The web vs. organized religion
Posted by aogThursday, 05 June 2003 at 22:24 TrackBack Ping URL
Could the internet do to organized religion what the printing press did to the Catholic Church? There seems to be an increasing disconnect between Church leaders and the laity. One has to ask what function an organized religion actually servers in an web enabled world.

Previously, a large organziation was needed to coordinate the activities of the laity, distribute doctrine and perform other organized activities. But in a web based world, you really don't need much in the way of infrastructure to do anything of those things. It's now much easiser (and getting easier all the time) to organize without much of a organization. In terms of the needs of an individual church, one advantage of the Eternal Verities is that they are, well, Eternal. Not a whole lot of new "content" is really required.

In the pre-printing press days, access to the key content of Christianity was highly restricted and so the Catholic Church served to preserve and disseminate that content. The rise of the printing press put that content with in reach of the laity and much of the power of the priest hood was lost. But still, there was commentary and relating the eternal to the here and now.

But like organized journalism is losing power to the blogosphere, might we not expect organized religion to feel the same effect? Particularly one where the leadership is either non-believing or simply out of touch with the laity? Why listen to the local pro-Castro anti-freedom pastor when better stuff is easily available elsewhere? There must already be internet churches out there, using audio streams to reach out to other faithful. It would be interesting to see if that grows like the blogosphere is.