Interesting commentary piece in The Guardian: The internet has done for Scientology. Could it rumble the Christians, too?
Clearly, Scientologists should be forced to justify their doctrinal lunacies – the only sadness is that other religions are apparently exempt from having to do the same. Imagine for a moment a Bashir-type interviewing some senior cardinal. “So,” he might inquire, “you’re saying that by some magic the communion wafer actually becomes the flesh of a man who died 2,000 years ago, a man who – and I don’t want to put words into your mouth here – we might categorise as an imaginary friend who can hear the things you’re thinking in your head?
There are some pretty robust comments following the piece, as you can imagine. Whether or not you agree with the conclusion, I do think that the basic point is important: the ever-widening reach of the web will bring a greater level of scrutiny to all beliefs. Peer review by the masses, if you will.
The reaction is likely to be two-fold. There will be those who will begin to use the web as an exoskeleton – a protective covering that, through highly selective use of feeds and favourites, will only reinforce their beliefs and never challenge them. And there will be those for who the web will become internalised: an endoskeleton that allows more freedom of movement, a strong core that allows growth around it.
What the web lacks, of course, is a good editor. And it’ll be the skills that we develop as auto-editors that will make us not only better users of web information, but more careful adopters of beliefs too.