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 August 22, 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 August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bank of America's $17 Bln Settlement

Bank of America's $17 Bln Settlement

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 21, 2014) Bank of America's settlement is by far the largest amount paid by big banks facing mortgage securities probes. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Researchers found the scanners could be duped simply by placing a weapon off to the side of the body or encasing it under a plastic shield. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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