Internet could replace religion in forming communities – The Daily Eastern News

Religion has been the engine of social cohesion for centuries. Empires and governments have been founded on religious values ​​and the mores associated with them. Religion is deeply rooted in the roots of human history.

Sociologist Émile Durkheim noted that religion was attractive to humans because it served many positive social functions. In his 1912 work, “The Elementary Forms of Religious Life”, Durkheim identifies a few benefits of religion, I will focus only on 2.

1) Religion strengthens social unity and stability

2) Religion is a social agent and thus reinforces the social order

In Durkheim’s time, it was difficult to imagine a more unifying power than religion. It is often thought that if religion ceased to exist, humanity would lose all morality and society would descend into chaos. And although belief in traditional religions has waned, today’s brightest still question social stability in the absence of religion. How can society function without a unifying truth?

Religion is useful because it frames our reality. If everyone has similar beliefs, it creates stability and social cohesion. However, the Internet creates global networks capable of uniting millions of people. In fact, people who were once ostracized can now find large online communities that share the same interests. Yet the internet isn’t just a place for social rejects, almost everyone, everywhere logs into an app to communicate with others. This is due to the repetitive nature of titles and memes. We have all developed a common sense of the world. We can empathize with the stories of people on the other side of the globe and memes have given us standardized humor, allowing us to share a laugh with others simply on the basis that we assume they saw what we we saw. People feel a sense of oneness on the internet through mutual interaction and the ability to read and share the stories of those near and far.

One of the ways to build a cohesive society is to indoctrinate everyone with the same morals. In the past, religious condemnation kept people on the straight and narrow, subjects often obeyed tyrants on the grounds that disobeying the king or queen was an act against God. Today, global condemnation is possible because anyone with internet access can criticize you, as we have seen with cancel culture. In the past, you could move and leave everything behind. Right now, the internet can broadcast its failure globally for an indefinite amount of time, leading to a pervasiveness of collective efficacy or the ability to minutely control people’s actions.

This is not to say that technology replaces religion, but rather that it provides similar functions, so that as religious beliefs decline, some of the resulting deficits will go unnoticed as these social functions are transferred to communities. in line. In fact, religious beliefs may not decline at all, but the purpose of religion in society may change as it becomes less essential to maintaining social order.

Gisella Mancera is a sociology major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]