are free to indulge ourselves in whatever believe system we like but suggesting that such is proven?

  27. Harry Echemco:

    Well, consider the other side of the argument. God made Adam and then He made Eve from Adam’s rib. Is that more logical?

    There are numerous amounts of evidence for evolution. You just have to read and research. And I will say this again, if you believe that the bible is true then no evidence no matter how strong will change your mind.

  28. So then Glenda,we have no business debating! You, from your last too posts showed you have taken your position-dug in.So what ever I say cant change your mind.And since I had intended to change your mind,I shouldnt waste time argueing with you.
    How ever let me draw your attention to this fact.you cant use googled up links to respond to a direct question of; quote the verse of the Bible,eventhough this verses may be in the link you gave(I will not bother to check)It goes to show how you HATE the WORD of GOD.
    As Harry did say,we scientists are even so ashamed that our fore fathers in the scientific world bought the scrap Darwin sold. Now subjecting Evolution to the same scientific methods we were taught in the Universal academies if the world,we found out how embarrassing the theory of evolution is. For example, mathematicians have shown using probability calculations that in a so called organic soup of over 1 billion molecules the probability that 20 amino acids can simultaneously find themselves to form the 1st signs of live is IMPOSSIBLE! Try this at home; mix 25 red beans with just 1000 white beans.Dont even blind fold your eyes,use a measure and scoop from the mixed beans.you Will NEVERin one scoop pick 20 red beans, NEVER!
    Apart from the above,can you in your honest thought believe that Mr Mo,Harry, and Noni etal evolved from worms,lizards,dogs,pigs,maggots etc.Comon how disgusting. Off course that you will not agree doesnt make it any less the truth.That you dont believe in Juju,doesnt mean juju is not applicable. Funny,how God is still God intervening in the lives of men.
    There was a time no human believed we can overcome gravity and live on the moon,but before then Jesus did suspend gravity. Long before men agreed we can live in a submarine, Jonah experienced it first hand.
    Long before Mr Mobility took by storm the mobile wireless communication terrain.God was depolying radio and microwave technology in communicating with HIS most successful Project of HIS existence -MAN!

  29. Truth is, creation is no more believable than evolution. Both lack real evidence. As christians, our belief is based purely on faith. By definition, faith is belief without proof. A man evolving from a lizard or chimpanzee is just as ridiculous as a man been made from dust or a rib or a chicken creating the world by scattering sand with its feet as the Oduduwa story has it Without faith, most of the stories in the bible will sound ridiculous to everyone of us. Like someone said, until your God sends you food or money directly from heaven, do not be quick to call an unbeliever a fool.

    @Glenda, the Bible calls the earth a circle in Daniel. The catholic church misinterpreted the Bible, that is why Galileo was persecuted for saying the earth was spherical. So blame man not the bible for that incident

  30. Excellently said…(the below)

    “As Christians, our belief is based purely on faith. By definition, faith is belief without proof. A man evolving from a lizard or chimpanzee is just as ridiculous as a man been made from dust or a rib or a chicken creating the world by scattering sand with its feet as the Oduduwa story has it Without faith, most of the stories in the bible will sound ridiculous to everyone of us. Like someone said, until your God sends you food or money directly from heaven, do not be quick to call an unbeliever a fool.”

  31. We must believe in a thing or a cause. Dangerous are humans who dont know what they believe in.
    We must always remember,Man himself is essentially a SPIRIT being! ……….

  32. Yes, religion is based more on faith but anyone who will want to tell me that evolution has facts supporting it is a big joker. I mean, sometime jumping to fossils as proof of evolution, convenient avoiding the root of evolution itself, and that is that living thing came from some complex accidental chemical reaction to give rise to microscopic organism that eventually continued continued improving somehow to give rise to all the complex organisms now in existence.

    Perfectly dividing the organism into two different pivotal reproductive functions to give rise to male and female for most organisms in the animal category and make and female parts also in most plants. That must be one miraculous accident indeed.

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