Mass Media Communication and the Transmission Effects on Religious Beliefs
Abstract In recent years, religion has been in conflict over the association to the television for several different reasons. One of the most important reasons for this connection is the availability to project a topic or subject to the public in a large setting without leaving the church. However, the older styles of religions do not support this type of modern technology due to the lack of the personnel factor that is included in many religious teachings.
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Many of the modern religions have taken to this type of display because of the benefits that are available. Support for this style of information issemination is clearly expressed by modern religion figures. Recent religious fgures can be quoted as saying, “Religion and media are overlapping social processes producing and interpreting symbols and rituals through which people express and contest social meaning including their relationship to the transcendent or sacred. (Campbell, 2010) This message was delivered from Pope John Paul II for the 23rd World Communications Day in 1989, “The question confronting the Church today in not any longer whether the man in the street can grasp a religious message, but how to mploy the communications media so as to let him have the full impact of the gospel message. ” (Paulus PP. “, 1989) Mass media has gained significant ground as the “go to” source of accurate news and information. This form of communication has become heavily entwined with current religion events.
Though mass media has provided religion with a positive venue in an attempt to gain more visibility and support efforts encompassing beliefs and faith practices. Mass media has also negatively impacted the foundation of religion because it has allowed for the loss of the core meaning of the religion’s belief infrastructure during transmission. Historically, this form of communication works against established religious values. The relationship between mass media and religion has been predictable throughout history; uninterested parties on both sides.
While media mediums have evolved throughout history, the relationship has deep roots in history. Reports involving religion almost always are part of bigger more newsworthy events. The focus on the core meaning of a religion’s belief infrastructure has become increasingly more unstable as digital Journalism has grown. The grey area that has developed between media and religion is enormous. Religion and media are overlapping social processes producing and interpreting symbols and rituals through which people express and contest social meaning – including their relationship to the transcendent or sacred. (Campbell, 2010) Where does the division take place within in todays generation? What defines the core belief system of religion and the path of attainment? Even though the modern form of mass media can be seen as positively impacting religion by providing a new and modern outlook. Mass media can also be presentations lose the core beliefs that provide infrastructure and are projected uring transmission. There have been numerous debates regarding the ethical reporting delivered from media sources and the responsibility of public perception. Many religious fgures demand that media outlets take towards reporting religious affairs.
Currently, the question of whose responsibility is it to make certain that in the middle of news worthy religious event, the accuracy of the religious integrity of reports? In theoretical study completed by S. H. Hosseini, he notes “Major efforts have been exhausted bringing religion closer to media (rather than bringing media closer o religion), or to break down the traditional boundaries between the “religious” and the “media. ” ” (Kaur, 2009) The importance of the gaining viewers and creating increased rating has over shadowed the impact of many historical events.
Media has relayed a continuous message of possession equals fulfillment, including religion. Scholars continue to argue the association between religion and the media. Stolow stated that “Consumption is a part of religious life when one buys a book by a spiritual teacher, or pays for a child to attend a religious school. But, the onsumption approach to religion suggests that it is not necessary to read the book or for the child to pay attention or for some religious end to be served. ” (Stolow 2008) Opinions like his have raised debates questioning the core belief of religion and the transmission of these beliefs.
He further questions media effects of the sacredness of religion, “Certainly, “media’ in all their economic, symbolic, performative and techno- prosthetic dimensions, have become central to the terms of interaction within and among the embodied regimes and imagined worlds that constitute the sacred” (Stolow 2008). ETHICS of Journalism With the shifting of focus towards conflict in religion as newsworthy, where do the ethical aspects come into play for Journalist and news reporting agencies? In 2001 Doug Underwood found answers.
Published in the Journal of Mass Media, Underwood set out to determine if “the basic moral and ethical admonitions found in the Judeo-Christian tradition still hold their authority with the modern news media, even among the most irreverent and contrarian of Journalists. ” (Underwood, 2001) The following table illustrates his results. (Table 1 . ) Underwood’s findings revealed an overall consensus that Journalist possessed strong Table 1 . Source of Journalists’ Ethical Values 1 (Not at All) 2 3 (Some) 4 5 (A Great Deal) to want to explicitly connect their professional principles only with Christian teaching. Focus on Positive Communications Mass media has provided religion with a constructive venue to gain more visibility, support and membership ofa particular faith. One religion that has experience both sides of media advancements is Catholicism. The Census of the 2012 Annuario Pontificio, translated to the Pontifical Yearbook, published the number of Roman Catholics in the world was about 1. 2 billion at the end of 2010. These numbers atapult the Church and the leaders……
According to the Pew Research Center, Pope Benedict XVI dominated mainstream religion coverage from 2007 – 2012 (Illustration 1. 1) Media exposure of this magnitude has prompted the Catholic Church to take an aggressive position on mass media communication; gearing a large portion of its mission statement delivery towards a more technologically modern media medium. Accepting the impact of media reports on society, this position allows the church a stronger voice therefore a stronger impact to change the fluctuating perception formed by and through mass media.
Many religious leaders have embraced the new data savvy generation and have urged church leaders to take an active role by incorporating current technology into the infrastructure of their worship services. Modern technology is a viable source to reach out to members and other struggling with their religious beliefs. A momentously historical event that has occurred in the world today is the resignation of Pope Benedict WI. As a world religious leader many media outlets have focused reporting on the rumors of possible implications of the Pope’s retirement amid sexual scandal with members of the clergy.
The scandal ertainly Justifies news worthy reporting but has the media focused too much on finger pointing and forgotten the historical meaning behind a religious leader of this magnitude recognizing the extraordinary ability needed to lead followers has been compromised due to health or is the media attempting to redirect the public’s focused on bigger issues that are effecting our nation, such as the sequestration? Kaur, M. (2009, nov 02). Media, Film, Music and Religion. Retrieved 02 04, 2013, from Exploring the Holy in Hollywood: http://religionandmediacourse. blogspot. com/ 2009/11 [exploring-holy-in-hollywood. ml Paulus PP. ", l. (1989, 05 07). Message of the Holy Father John Paul II. Retrieved 02 04, 2013, from Religion in the Mass Media: http://www. vatican. va/holy_father/]ohn_paul_ii/messages/communications/ documents/hf_Jp-ii_mes_24011989_world-communications-day_en. html Sterin, C. J. (2012). Mass Media Revolution. New York: University of Maryland University College Campbell, H. A. (2010). When Religion Meets New Media. New York: Routledge. Hosseini, S. H. (2008). Religion and Media, Religious Media, or Media Religion: Theoretical Studies. Journal Of Media & Religion, 7(1/2), 56-69. doi:10. 1080/ Corrigan, J.
Morgan, D. , Silk, M. , & Williams, R. H. (2006). ELECTRONIC MEDIA AND THE STUDY OF AMERICAN RELIGION. Religion & At-nencan culture, 16(1), 1-24. stolow, J. (ed. ) (2008). Deus in Machina: Religion and Technology in Cross Cultural Perspective. New York: Fordham University Press. McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: McGraw Hill. Underwood, D. (2001). Secularists or Modern Day Prophets? : Journalists’ Ethics and the Judeo-Christian Tradition. Journal Of Mass Media Ethics, 16(1), 33-47 http://www. pewresearch. org/2013/02/12/pope-benedict- over-the-years-news-coverage-by-the-numbers/