Internet evangelism: Christians vs. atheists
In both reach and influence, internet atheism has become uninfluential. In the early part of the 21st century, atheists were very active on the internet. However, by 2008 there began a marked decline in internet atheism web traffic volume (see: Internet atheism web traffic volume). See also: Large list of atheist websites that have lost a substantial portion of their web traffic - with supporting data See also: Internet atheism has a small audience and an insignificant influence on the world
The Christian internet evangelism organization Global Media Outreach indicated that as of September 2019 over 1,900,000,000 "gospel visits" have occured via their websites. Global Media Outreach works with many Christians around the world (see: Global Christianity).
The Christian internet evangelism] organization Network211 indicates that as of September 2019, over 37,000,000 web visits have occured on their websites. Network211 works with many Christians/churches throughout the world.
In 2022, the Billy Graham Evangelism Association announced:
|“|| Launched in 2012, Search for Jesus impacts website users with the truth of the Gospel and relies on a network of over 1,400 trained volunteers who interact with users and answer live questions. With a mission to reach those hurting and in need, Search for Jesus utilizes the accessibility of the internet to reach places otherwise closed to the Gospel.
Using these digital tools, more than 300 million people have indicated a decision for Christ and received follow-up through the internet ministry. To date, the PeaceWithGod.net websites have welcomed over 100 million online users. With messages in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, American Sign Language, and Russian, Search for Jesus has been able to expand globally and cross language and accessibility barriers.
“This is significant because we’re following Billy Graham’s legacy of spreading the Gospel across the globe using every opportunity we have. The average person spends nearly seven hours a day on the internet, so we want to meet these people where they are,” said Mark Appleton, director of internet evangelism for BGEA, in a press release. “Search for Jesus has given us the chance to spread the Gospel like never before.”
The Christian Post states:
|“|| Online evangelism is producing real disciples for Christ, according to a recent study.
Over half of those who made a decision for Jesus over the Internet have subsequently shared their faith with others, Global Media Outreach's study reveals.
Additionally, 34 percent read their Bibles daily and nearly half pray for at least 10 minutes a day...
The study, called the Christian Growth Index, measured the responses of more than 100,000 people from around the world...
Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said they shared their faith three times or more and 37 percent said they shared their faith at least once or twice.
Global Media Outreach is a global ministry that presents the Gospel online through websites such as WhoisJesus-Really.com and GrowinginChrist.com. There are more than 5,500 trained online missionaries worldwide who respond to questions asked by seekers through emails.
See also: Internet atheism
- 1 Large list of atheist websites that have lost web traffic with supporting data
- 2 Google trends research suggesting that internet atheism preaches to the atheist choir and is not effective at atheist evangelism
- 3 Christian internet outreach and the Matthew effect: Atheist websites vs. religious websites
- 4 Poor international cooperation among atheists
- 5 Google trends graphs: Search of atheism/agnosticism related terms
- 5.1 2019 Google trends graphs for the terms: Atheism, atheist, Richard Dawkins, agnostic and agnosticism
- 5.2 2019 Google trends world graphs
- 5.3 Post sexual harassment allegations against Lawrence Krauss and David Silverman, searches for atheism related topics have dropped markedly
- 6 Internet atheism and the coronavirus pandemic
- 7 RationalWiki.org
- 7.1 RationalWiki and loss of Google referral web traffic since 2013
- 8 Frethoughtblogs
- 9 Notes
Large list of atheist websites that have lost web traffic with supporting data
Google trends research suggesting that internet atheism preaches to the atheist choir and is not effective at atheist evangelism
The abstract for the journal article Who is Not Afraid of Richard Dawkins? Using Google Trends to Assess the Reach of Influential Atheists across Canadian Secular Groups published in the journal Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses indicates:
|“||Google Trends data on search volumes of high profile atheist public figures are used to assess their relative reach among different types of seculars in Canada. The user query data mined from Google Trends are complemented with an extensive set of information extracted from the Canadian General Social Surveys of 2005 to 2016. The analysis shows that the reach of high profile atheists is positively correlated with the presence of strictly-seculars, a proxy for the atheists. The investigation produces no statistically significant correlation between the presence of other types of seculars, namely the unchurched believers and the nominal affiliates, and the search volumes for high profile atheists. This exploratory finding suggests that the influential atheists likely “preach to the choir,” catering to like-minded individuals, at the exclusion of those with relatively close but differing views on religion and spirituality.||”|
Christian internet outreach and the Matthew effect: Atheist websites vs. religious websites
Study.com defines the Matthew effect thusly: "The Matthew Effect is a term that describes the concept in society of accumulated advantage. It argues that people who start from a place of advantage, like intelligence, fame, wealth, or skill, will have the opportunity to accrue more of that advantage compared to others. The Matthew Effect is often thought of by the phrase, "the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer."" The Matthew effect's etymology can be traced to Gospel of Matthew which declares Jesus as saying: "For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (Matthew 25:29, RSV).
