A Study on Religion and the Role of It on People and Media….

Media Research Research Topic- RELIGION AND MEDIA A STUDY ON RELIGION AND THE ROLE OF IT ON PEOPLE AND MEDIA…. NIKESH GHOSH 100601181 Batch B ACKNOWLEDGEMENT First of all I thank almighty God for helping me do this research paper and for being with me all throughout the research. Secondly, I would like to thank Mr. Padma Kumar sir for supporting me and for being the head of my research. Last but not the least I would like to thank all my friends who have helped me do this paper. Special thanks to my friend’s Gerson Pearson and Aparna Nair for their utmost help and support.

OVERVIEW This research paper mainly deals with religion and its impact on people through media. Here I have firstly focused on what is religion and media and then have linked religion with the society. Later I have showed the relationship of both of these with the media and all consequences regarding it. I have also added to it my own view point’s regarding the same topic. During the course of the research some questions regarding the same issue has also been dealt over here. INTRODUCTION What is religion?

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Religion is a mixture of belief, faith and culture which brings together humanity and spirituality. It is more often considered as an emotional expletive during the time of crisis. It has a very deep impact on certain people whereas a very mild impact on others. Religion was thought to be originated around 2500 BC. From then started the rise of religion. Even though there are a group of people who does not believe in the supernatural powers and god but they believe in science to control the world, there is another side of it too who believes that the supernatural power is god.

Depending on this the religion aspect was also cut into several pieces and these were named as Judaism, Christianity and Islam as well as Indian and Far Eastern religions like Buddhism  and Sikhism; Iranic religions like Zoroastrianism and Bahai , and African indigenous-based religions like Santeria. Others belief systems were also developed with the rise of time such as atheism and Mormon Church. This is how religion was divided and this division also led to the conflicts in the name of god. Basically religion is something brought about by the humanity and it just serves as a hope and life for the believers.

Religion is something which has the capability of controlling man. It helps a person gets rid of suffering, show them the value of life, enhances the urge to live in a peaceful way ,to help others which all ultimately leads to a peaceful life. Through this one finds the meaning of his or her life. But on the other hand there is also another category of people who uses religion for their personnel fights and creates fights and wars in the name of religion which no god tells to do. People and society have the privilege of manipulating things to the way they want and this is exactly what these categories of people are doing.

Even though there are a lot of religions people forget to realise that the belief and controlling power is just one. One more category of people is the ones who don’t believe in any of these and just science has the controller of the world. In spite of all these religion has a very good impact in the peoples mind in the modern era. What is media? Media is a very broad and vivid area which is a communication link to wide variety and category of audience. It is a source through which the world links with the mankind. The sources to communicate with the audience may be different like television, radio, newspapers.

Internet etc. but the aim is just one and that is to make people aware of the day to day events occurring across the globe. The people tend to believe these technologies blindly which has increased the rate and extend of rise of the media drastically. The source of information and value training to the society is more and more often the media. The information brought about by the media is what the people believe and try to inculpate and this is due to the rise in the busy schedule of one’s life. Media itself is classified into: 1.

Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for advertising 2. Broadcast media, communications delivered over mass electronic communication networks 3. Digital media, electronic media used to store, transmit, and receive digitized information 4. Electronic media, communications delivered via electronic or electromechanical energy 5. Hypermedia, media with hyperlinks 6. Mass media, all means of mass communications 7. Multimedia, communications that incorporate multiple forms of information content and processing 8.

New media, a broad term encompassing the amalgamation of traditional media with the interactive power of computer and communications technology 9. News media, mass media focused on communicating news 10. News media (United States), the news media of the United States of America 11. Print media, communications delivered via paper or canvas 12. Published media, any media made available to the public 13. Recording medium, devices used to store information 14. Social media, media disseminated through social interaction 15. MEDIA Programme, a European Union initiative to support the European audio-visual sector (http://en. ikipedia. org/wiki/Media) Relationship of religion and society through media As discussed above, society is very much influenced by the media and the attitudes of people of religion towards the media are extremely varied from uncritical acceptance to total rejection of media’s presence in the life of society. As we all know everything has its dos and don’ts, this issue are also have both dos and don’ts. Nowadays the society is so much into the media that they believe anything and everything brought by them blindly . for instance the religious worships and aspects shown in movies vary from film o film and they may show a lot of aspects against and maybe for it. Some people has the ability to take it wisely whereas there is another category of people who believe the television and other media so blindly that they tend to believe all the religious aspects shown through this medium is true which ultimately has led to a lot of conflicts . we even know some religious themed movies even though has an outstanding performances in it has been banned a lot of commodities due to different ethical and religious issues. At times people tend to forget that films are not reality.

