There’s this article at Salon about how magic shops are going by the wayside because, nowadays, it’s so easy to learn how magic tricks are performed. Magicians aren’t the sole possessors of knowledge anymore:
Today, any 10-year-old kid can type “magic tricks” into Google and gain access either via YouTube or other websites to the biggest trade secrets in a matter of minutes. He can watch a video or buy an expensive apparatus without leaving his house, seeing a live demonstration or talking to another human being.
As a result, magic stores are slowly vanishing across America. With their gradual disappearance, as Jamy Ian Swiss — a leading card-expert and magic historian recognized for his brilliant technique and for his outspoken column in Genii, a conjuring magazine — has argued, one of the foundations of this ancient art form is disappearing.
You could make a similar argument for religion. 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.
Thankfully, the Internet has done away with so much of what they offer.
Want to know how we got here? Read some primers on evolution.Want a daily dose of inspiration? Watch a TED Talk. Read Seth Godin.
Need some advice? Ask Reddit. Ask your friends on Facebook. Search for your problems on Google and read what other people who have gone through the same thing had to say about it on their blogs.
More than anything, the Internet has opened the curtain to reveal that the basis of their sermons — the book they derive all their “knowledge” from — really isn’t the sort of foundation you want to build your life around.
If you’re religious, then you might want to turn to a pastor during difficult times, but there are secular counselors who provide the same services. Just like Humanist celebrants are available to officiate weddings, I’m having a tough time finding a service Christian pastors (or any religious leaders) offer that can’t be found elsewhere these days.
Even if there is something I’m overlooking, the Internet has helped with the rise of atheism and I suspect it’ll eventually help lead to a rapid decline in religiosity.