Hemant Mehta of the Friendly Atheist recently made a claim that the Internet will eventually lead to religion's downfall because of its plethora of information and wisdom offered to those seeking answers to life's "toughest questions."
"There was a time when pastors were the ones full of wisdom, the ones who could answer the toughest questions about life, the people you went to when you needed advice and answers," the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief penned on his blog. "Thankfully, the Internet has done away with so much of what they offer."
He argued that just as magic shops were slowly disappearing across the country due to the accessibility of "trade secrets" online, religion too would begin to vanish because of the widely available resources on the Internet from Google to Reddit, which dispense inspiration, knowledge, and advice at the click of the finger.
But despite the thousands of resources available online, religion would not be marginalized or done away with because of what it offers – the Good News.
"The church and her ministers are not specialists on any particular body of information, have no corner on the market of inspiring stories or rhetoric, and claim no special insight for most forms of advice," Jeremy Mullen, an editor at The Center for Gospel Culture, affirmed. But there is one thing that they uniquely have: Jesus.
"Or, more accurately Jesus has them uniquely," Mullen wrote on TCGC.
While Mehta argued that the church and its pastors had no exclusive hold on anything today, offering nothing that couldn't be found elsewhere, including counseling, Mullen knew they offered the only thing that really mattered.
"It's not that they're special, but that they proclaim something special in Jesus' identity and accomplishments. The church (and its ministers) ought to leave behind the pretensions of knowing better than everyone else about many things, and prioritize the good news of Jesus."
"Just as surely as Mehta missed this point because he does not think he needs it, those who understand their need can't miss how completely this single bit of good news reorients everything else in their lives," he added.
Religion also offers one more thing in addition to Jesus – community.
"There is the obvious point that people actually gain something from community and from the advice of those they trust in a world awash with opinion and data," the editor of cultural review reasoned.
"Most of our choices are not governed by quantifiable factors. Additionally, even sorting through factual claims is less than straightforward on the web. Determining which authorities to trust is inherently an act of community."
Echoing Mullen's thoughts, Nicolas Picard commented on the Friendly Atheist, "The internet, as we all know is maddeningly awash in contradictory claims of truth, and its democratic openness means that anyone can confirm just about any belief since there will be a page/forum/community to defend it online."
"And...even if non-belief is on the rise, people still need to congregate, and churches still serve that function in society."