But this is not just in the case films but any media related aspects can very well influence the people’s mind which has ultimately led to lot of religious dissimilarities and conflicts among people even now. One of such issue is the very famous ayodhya dispute which is even going on now . media has caused a very huge impact of this issue on the society. During the issue there were several articles against the media too stating that media should be kept away from the court and many more. All these are just some examples in order to show the relationship between religion and society through media.

Today, the biggest criticism levelled by people of religion is that media are usurping religion’s place in society. That is to give shape to a value system and to express the essence of a culture. Religion and media has gained visibility as a new area in the academic Study and knowledge of religions and their impact through a growing number of publications, research centres, and thematically focused conferences and workshops are also carried out. The media and television are believed to challenge the religious world views presently and also in the coming decades.

Religion itself is categorised as a particular type of news among the media presently. Given below are two images in which one represents the top religious stories occurred in 2009 and other is the selected topics in the us media in the year 2011 in which religion represents 2. 0 per cent of the total. Review of literature 1. Stewart Hoover’s recently published monograph (2006), Religion in the Media Age, begins with the following observation: ‘Religion and the media seem to be ever more connected as we move further into the twenty-? rst century. It is through the media that much of contemporary religion and spirituality is known. 2. The mission statement for the NYU Center for Religion and Media opens on a similar note, suggesting that ‘In the 21st century, religion is dif? cult to imagine detached from the dizzying array of media that amplify and circulate its ideas and practices. ’ 3. Gregor Geothals (1981, 1993) and William Fore (1987, 1990, and 1993) . “television has become the great cultivator of our culture, the great mythmaker of our time’ … providing myths which ‘tell us what has meaning – for example, the meaning of social roles in society: who has the power, who is the aggressor, who is the victim.

They tell us who can do what, to whom, with what consequences. By telling us ‘the way things are’ they convince us this is the way it ought to be’. 4. George Gerbner (1979) . “ television, in providing a ritualised dramatisation of symbols and values, plays a cultural role similar to popular religion. Gregory Baum (1993, p. 65) notes that the mass media do much more than mediate information: like religion they create the categories mi which we perceive the world. 5. Lee Marsden and Heather Savigny, both at the University of East Anglia, UK. Media Religion and Conflcit is one of the first constructive, unbiased analyses of its kind which looks at the role of media, religion and conflict in current domestic and global politics. It forces the reader to re-evaluate media constructs, cultural perceptions and issues surrounding identity whilst examining how and why conflict occurs as a result of these self-same media stereotypes. 6. The spirit of networks: new media and the changing role of religion in American public life; Author:Healey, Kevin : The Spirit of Networks examines the implications of new media for the future of American religious politics.

I argue that we are at a critical juncture in both media and religion, similar to the early days of radio broadcasting. The outcome of that earlier juncture involved an increase in media commercialization and the proliferation of conservative evangelical broadcasters—developments which paved the way for the emergence of the Religious Right. Today, technological and generational shifts have the potential to alter the course of American religious politics. Younger people are more wary of political partisanship and religious hypocrisy, and are more likely to use new technologies as tools of political engagement.

These shifts have led some journalists and researchers to pronounce the death of the Religious Right and the emergence of a new Religious Left. 7. A case study with Du, AlSayegh Media and Shaikh Al Oraifi. There are relatively few religious media channels through which to communicate effectively and which may be receptive to conveying a message on behalf of a company when compared to more mainstream media. Even if a company has a message that they’d like to promote and which would appeal to this target audience. 8.

Communication and research trends (center for study of communication and skills: volume 21,2002. no. 2:media and religion case study ): The relationship between religion and media sheds light on this paradox [the privatization of religion but with public consequences, like the Islamic revolution in Iran or the political role of liberation theology], which illustrates an increasingly complicated negotiation between the private and public spheres. 9. Belief in the Media: (Cultural Perspectives on Media and Christianity Horsfield, Peter, Mary E. Hess, and Adan M.

