Remains of an Islamic temple in Yadz, Iran, to which Persian Zoroastrians 2,500 yars ago fled from approaching Muslim armies that ultimately conquered the empire. (Julia Maudlin, Flkr, CC BY 2.0) Image/License
“Online movements gain followers at rates unimaginable in the past,” writes former New Scientist magazine editor-in-chief Sumit Paul-Choudhury in his BBC Future piece. “The Silicon Valley mantra of ‘move fast and break things’ has become a self-evident truth for many technologists and plutocrats. #MeToo started out as a hashtag expressing anger and solidarity but now stands for real changes to long-standing social norms.”
“Even the technological trappings aren’t new,” wrote former New Scientist magazine editor-in-chief Sumit Paul-Choudhury in his BBC Future piece. “In 1954, Fredric Brown wrote a (very) short story called ‘Answer,’ in which a galaxy-spanning supercomputer is turned on and asked: is there a God? — ‘Now there is,’ comes the reply.”
“Communist Vietnam, for example, is officially atheist and often cited as one of the world’s most irreligious countries – but sceptics say this is really because official surveys don’t capture the huge proportion of the population who practice folk religion.”But the futurist money is on new spiritual inventions as we move forward, because the modern, technologically sophisticated world offers so many new and fertile fields for even seemingly outlandish beliefs.
“We’ve always had new forms of religiosity, but we haven’t always had enabling spaces for them,” Singler suggests. “Going out into a medieval town square and shouting out your unorthodox beliefs was going to get you labelled a heretic, not win converts to your cause.”With the anonymity-enhancing aspects of the internet and new tech, people can have their strange beliefs and avoid up-close and personal opprobrium and shaming, too.