Baylor study finds online 'Nones' often believe it all

Friday, January 26, 2018
 | 
Bill Bumpas (OneNewsNow.com)

Screen grab of Christopher Hitchens debateA sociologist-researcher at Baylor University who studied how Internet usage affects our religious beliefs found that many "tinker" with faith.

The study by Paul K. McClure, "Tinkering with Technology and Religion in the Digital Age," was published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religions.  

McClure analyzed data from a nationwide survey of 1,714 adults done by Gallup, a Baylor press release reported.

Speaking to OneNewsNow, McClure says one finding is that people who spent lots of time online are less likely to be religiously affiliated.

"And so in my paper," he says, "I describe them as 'Free Agents' but in the sociology of religions sometimes they're talked about as 'Nones,' because they indicate on surveys that they have no religious affiliation."

hand on computer keyboardThe second finding is that people who spend time online are more likely to suggest that all religions are equally true, which is logically impossible, or that religious people are worshipping the same God regardless of the religion they practice.

"The world's religions conceive of God or gods in so many contradictory ways that they cannot all be true," Christian philosopher William Lane Craig states in a debate posted to Youtube, which is itself just one source of online debate, discussion, and derision over religious faith.  

McClure says those two findings leave a lot for him to contemplate.

"How do I reconcile the fact that Internet users are less likely to be religiously affiliated," he asks, "but they're still playing around with certain ideas about God, and they're exposed to religious ideas on the Internet and how are they navigating those waters?"

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