Medrano, eds. London: Ashgate, 2004. ): “Media Culture and Christian Institutions,” explores the impact of media on Christian institutions. This part, of course, drives home the message that institutions can no longer view media as simply tools for institutional messages; rather, the fluidity of media must be taken into account. Mary Hess examines the importance of popular culture and how Christian institutions might adapt to it. Both Adan Medrano and Siriwan Santisakultarm reflect on the use of media in their religious backgrounds, Latino and Thai Catholicism, respectively.

Medrano’s “Making Religious Media” demonstrates the difficulty of creating religious television programming, which resonates both with the institutional message and the lives of adherents. In “Changes in the Thai Catholic Way of Life,” Santisakultarm traces the changing media that dominated Thai Catholic life from oral culture to the purported loss of religious communication with modernization. The final essay in this part explores the U. S. Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, and Frances Forde Plude suggests that, with this scandal, it becomes clear that the Church and the news media have differ nt and often contrasting views of media. Method of study In this qualitative research, firstly I have identified different types of media and evaluated their influence on society. Secondly I have explained and evaluated different religious attitudes towards the media and also religion and politics. Thirdly I have focused on the relation between religion media and society. Lastly I have focused on my own views regarding the topics listed above. 1. Types of media and evaluation of their influence in society? The different groups of media include: newspapers, magazines, yellow pages, radio, television, press, web and internet.

Among these the most prominent one in the present days is web and internet. “In the last five decades or so, the media and its influence on the societies, has grown exponentially with the advance of technology. First there was the telegraph and the post offices, then the radio, the newspaper, magazines, television and now the internet and the new media including palmtops, cell phones etc. There are positive and negative influences of mass media, which we must understand as a responsible person of a society. We have put our trust on the media as an authority to give us news, entertainment and education.

However, the influence of mass media on our kids, teenagers and society is so big that we should know how it really works. The media makes billions of dollars with the advertising they sell and that we are exposed to, every single moment. We buy what we are told to buy by the media. After seeing thousands of advertisings we make our buying decisions based on what we saw on TV, newspapers or magazines. These are the effects of mass media especially in teenagers; they buy what they see on TV, what their favourite celebrity advertises and what is acceptable by society based on the fashion that the media has imposed on them. ( http://www. opinion-maker. org/2011/01/mass-media-and-its-influence-on-society/) . The above statements were from an article by M. A. Mugdhal which clearly tells us about the influence media has on the society. People tend to believe what the media tells so blindly that they forget what the actual reality is. Henceforth, media has a huge rate of responsibility in order to bring up the accurate matters to the society and to educate the society in a proper way.

The mass media can create awareness, knowledge of preventive innovations and convey useful information about the skills needed for behaviour change, but they should not be expected to change strongly held attitudes and behaviour. 2. Religion and media Malcom Muggeridge, a veteran English communicator with a long career in the world of radio and television, thought that one should do without television because it is a medium that traffics in fantasy that creates images and ideas that are not true and does not have and cannot have any relationship with truth.

For him, the medium is an autonomous element capable of creating its own dynamic and, therefore, its own communication structure. Yet faith can be lived, received and shared outside society’s structure and, so, the media are not only unnecessary but harmful. Muggeridge saw using mass media as a “fourth temptation” which Jesus would have rejected because in reality “this medium, because of its very nature, does not lend itself to constructive purposes. ” On the contrary, media “are giving to Christian society something which is dangerously destructive. “

This position is based on a conception of faiths considered as timeless in order to maintain its purity and integrity. Without overlooking the manipulative and deceptive purposes of the mass media, it should not be forgotten that this same a temporal concept is used by those who make use of the fantasy of the media to communicate very effectively the fantasy of their own “gospel”. Second, according to Neil Postman (6), any religious celebration in the media requires an environment invested with certain sacrality. To do this certain rules of behaviour are needed which are denied by the circumstances in which a religious programme is watched.

People eat or talk or distract themselves with other activities and the way of behaving required by the religious celebration is lacking. But there is more – for Postman, the screen is saturated with profane happenings, associated with the world of commercialism and entertainment. In a way it supposes that religion can be successful on television only if it offers what people want, which presumes the trivialisation and emptying out of content. In this respect, we should accept a certain kind of warning against mass media because their manipulative intentions are more obvious.

But this complex reality must not lead us to believe that a retreat to more traditional forms will simply provide us with the possibility of avoiding all contamination in communication. Has the Christian community always been unpolluted? Since when have only angels preached from pulpits? Third, Giorgio Giradet(7), an Italian Waldensian pastor, believes that one can find an alternative to extreme positions like the total rejection of Muggeridge, or the marked optimism he finds in the “electronic church” and in Pope John Paul 11.

