The Internet is My Religion, One Man’s Speech on the Power of Connection
Wow, this makes two feel good internet stories to come along today. First, Redditors help a man crowd-plan his derailed wedding and now we have this speech about the way the internet connects us all and helps us achieve great things.
As part of the Personal Democracy Forum 2011 in New York, a developer and startup founder Jim Gilliam told his story about his battle with cancer, his loss of faith, and his “new religion” that comes from the people of the internet.
When Gilliam was young, he was a conservative Christian under the Jerry Falwell umbrella. He says he loved “Jesus and the Internet.” He even fixed Falwell’s computer once, he says. But when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, he lost that faith. In the video, he talks about his battle with multiple types of cancer and how the internet eventually ended up saving his life.
I wont spoil the story for you, but let’s just say he needed a huge procedure done and the community on the internet helped him out. This led him to believe that “humanity connected is god” and also to declare that “internet is my religion.”
His speech has gotten some big time attention. It was blogged about on Oprah’s blog and Twitter star Alyssa Milano gave him a mention just about an hour ago.
The whole speech is worth a watch, as it’s quite an incredible story. But if you want his “argument” if you will, here’s the biggest part of it –
The truth is we all have this same cross to bear, we all owe every moment of our lives to countless people we will never meet. Whether it’s the soldiers who give us the freedoms because they fight for our country, or it’s the surgeons who give us the cures that keep us alive. We all owe every moment of our lives to each other. We are all connected, we are all in debt to each other.
The internet gives us the opportunity to repay just a small part of that debt. As a child I believed in creationism – that the universe was created in 6 days – today we are the creators. We each have our own unique skills and talents to contribute to creating the kingdom of god. We serve god best when we do what we love for the greatest cause we can imagine. What the people in this room do is spiritual and profound. We are the leaders of this new religion. We have faith that people connected can create a new world. Each one of us is a creator, but together, we are the creator.