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-   -   Religion in the Media (https://community.drew.edu//showthread.php?t=77)

Verna G. Holcomb 06-23-2005 08:23 PM

Religion in the Media
Being a religion major, I figure this is a safe place for me to enter into this crazy little cyber world of the Drew community...
I will start this with a question: How do you think religion is being portrayed in the mainstream media today?
In my opinion, it is being "popularized," but not taken seriously enough. The war we are involved in right now, as well as the numerous wars over the past few thousand years, are evidence of the influence religion can have on the world. But I feel that it is, contradictingly, both less personal now that it is "popular" and more personal since it has become more of an individualistic pursuit than the family tradition it used to be. I could be exaggerating, and I am not judging whether there is anything right or wrong about it, but I think it is an interesting thing to ponder. Therefore, I request ponderings!

John D. Holcomb 06-24-2005 08:43 AM

i think main stream media has helped to both popularize and demonnize major religion and it has become more of a fad then a belief but this is no reason to think less of religion but more of a reason to think less of the media and pop culture in its currant state

06-26-2005 02:14 PM

Jason, I have to disagree with your last paragraph. But i'll discuss it later, CAUSE I GOTTA PLAY HALO now.

07-01-2005 12:36 PM

Religion in the Media
I disagree with Jason. By the way Verna, I saw you driving out of Drew yesterday (Thursday), and I waved but I guess you didn't see me! lol, It was good to see you anyway!
Anyway, I think that it isn't the fault of religion that it's being popularized. Religion is something that is easy for people to use for their own purposes. If certain people feel the need to popularize parts of religion, then how is it the religion's fault that this is happening? Religion can't "do" bad things or good things. In the same way, it is not Christianity's fault that people are using it to further their own purposes. (I'm a Muslim, so I'm going to use the closest example to myself I can think of) In the same way, it is not Islam's fault that people feel the need to commit suicide for it. It does not make the religion inherently at fault, or bad for that matter. People use many things for their own purposes, and the things themselves are not at fault, the people are. Religion itself does not have a good or bad side, in my mind. I decide how I want to be a religious person. That's not to say that however people want to be religious is okay. (Terrorists think they're being religious, but that's definitely not okay). Like you said, Jason, there are people who use religion for good and for evil, but the religion itself didn't do it. It teaches what it teaches, and it's humans who decide how to take its teachings. Needless to say, it has been used for bad things, but I can't fault the teachings for the way people choose to interpret them. We have choice, a scripture doesn't.
I don't think good religion is the exception to the rule in monotheism. I think we're in an age where all we are willing to see is the bad. It sells, good religious people don't. In the same way, Fads sell, and the media knows that people being good on T.V. does not sell the way people using religion in a bad way do. I think if you looked around, you'd see that religion's "good side" as you called it, is everywhere, it's just harder to notice. I'm not disagreeing with the fact that many many bad things have happened in the name of monotheistic religions, but to me it's the opposite: People refuse to see the good side as the rule, and the bad side as the exception.

07-11-2005 06:37 PM

Go Saman!
I agree with Saman (hey roomie!). I am a Christian but I am not an extremist. I don't believe that you will go to hell and I think that people who are scared into becoming Christian miss something very important. People interpret the message of Christianity in their own way. I happen to be a Christian and a scientist at the same time, and I don't find that I am conflicted.

Religion is what people make of it. :)

07-11-2005 09:56 PM

HI stephani!

Verna G. Holcomb 07-12-2005 11:47 AM

I am glad to see that I have gotten so many of my friends talking...
Saman: I didn't see you. Sorry! And hi!!
As for the religion discussion, I believe religion is what people make of it, but that does not mean that religion itself is not at fault. From the very beginning, religion has been fashioned by people, and I can see some serious flaws in their designs which have prompted many of the problems Jason mentioned. Religion had to be set up in such a way as to allow people to take advantage of it. I guess I consider people to be the root of the problem in how religion acts in the world, as people shape religion; in how religion is portrayed in the media, as people choose what to say or write; and in how they respond to what is presented to them, since people choose their own actions and reactions.