For him, that alternative has to take five things into account: (a) the importance of the media in a context that includes technical, financial, political and cultural aspects; (b) that using an electronic medium, like it or not, is a political act; (c) doing everything possible not to isolate the medium from reality; (d) preventing technical questions from alienating the medium from reality (problems of quality, montage, etc. ); (e) encouraging public participation, forestalling passivity.

He concludes: “The struggle for and insistence on possible and sensible use of the media of mass communication centres in the end on reflection about the church. ” We have to accept that in our world today mass media are more and more becoming the most important source of information and entertainment for us. We also need to recognise that they can play a significant role in encouraging participation in the search for a more just and peaceful world. ( http://www. religion-online. org/showarticle. asp? title=273) . The above article was put forward by Carlos A. Valle.

What he tried to convey was just that media can bring about a huge rate of impact on people’s minds regarding religion. For instance, if we take the case of youth, these are the group which are more addicted to media nowadays especially internet and these category are the same group which has less knowledge of religion so they depend more on media in order to get different aspects and details regarding religion and the religious issues. As we all saw during the ayodhya issues, most of the society were kept updated with all the matters on media which clearly shows that media is the only medium which keeps the whole globe one.

But as every matter has its negative and positive side . religion and media has also has its positive and negative side too positive| negative| Religions can reach many people who may not otherwise be reached via the media. This can be very important in helping people understand a faith and its traditions and beliefs. | The media can sometimes be used to encourage stereotyping and discrimination n against certain religious groups. E. g. the Islamic faith is now believed to be terrorists, due to the 11th September 2001 event. In the modern world, it is important to have a better understanding of those around you — it helps generate harmony and peace. | Usually the media broadcast the most controversial stories as they know they will most likely get a response the most outrageous the headline is. Therefore this can cause a disagreement between religions. | Prejudice often comes from ignorance, so the media can be used to combat this. Go onto the Internet, and type in a search for a named religious tradition. You’ll find official websites, which can give you actual view of that tradition. The media can also be a source for blasphemy, for example The Last Temptation Of Christ, was boycotted and picketed by Christian groups when it first appeared in British cinemas. | Christianity and Islam are both missionary religions. There is a religious duty to spread their understanding of God and his laws, and to bring more people into the religion. The media is a good way to spread their message further, faster. | It can be seen as a source of corruption, as there are many anti-religious sites. This could be a source for persuasion and may affect the most easily peer pressure — young teenagers/ young adults. For many people who aren’t able to attend their own place of worship as often as they would like to, the religious broadcasts bring it to them. | It can raise issues of hypocrisy within religious texts and cause arguments and sometimes in extreme cases violence. | The media can be used to bring communities together and families together especially during special religious days. The media can be used to inform religious believers the special ceremonies taking place in areas close to them, allowing the religious community to come together and support the cause or celebrate the event. | | (http://wiki. nswers. com/Q/How_is_Religion_portrayed_in_the_Media) the above table focuses on the positive and negative side of the role of religion on media. It is usually unrealistic to expect the mass media to persuade individuals to adopt an innovation. At best, the media can bring about behaviour change indirectly but not directly influencing them to much extend. Nowadays religion and politics is also getting mixed up. Their relation is like blood and body. Different people interpret the correlation of religion and politics in different ways and this at times has resulted in lot of conflicts too.

Media too has its own way of interpreting religion and politics. Nowadays major effort are put up in bringing religion close to media rather than bringing media close to religion and there are also efforts being made in order to eliminate the differences between the two. An article in http://religionmeetsnewmedia. blogspot. in/ on Tuesday February 07, 2012 has reported the launch of the New Media, Religion ; Digital Culture Studies Website. This clearly shows the advancing methods and ideas inorder to bring religion and media together and avoid conflicts between them.

This way a peaceful world can be developed. Media as such as a very much role in the diffusion of innovation. 3. Religion, media and society. Religion, media and society is always linked together. Nowadays the society is mostly informed with the religious aspects and issues through the media . so their linking is inevitable. As stated in an article: The replication of a study first carried out in the 1980s that examines coverage of religion by major TV channels and newspapers (UK).

