Religion and the media


"These days politics, religion, press seem to be to get all mixed up. Tv became the new religion a long time back and the advertising has bought out. "

~ Truck Morrison (Inspires Today, 2007)

With time, the multimedia has accomplished great ability, as they play a significant role inside our everyday lives. The above mentioned offer by Irish singer-songwriter and musician, Van Morrison, would aptly illustrate how the multimedia is seen as the new faith for a lot of. People have started to obliviously have confidence in what is presented to them and didn't criticize the entire world around us. Language, in reality, has gained a great impact on our lives.

World renowned and long-serving British isles Linguist, Roger Fowler argued that "dialect influences thought, in the sense that its structure programs our mental connection with the entire world. " Language is becoming influential in our every day lives, and multimedia, especially tv and the World Wide Web are the ones that contain perfected this medium and greatly impact our notion of reality. It is because the way we take into account the world all around us is influenced by numerous factors, including the society we reside in, media, and the language itself. Therefore has influenced the manner where we live, the politics that people preach and the way in which we practice the religions we follow.

As we develop as a population and move further into the 21st, we can plainly see the developments that will govern our ideas of spiritual practices and culture. These 'difficulties' as I would like to call them, will be the rebirth of faith as a nationwide and global push. In contradiction with days gone by predictions that it could fade because of modern life and contemporary society, faith has instead gained a new identity and prominence across the world since it has been influencedby exclusive religion and mass media.

What is digital mass media?

Digital multimedia as described by Microsoft Windows is "Digital marketing refers to audio, video recording, and picture content that has been encoded (digitally compressed) that can be easily manipulated, distributed, and rendered (played) by personal computers, which is easily transmitted over computer networks. " (Microsoft 2010). In layman terms it is any kind of storage space device that can store digital data particularly computers, smart mobile phones, iPad's etc.

What is exclusive religion?

Virtual religion instead of digital multimedia is difficult to identify. Essentially it is religion in its electronic expression. Many religious leaders can argue at the idea that it's just a 'duplicate and paste' form of 'old' faith into a newer virtual world. Online religion goes beyond the physical limitations of religious techniques and brings religions into the immaterial territory of the web and Cyberspace. It aims to help explore the digital realities made possible by new systems.

Popular Culture and Religion

Popular culture as defined by metropolitan dictionary, "simply denotes several practices or traditions accepted by people. " It's the form of culture where it is widespread and predicated on the ideas and preferences of ordinary people. Due to the go up of the world of popular culture and mass media, technology is becoming convenient in this fast located lifestyle. Media provides a platform for wealthy symbolism and aesthetic pop culture, allowing space for ever changing identities. This matches the evolving patterns of the producing society we live in. The above mentioned, all dictate what's modern and what we acknowledge culturally and socially. This is where the battle commences between faith, which sometimes appears as 'time-honoured' and 'traditional' as compared to advertising which is 'modern' and 'superficial', as explained by Stewart M. Hoover in his thesis on multimedia and faith. The question of 'is new always better?' is posed. The convergence of the two facets is definitely a topic for much argument however the eventual collaboration of the would lead to a mutualistic romance as one would develop the other.

It is said that through marketing, religion is slowly but surely burning off its authenticity and basically becoming a just making scheme. It includes slowly become a farce but on the other side of the coin, media is becoming far too etched in religion and religious beliefs in mass media.

Online faith and religion-online

Firstly, I'd like to state a notable difference in diction between that of online/electronic religion and faith online. As mentioned above online/exclusive religion can be an electronic manifestation of religion, in essence scriptures online or being able to practice rituals online while religious beliefs online as identified by Christopher Helland simply "presents information about religious beliefs. " (Helland 2000). Helland states that because of the difference between both of these concepts there will vary perceptions of how the Internet should be utilized for spiritual purposes.

Religion online is seen, in sporting terminology, as a golfer. He is solitary in is game and does not depend on his opponents and he lacks teammates. This is a fairly solitary, one-to-many ideal. There lacks contribution between your members participating as they are struggling to give responses and discuss their views and values. This idea is quite noticeable when going to www. vatican. va, the state site of the Vatican. That one sided idea presents prayer and scriptures but lacks the sense of freedom of talk and opinion, therefore restricting an external view.