John D. Holcomb 07-13-2005 02:02 PM

verna i couldn't agree more. religion is not evil, people are, and with that brings the interpretations. i was wrong to say that the media demonizes and demoralizes religion, it is the falt of those who interpret the media; people

07-16-2005 11:49 AM

Religion is not monolithic
Howdy, I don't know any of you, but I am very pleased and impressed with the discussion. As a fellow student of religion, there are a couple of points that I want to bring to the discussion. First, religion is not monolithic. There is very little, if anything, that you can say that is true of every Christian, or Muslim, or Hindu. Religion cannot, in my opinion, be abused or manipulated, but religious and non-religious people are abused and manipulated daily. I certainly agree that the media is, for the most part, in the business of selling their medium, not representing cultural norms. Second, it is true that many wars and horrendous acts have been committed in the name of religion. However, the wars, murders, and violent acts that have been committed for the sake of wealth outnumber these by far. Does this mean that we should pursue an ideology absent of possessions and religion? That is a discussion I would eagerly take part in, but it seems unreasonable to discuss the plight of the former without acknowledging the latter.

In Jason's thread, there is one thing I passionately disagree with and one thing with which I strongly agree. People of faith DO mobilize in significant numbers to perform amazing acts of peace, charity, and humanity. The perception that they do not or that they cannot is, in my opinion, one of the greatest threats to religion today. But to say that they do not mobilize in the numbers or with the zeal of religious extremists is to be guilty of the very misrepresentation so prevelant in the media. Jason also wrote, "There’s no philosophy, no exhortation to be better, no admonition to be grateful, rather a Pavlovian reinforcement of the egoism and intellectual laziness that endangers American ideals." I'm uncertain about your reference to Pavlov - again, religion (and especially liturgical ritual) is not monolithic - and I think American ideals need to be endagered because they endanger us. However, I could not agree more with the first part of your statement: that religion around the world bears an overwhelming tendancy to abandon philosophy, prudent exhortations, and humility. Zeal, absent philosophy, prudence, and humility, quickly turns from dogma to evil. But the question remains - what are we going to do about it? Those of us that recognize these problems bear a certain responsibility to rectify them, do we not? In what ways can we communicate with dogmatic individuals in a way that is not divisive in order to mollify rather than exacerbate the problem?

By the way, I know it says my name is Richard, but please call me Brad.

07-18-2005 04:12 PM

Hey All,

I would agree that "religion is not monolithic." Despite the fundamentalists, the people calling for jihad, the Christian-Righters proclaming that 9/11 was a part of God's retribution against gays, liberals, etc, religion is not a force for evil. It is difficult to separate dogmatic, institutional religion from personal religion. By personal religion, I mean the direct leading of the Spirit in one's own heart combined with one's own beliefs.
What I mean to say here, in my very roundabout way, is that religion is too complex for large labels. I find that many people cross boundaries and defy labels with their lives. I've met Roman Catholics in favor of gay marriage. I know an old lady who I met at Quaker Meeting and then saw at the Buddhist temple in my town ("Oh, I go to both, dear," she said). I am a Quaker (among other things) and am also Gay.
The ideaologies that we subscribe to on paper don't force our hands and our lives unless we allow them to. When human beings live by an ideology, by a book, they limit themselves and become fundamentalists. They give up their ability to make decisions because it is easier to turn to the appropriate passage than to think and be led by the Spirit. Please don't take my words the wrong way, I find solace in scripture and I have been informed and taught by the words of those that have come before, but I do not bend my life to the Bible (or other writings) line-for-line.
Religion is a conundrum. We can only try to understand it and to live it in our own ways. I believe that Seekers of all faiths and traditions can agree on one point: to truly follow a religion is to attempt to be a good person, to live for others, and to be revere life.

Peace be with you all, and thank you for this dicussion.

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