Some online content can cross the line between free speech and hate, and be a breeding ground for people and ideas that could be bad news for religious groups.

Lorne Dawson, a sociologist of religion at the University of Waterloo, says "That is the problem that is of course it still is kind of a wild west on the Internet."

As much as the Internet can help religious groups communicate, it's also home to many critics.

According to Dawson, "With every new little news item, or something that's relevant [critics] get online and they just keep driving that message home."

But for some non-believers, the Internet is just as much of a community builder as it is for those who belong to more traditional faith groups.

Michael Sizer is an atheist, and he uses his smart phone to stay connected to his relatively new community, no matter where he is.

"When I was in my early 20s, I really came to terms with, that the Catholicism that I had been taught didn't catch."

He now belongs to a group called the Grand River Atheists, an online community that has brought people together offline.

Sizer says "One of the things that religious people enjoy from their congregations is a sense of community, right? And atheists haven't had that in the past."

Web lets groups reach across borders

In the past, it has been a challenge for people around the world to come together in support of a common goal.

But assisting with issues like disaster relief is something that many religions preach.

Dawson says "They've always tried to get the individuals to realize, your little concerns are important but they're not as important as the great cosmic concerns of humanity itself."

But do humanitarian causes take away from religious ones? A Statistics Canada report found that by 2031, one fifth of Canadians will likely not be associated with any religion.

That does not necessarily mean the need to congregate, to gather with others, will also fade. It may simply depend on who is gathering.