Analyses cover all forms of religion (popular religion, spirituality and new religions as well as conventional ones) and the „secular sacred? (e. g. freedom of expression, the value of equality, and human rights as sacred concerns). A key finding is that coverage of Islam has almost doubled, but Islam is generally framed as a problem in relation to terrorism, extremism, attitudes to women, or failure to integrate. Christian identity is presented as ‘under threat’, particularly in right wing and tabloid media, because of political correctness and the equality agenda.

Strong atheist and secularist voices have emerged since the 1980s, though their media portrayal is contentious. Identity issues are commonly presented in the media, but there is frequently a difference between media Portrayals and the self-identities of religious and secular groups. Equality, multiculturalism and discrimination continue to be discussed. Their treatment needs to be understood within the editorial context and rhetorical style of the newspaper or TV channel in which they appear. ( http://www. religionandsociety. org. k/uploads/docs/2011_05/1306247842_LINDA_WOODHEAD_FINAL_REPORT_MAY_2011. pdf ; research conducted by Kim knott. ) This article is all about the link between religion media and society. Religion has both positive and negative side within the society as well as within the media. In some cases through media we come to know about the different ways in which religious places helps the poor and the needy and in other way we come to know about the different war and fights in the society regarding different religion or among different religion through media.

An article by the national institute of health states that “One side effect that has noticed by the National Institute of Health (PA-04-115), and is currently being studied further, is a reduction in cases of HIV and AIDS in areas that have received help by faith-based religions. The school of thought is that the focus on family and values around sexuality of these religions are causing people to be more cautious and use protection. ” (http://www. studymode. com/essays/Effects-Religion-Society-160822. tml) But as we all know that we have come across lot of instances when religion has led to wars and ultimately death of millions. For example, the thirty years war in holy roman empire between the protestants and Catholics ; crusades in holy land, Europe between Islam and Christian ; Lebanese civil war in Lebanon between Sunni, Shiite, Christian. These are the few instances in which religion has led to war. But nowadays if there was no existence of media the youth may not be aware of all these. In this busy world no one is bothered to know all this.

But still due to the existence of media the youth and the people of the present generation are very well informed about all these issues Nextly we can talk about the religion terrorism which is very well talked in media nowadays. A major trend seen nowadays is that all the religious conflicts are justified by the person who starts it. They have justification for all the violence they start. When religion goes bad that is dangerous and media in a way causes awareness to the people regarding this matter too. But it has its own negative point of view also. One such example is the al Qaeda attacks on September 11, 2001. he Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks highlighted just how dangerous a mix terrorism and religion is. This perception has been solidified by the series of terrorist strikes that have been launched since – whether by al Qaeda or its affiliates – as far a field as Bali, Spain, and Saudi Arabia. All these attacks highlight the threat posed by Islamic terrorists in particular. However, while, they reflect a wider phenomenon of Muslim extremists resorting to terrorism in pursuit of their aims, they are but the (as yet) bloodiest expression of a phenomenon which extends far beyond Islam. (http://studies. agentura. ru/centres/cdi/explaining1/) The place of media in the modern society is rising tremendously that people prefer to get information more preferably from some source of media mainly internet. What is religion, its issues and related all matters are now more dependent and available from media. 4. My views and opinions regarding media and religion: As from all the above listed studies it is very well clear about the impact of media on the society and impact of religion on the society and thereby media and religion also gets linked up.

As we all know that almost all newspapers has a columns which report religious aspects ( exceptional case like left front parties), Times of India carries a particular column ( like speaking tree) which is themed for Hindu linings. Even we can take the case about a particular newspaper which is named “The Hindu” even though it has nothing to do with the Hindu religion and this particular paper has a side for religion which reports and keeps updated with the various religious aspects occurring around the world.

Even nowadays the new age guru s is promoted by the media itself . from all these it is very well understood the role of media in promoting religion and related superstitions and matters. It is the only medium which can reach millions of people at the same time and in a modern era people are more dependent on media. The adoption of internet and other media by the youth as led to much better diffusion of innovations and with better understanding. Religion has now become a thoroughly mediatised experience and the interconnection of media and religion depends on the society.

As we all know that religious institutions and individuals are now very well influenced by the media. We can tell that in a way lot many of them exist only because of the media impact. This is why some times the wrong religious practices are often questioned by the media and they always have to face the danger from media and this is one of the reason too that some of the religious institutions or individuals are opposing media at times. Among all the media, internet is the newest and most popular medium affecting the religious aspects in the present era. If