Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Book underscores Internet’s negative impact on religion

Date:
January 7, 2013
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
Religious groups aren’t capturing the hearts of the millennial generation, and the Internet is partly to blame, says the author on a new book on building strong religious communities.

Religious groups aren't capturing the hearts of the millennial generation, and the Internet is partly to blame, says the author on a new book on building strong religious communities.

As part of her research for writing "Building Strong Church Communities: A Sociological Overview," Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor Patricia Wittberg examined nearly 700 surveys of Catholic parishes completed by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

Some of the questions Wittberg's book asks include: How close do Catholics feel to their parish community and how close do they want to feel? How has the parish role changed throughout history? What kind of community connections do Catholics want from their religious order? When is community connectedness both beneficial and not beneficial for a parish?

The youngest generational cohort of adults studied -- the millennials -- were the least attached to organized religion, said Wittberg, who teaches sociology in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

"Over 33 percent of them claim no affiliation, the highest percentage for well over 100 years," the sociologist said.

Wittberg's research is the first to compare the 700 surveys. While her data set had no new information on reasons for the decline, the sociologist uncovered several interesting previous studies on how the Internet is eroding both the authority of established religious leaders and the permanence of religious communities.

"Some of this (lack of affiliation) is due to the individualizing experience of accessing religion and spirituality via the Internet," Wittberg said. "On the Internet, seekers can pick and choose what kinds of doctrines appeal to them -- with little or no consideration of the official teachings of any church -- and they can join and leave religious online 'communities' much more easily."

The implications don't bode well for the future of religious groups, the author said.

"I believe that the survival and health of religious groups, including church congregations, requires that the next generations become members," she said. "So far, there is little to attract them."

In some of her background research, the sociologist discovered that the idea of improving church communities as communities was a fairly new one. It's easy to find books that help individuals better understand and grow in their religious worship, but books that focus on religious community are bit harder to come by, according to the IUPUI professor.

"In the past, Catholic as well as Protestant pastoral books, journal articles, workshops, etc. have focused on the spiritual needs of the individual," Wittberg said. "Little has been done to develop a similar repertoire that would help them look at the needs of religious groups."

Wittberg's aim is for her work to help religious groups thrive and grow and be healthy for their members.

Wittberg was inspired to tackle the project when she realized how few church people were aware of the extensive literature and research about community since Robert Putnam's 2000 book, "Bowling Alone," which problematized whether and to what extent the sense of community was being lost in the United States and if that was a good or bad thing. "I believed that the findings of this research could benefit church communities," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Book underscores Internet’s negative impact on religion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107120542.htm>.
Indiana University. (2013, January 7). Book underscores Internet’s negative impact on religion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107120542.htm
Indiana University. "Book underscores Internet’s negative impact on religion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107120542.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins