If religious superstition is a disease, the Internet just might be the cure. A new study suggests what many have long suspected, the Internet is killing religion. According to recent findings the increase in Internet use in the last two decades has caused a significant drop in religious affiliation.
To be more precise, there is a startling correlation between the rise of the Internet and the decline of religious affiliation in the United States.
According to the MIT Technology Review, the numbers show that in 1990, about 8 percent of the U.S. population had no religious preference. Yet by 2010, this percentage had more than doubled to 18 percent. That’s a difference of about 25 million people, all of whom have somehow lost their religion.
After analyzing the data in detail, Allen Downey, a computer scientist at the Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts, says that the demise is the result of several factors but the most controversial of these is the rise of the Internet. He concludes that the increase in Internet use in the last two decades has caused a significant drop in religious affiliation.
In his study, “Religious affiliation, education and Internet use” Downey shows that in the 2010 U.S. population, Internet use could account for 5.1 million people with no religious affiliation, or 20% of the observed decrease in affiliation relative to the 1980s.
Indeed, the religious landscape is changing drastically in the United States. Research shows that young adults continue to abandon religion in record numbers.