Is Social Media Our New Religion?

Religions rise when individuals want them.

Whether the scriptures inform the reality or deities exist, religions and spiritual phenomena serve emotional wants.

This is why they stand up and thrive in instances and locations filled with worry, misfortune, bitterness, and oppression—instances and locations the place the long-trusted former hopes and goals appear false, tainted, or unattainable.

Do we inhabit such a time and place?

New types of worship, sacrifice and ritual?

Manipulated in social media are variations of these practices and creeds that made our ancestors construct tumuli and worship bushes—however now it is as straightforward as clicking “send.”

Is social media itself a brand new faith? Or is it merely a set of circumstances by way of which customers discover and observe factions which can be ostensibly secular however operate like cults, denominations or sects?

Before we ponder the main points, witness our dedication.

More than 4 billion individuals worldwide recurrently work together with social media—so are its “users.” we. Most of these billions spend greater than two hours each day utilizing it—by alternative. It signifies dedication, sacrifice—whereas, no less than for these two hours, you let go of every part else.

Characteristics shared by religions and social media

Scholars have specified a sure set of traits that outline religions as such. Any characteristic on this record exists in nearly each human pastime, group, or gathering. But social media owns the entire set.

  • Shared Beliefs: Traditional religions are based mostly on shared ideas (eg, “There is one God.”). The precept that fuels social media is that fame is most necessary, that well-known individuals deserve adoration for being well-known, and that recognition is the very best pursuit.
  • Myths and origin tales about gods and phenomena: Modern variations of the Genesis and Mount Olympus tales are narratives surrounding Kim Kardashian’s intercourse tape and Belle Delphine promoting her bathwater.
  • Hope for “heaven”: Many customers dream of sooner or later posting content material that goes viral—in good methods, not damning/cancellable—thus coming into the “paradise” of riches and fame.
  • Threats of “hell”: Persistent worry of insults, ridicule, unpopularity, and different dooms can gas the despair and suicidal ideas that research have linked to social media.
  • Rituals: Clicking “like” and checking for notifications are rituals. So are TikTok challenges that come from who-knows-where and implore customers en masse to carry out sure dances, commit sure crimes or take sure medicine.
  • Deities, divine or different heavens: With superhuman magnificence, energy and attract, influencers obtain devotion within the type of adoration, loyalty, adherence, imitation and cash from devoted tens of millions who by no means see them in actual life.
  • Symbols: Hashtags, emojis and acronyms are the social media yin-yang and ankh, providing solidarity and a way of superiority by way of fluency and semi-secrecy. TikTok even has its personal set of specifically coded “hidden” emojis.
  • Presumptions of Salvation: Users really feel “rescued” from the dreaded ennui, isolation, inappropriateness and uncanniness of not utilizing social media. Engagement reminiscent of DMs from others, particularly influencers, makes customers really feel “chosen”.
  • A way of group: Social media is above all social. Each platform has its personal slang, traits, jokes, protocols, etiquette, celebrities and membership procedures that ought to evoke an interior aura of sanctity.
  • A way of id: Users embrace group names based mostly on favourite platforms or fandoms inside them, calling themselves Instagrammers, say, or Thronies simply as members of sure beliefs name themselves Baptists or Theravadins.
  • Codes of Conduct: Users know the phrases of service for his or her favourite exhibits – and observe them to reveal their loyalty, obedience and worry of exile by way of shadow bans or worse.
  • A way of function: The precise observe of utilizing social media feels pressing, significant and essential whereas it is occurring – though afterwards one usually wonders the place that point went.
  • Altered states of consciousness: Many religions use music, herbs and different means to induce visions and different results. Social media prompts a dopamine-fueled excessive, which prompts the mind’s reward system in ways in which resemble the consequences of addictive medicine.

We would possibly take into account all of it creepy and dystopian. Is Jeffree Star, with 14 million followers, a god? Is Elon Musk Nebuchadnezzar? But if, as research recommend, spirituality is linked to raised well being, then possibly clicking “like” 50 extra instances in the present day is not so dangerous.

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