Many religious groupings use expertly designed spiritual sites as a medium to just convey information to their readers via religious beliefs online. This controlled space allows them to keep up institutional framework and control. They present the 'chapter and verse' of the religion. By keeping it as a one-to-many composition, they see this as a 'tool', as explained by Helland, of not 'shedding control' of the followers. In my opinion, this is a kind of indoctrination as the visitors only see what these religious groups want them to see. Is this any different from what Hitler and the Nazi's were doing? They insist on such a way because with the advancement of technology and the thinking of man, religious organizations have lost their prominence and their clerical authority has become less important in identifying what people believe that and the way in which they live their lives (Hoover 2008). That is a way of being subtle dictators endeavoring to keep domination over their enthusiasts.

Online religion can be viewed as if it's a team sport, a 'many-to-many' fashion, where you interactive and be based upon one another. It allows the reader to have interaction and voice their opinion. This is permitted through opinions like hyperlinks, allowing activities like prayers online, meditation and chat rooms on sites like virtualreligion. net.

The unofficial spiritual sites used for online religion are seen as far more accessible and user friendly. It suits the needs of the audience somewhat than forcing religious materials onto them. People now take responsibility because of their own faith, spiritualities and religious identities. This non-domineering environment allows the manifestation of views and spiritual experiences. Online religion, unlike faith online, is not regarded as a tool but rather a 'place' where you can find purely information but instead spiritual and religious enlightenment and liberation. This increased way to obtain mediated religion means that faith and spirituality are more and more available beyond your boundaries of 'formal' religions; such has world-charging implications for those corporations. (Hoover, 2008). A good example would the 9/11Twin Tower bombing where online prayers and digital candles were ignited in storage area of the lives lost. Understanding of Islam was also open to readers plus they were allowed to talk those who follow the Islamic faith and subsequently learn more about the religion and their values. This averted Islam form having stereotypical tags attached to them, as Osama Bin Laden provided the world the idea that it was a terrorist religious beliefs that killed for God.

With this we can knowingly declare that the internet itself cannot be regarded as a medium that confines or liberates as the choice is ours to make. It also depends on religious leaders and webpage designers and if they seen as a chance to enforce vitality and see it as a 'tool' or as a kind of liberty and view it as a 'place'. Therefore, it is reasonable to say that the internet can be described in one quotation by Frederick Langbridge: "Two men look over the same bars, one sees mud, the other views stars. "

Is Virtual Religious beliefs the response to all our prayers??

After downloading an application on Yahoo play called "Virtual Hindu Temple Worship", I got rather amazed at the sensation of enlightenment experienced after taking part in this online version of worship. I was able to convert a wicked light fixture and sound familiar as though I were worshipping in a temple. A mantra, a Sanskrit term meaning sacred utterance, performed in the backdrop offering off this aura of relaxed and oneness with God. I was also able to choose a deity that I'd like to pray to. This revealed the convenience and ease of my access to this program. My initial judgment of this form of faith was one which was negative but with actually experiencing it first side, the enjoyment of something anonymous and different was what that captured my attention.

I seen a blog by Dariush Nothaft on Yale Daily information; I used to be astonished to start to see the levels to which electronic religion experienced climbed. Here he spoke about stumbling uponsaranam. com, a online portal for buying prayers at Hindu temples in India, for a cost, I might add. The creator ofsaranam. com, Mahesh Mohanan, acquired this eureka minute after the realization that post nuptial pilgrimages were becoming an arduous experience. These pilgrimages were customary as there needed to be performed to further bless marriages preventing the marriage from having 'bad eyes' or bad luck put upon the couple. The master or 'franchisees' as these were called now perform this ritual; in your stead (Nothaft 2007). A ritual as defined by the Oxford dictionary is "A spiritual or solemn service consisting of some actions performed regarding to a prescribed order".

The online version of these rituals was clearly shorter and averted the trouble of joining a packed temple. After engaging on a similar ritual online, it was apparent that I was done faster and I possibly could choose when and where I could do that prayer as well as fitting it into my agenda, rather than having to make time and then ending up complaining about something I should want to get my time and effort in.

