Social Media Is A Very Powerful Medium
There is no denying anymore that atheism is becoming more and more accepted as well as adopted by society today. It’s all happening rather quickly too. Not very not long ago the simple act of saying you were atheist could have resulted in execution or being ostracized by society. Modern day though that’s not so much the case. So how is it then that something that goes so against the grain of the mainstream system of beliefs like being an atheist has risen so much in popularity recently in the United States? The answer I believe is science, technology and social media. Science and technology are pretty obvious devices for chipping away at and breaking down the walls religion has created, but what role does social media play in this recent surge?
Social media is an enormously powerful tool. According to the journal Physiological Science, it is a significant factor in the spread of ideas because our brains are hardwired to want to share information with other people. It’s who we are and it’s in our DNA. Look at situations like the Egyptian uprising or the Occupy movement. Social media served as a platform to organize and launch these historical events. Or take for example the horrible Boston Marathon bombing and the flood of social media response. Investigators were able to piece together images of the tragedy posted on social media and eventually found and caught the suspects as a result. Social media has even provided countless theories on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight mh370, one of which is bound to be correct when we finally (if ever) learn the fate of that airplane.
Sites like Facebook and Twitter serve to bring people together like the pub of yesteryear. They serve as a gathering place where like minded individuals can group up, and they give everyone an equal voice. Just like at the old pubs, on social media people exchange ideas, jokes, arguments and sometimes even virtual blows with each other on an rather unprecedented scale. It has turned into the virtual battlegrounds for the fight between religion and atheism. Me personally, I like to look at it as a classic battle of good vs. evil. However you choose to view it, social media my friends looks to be the launching pad for the massive upcoming atheist revolution! I am so glad to be a part of it.
We All Know Someone Like This
Chances are if you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you have someone on your feed who is constantly sharing atheist related content. Maybe they are retweeting memes, liking a quote or just posting their own personal thoughts on the topic. If you don’t and you are atheist, maybe you are that person. I know I sure am. Why do I post stuff like that you ask? Let me start first by saying I don’t do it to be spiteful or to be a dick. I do it to encourage discussion between all of my friends, some of whom are very religious. I do it for the same reason religious people are always spouting off their religious rhetoric. Just like they feel they can “save” me from an afterlife of “burning in eternal damnation”, I feel I can save them from a shitty life stuck in the shackles of a depressing and confining religious belief. After all, we’re all born atheists. People who believe in fairy tales can always be brought back from the “other side”. I was.
All of the back and forth between people results in some deep thinking about what it is they really believe in their heart. These discussions that happen all the time on social media sometimes cause people when going to sleep at night to come to realizations. Faith is a rather delicate thing that can fracture quite easily when exposed to the right logic. For a religious person, exposure to foreign ideas from science, reason and skepticism is healthy. Social media delivers all this in spades. No matter the outcome, the discussions always open up a new realm of possibilities to someone with a deep set faith that weren’t there before. In a perfect world logic always trumps faith. We’re getting there.
Strength In Numbers
One of the coolest things about the internet is it allows groups of people who all share a similar opinion to come together, and this is social media’s specialty. Atheists by nature embrace science and technology so it’s not surprising that a large number of us are on social media. Some of the atheist related Facebook groups have close to a million followers like Atheist Republic. Our own Facebook page which is only a few months old has gained almost 200 new followers the last week alone, and the numbers keep getting bigger at a crazy rate. (Cheap plug: here is our Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest pages if you’re interested!) It just goes to show how much momentum the movement is gaining.
Some people have predicted that religion will fall to atheism in the next 50 years. I personally think that is a bit optimistic. A religion like Islam will take a lot longer to die off than something like Christianity. Maybe 150-200 years is more realistic. Regardless, it is coming. Atheists in Hollywood are incorporating the philosophy into their shows and bringing it to the masses. People see shows like Cosmos, which itself sparks debate all over social media and the Internet. It is a snowball rolling down the hill. Common sense always wins out in the end, right? I like to look at it like this… We only live once. You can either live and think freely or be a sheep obeying a 2000 year old mythology. The choice is yours, so choose wisely! Then be sure to tweet about it…
What do you think? We’d love to hear you sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!