Because the religious population is larger than the atheist/agnostic populations and raises more money for web marketing budgets than the atheist/agnostic populations, they greatly outperform atheist websites in terms of web traffic. In addition, Google tends to rank large websites with a lot of traffic higher at Google for various search terms - especially high volume searches. So large Christian websites with a lot of web traffic have a big competitive advantage over atheist websites. Furthermore, religious groups often have more evangelistic zeal and also have more international cooperation in terms of web outreach efforts.
As time has progressed the gap between the effectiveness of religious websites vs. atheist websites in terms of reaching larger audiences has widened and will most likely widen further. For example, Christian websites are greatly outperforming atheist websites in terms of their respective web outreaches.
For more information, please see: Internet outreach and the Matthew effect: Atheist websites vs. religious websites.
Various Christian websites with a lot of web traffic
See also: Major Christian websites
Biblegateway.com and Google referral traffic
Christianity.com and Google referral traffic
Got Questions Ministries and Google referral traffic
See also: Got Questions Ministries
According to Got Questions Ministries, within one month of their launch, GotQuestions.org was receiving over 30 questions a day. The volunteer staff grew from 5 writers, to 10, to 20, to 50, and ultimately to its current staff of over 275 writers (In 2013, Got Questions Ministries reported having over 275 writers). Gotquestions.org relies on three things: 1) SEO 2) Content marketing 3) Volunteer recruitment/management." See: S. Michael Houdmann - 10-Year Anniversary Presentation and Got Questions? Interview with Got Questions founder, Shea Michael Houdmann (October 2022 interview) and Apply to serve with GotQuestions.org
Major Christian apologetics websites and their web traffic
Poor international cooperation among atheists
No atheist organizations with very strong web presences that are working with atheists and atheist organizations around the world
In recent years, international cooperation among atheists has been low (see: Atheism and international cooperation among atheists). There are no atheist organizations with very strong web presences that are working with atheists and atheist organizations around the world.
2019 Google trends graphs for the terms: Atheism, atheist, Richard Dawkins, agnostic and agnosticism
2019 Google trends world graphs
2019 Google trends USA graphs
Historically, religiosity increases during pandemics. Pew Research found people's religious faith grew during the pandemic - especially in the United States. Nearly three-in-ten U.S. adults say the outbreak has boosted their faith; about four-in-ten say it has tightened family bonds.
In addition, many atheist organizations have significant difficulty in getting their fellow atheist to financially support them (see: Atheist organizations and fundraising), so their web marketing budgets could have been low during the pandemic. In addition, many atheist organizations have poor fiscal management so they may not have had reserves built up before the pandemic (see: Atheist organizations and financial mismanagement).
On the other hand, there were major Christian websites that saw their web traffic substantially grow during the coronavirus pandemic (See: Christian websites and the coronavirus pandemic).
The atheist websites might never gain that traffic back again as the number of atheists in the world is expected to drop before mid-2022 according to the scholars at the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Currently, the global atheist population is losing market share in terms of the world's population (see: Global atheism statistics).
RationalWiki and loss of Google referral web traffic since 2013
See also: Internet atheism
SEMRush.com data on RationalWiki and Google referral traffic
Ahrefs.com data on RationalWiki and Google referral traffic
RationalWiki lost a significant amount of its popularity from August 2020 to January 2023 according to the Mangools SEO tool
Web traffic of Freethought Blogs dramatically declines from June 2019 to September 2019
Web traffic of Freethought Blogs: July 2015 to March 2019
- Internet atheism: The thrill is gone!
- Global Media Outreach - Impact
- Network211 - visits
- BGEA Marks 10 Years of Internet Evangelism Ministry ‘Search for Jesus’, National Religious Broadcasters website
- Study Reveals Internet Evangelism Is Effective, Christian Post
- Billy Graham Association - Internet evangelism
- Who is Not Afraid of Richard Dawkins? Using Google Trends to Assess the Reach of Influential Atheists across Canadian Secular Groups by Maryam Dilmaghani, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses, First Published December 13, 2019 Research Article https://doi.org/10.1177/0008429819854353
- What is the Matthew effect
- S. Michael Houdmann - 10-Year Anniversary Presentation
- S. Michael Houdmann - 10-Year Anniversary Presentation
- 1,000+ Winners and Losers of the December 2020 Google Core Algorithm Update
- More Americans Than People in Other Advanced Economies Say COVID-19 Has Strengthened Religious Faith, Pew Research, 2021
- More Americans Than People in Other Advanced Economies Say COVID-19 Has Strengthened Religious Faith, Pew Forum
- Status of Global Christianity, 2022, in the Context of 1900–2050