A few decades ago, there were very few resources for atheists who wanted either confirmation of their own beliefs or reasons to oppose the belief in God. When Herb Silverman was a teenager in the late 1950s, there was just a single book in his library: Bertrand Russell‘s Why I Am Not a Christian.
When I was a teenager in the late 1990s, I didn’t even consider getting books from the library that my parents could find, but I could go online and search for websites that might confirm what I was thinking. But the sites I found were few in number and rarely very inviting.
In an article for the Washington Post On Faith website, Silverman talks about how resources for atheists are now plentiful, not to mention non-religious national/local organizations and support groups, and we should be grateful for that:
Long story short, atheists are here to stay and, in fact, we’re growing. It’s a very different world from my teen years in the 1950s. The Internet has probably been the single most important factor in empowering young people with inquiring minds to learn about the many choices for religious belief or non-belief. Those who doubt religious claims no longer need to search randomly in a library or rely exclusively on information from within their small local communities.
The figurative genie is out of the bottle, and it’s out for good. No matter how hard religious and social conservatives strain to put the genie back in the bottle, they will not succeed in their attempts to pray the atheist away.
It’s amazing how the easy accessibility of opinions and knowledge has led to the rise of atheism and hastened the decline in religious adherence. The best tool religious leaders used to have was the ability to keep people in a bubble. In the Internet age, that’s just not an option. Pastors are no longer the final authority when it comes to truth.
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