As a person who is focused on the Hindu faith, I was astounded by this. My conscience could not allow me to participate in such practices. Though it resolved many problems and become an easier, more accessible route to those who lived fair away or were too occupied, my thought would be that the sacrifice behind it all be it of your time or money was part of the ritual. The fact that you had made time for God was the important part. The question is, 'Are you truly committed to this ritual?' You don't realize what is occurring and this would result in it being conducted without reverence or much thought.

In contention, we can not blame Mohanan's ingenuity as the requirements of work, family and life make fulfilling all our religious commitments difficult. Nothaft concluded by proclaiming that to take part in virtual spiritual activities one must be of 'open up, outward-looking mind' and that he somewhat people spend money on the religious processes in some esteem than in no value whatsoever.

An article put up on TechNews Daily (Fox 2010) recently mentioned that "Technology changes how people relate with each other, which is what religion is concerned with". Using the launch of applications such as Bible insurance quotes and verse and Torah chanting routines on devices such as iPhones, it allows worshippers to mould an individual spiritual environment in this blasphemous culture.

Religious leaders claim that smart telephones and their 'attention-diverting' dynamics bring about worshippers being struggling to engage in real-time practices. They found a vast change in the manner worshippers process religion as a whole. They become disengaged from the communal contemporary society. The nervous, enthusiasm now given off by them is quiteopposite to the most common calm and relaxing mother nature that suppose to be encircling a place of worship. Market leaders dread that new fans will now see the 'old' spiritual ceremonies as weird and boring this will lead to their lack of prominence in our daily lives. Online religion and scientific innovations will lead to the finish of familiar worship and get started a form that is unpredictable and uncontrollable. "The future is very glowing, but we've yet to get our mind around a global were some people get their whole religious experience through the device. " said Dudley Rose, a Dean at Harvard University.


In the essay above, my target was predicated on the practice of exclusive/online religion with regards to media and faith.

Firstly, the world of popular culture was reviewed showing how mass media and technology have grown to be more culturally accepted in the 21st century. Subsequently the dissimilarities between online faith and faith online were reviewed comprehensive, concluding that spiritual leaders prefer the 'religion-online' format as they may have far more structural control over their worshippers, as the worshippers themselves required a liking to 'online faith as it allowed them to express religious views and ideas and giving them the flexibility of interaction.

The positives of virtual religion were shown through its impact through the 9/11 attacks. Lastly, a blog and a web based article were guide, highlighting views of real men and woman of how press, technology and virtual religion's effect on 'old' religion which is not only a theory but a sizable part of truth. I would like to conclude by quoting Thomas Merton who once exclaimed

"Technology is not alone against spiritualityand to faith. But it reveals a great enticement. "


  • Inspires Today, 2007. Available from: http://www. inspirestoday. com/quote/41015. html [16 April 2014]
  • Fowler, Roger. Words in the news headlines : Discourse and Ideology in the British Press. New York: Routledge, 1991.
  • Microsoft Glass windows 2010. What's Digital Marketing?Available from: <http://technet. microsoft. com/en-us/catalogue/what-is-digital-media-2. aspx>

[16 Apr 2014]

  • Helland, Christopher 2000, "Browsing on for Salvation", Religious beliefs, Vol. 32, (4), 293-302. Available from: Yahoo scholar citations[16 April 2014]
  • Hoover, SM 2008, Mass media and Religion, University or college of Colorado at Boulder, USA, A White Paper from THE GUTS for Media, Faith, and Culture.
  • Nothaft, D 2007, 'Virtual' religious beliefs increases interesting questions. 9 February 2007. Yale Daily Information. Available from <http://yaledailynews. com/blog/2007/02/09/virtual-religion-raises-interesting-questions/> [17 Apr 2014]
  • Fox, S 2010, Technology changing the way we practice religion, smart telephones allow spiritual practice in new times, spaces and ways, NBCNEWS. com, 7 July 2010. Available from: <http://www. nbcnews. com/id/38126658/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/technology-changing-way-we-practice-religion/> [17 Apr 2014]

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