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Communication and Religion

  1. A Theology of Communication by William F. Fore

    Theology is a statement that tries to make sense out of our lives. This essay is intended to provide a viewpoint from which to understand the workings of communication. It attempts to say what communication is all about, in the context of what the world is all about.

  2. Analyzing the Military-News Complex by William F. Fore

    Fore explores the unusually tight control the United States military had over Gulf War news coverage in general and television coverage in particular. He suggests that there is no simple answer as to how and why this could have happened, that it involved a combination of technical, economic and cultural forces, and that everyone who views such events uncritically is asking to be controlled.

  3. Christian Megastar by Mark Yaconelli

    Bono of U2 musical fame may be one of the most important Christian activists of our time, for through his humanitarian efforts he has demonstrated a responsibility to the larger struggles and issues that burden humankind.

  4. Communications Technologies and the Ethics of Access by Frances Ford Plude

    Why is access to communications a basic right? Information is the key word. In an information society, access to information equals empowerment. When large numbers of people are nodes in a communication network, the messages cannot be controlled. This communication pattern empowers groups.

  5. Coping With Disaster: How Media Audiences Process Grief by Frances Ford Plude

    On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland. Two hundred people died. The concepts reported in this paper represent the author's attempt to analyze the impact, upon general audiences, of constant media disaster viewing, rather than focusing on victim's families.

  6. Cultivating Babel: Disinformation and Dissent in South Africa by John M. Phelan

    A field trip during July and August of 1983 took the writer to all the major cities and many of the towns and villages in every province of the Republic of South Africa. Here he reports on the communication structures and processes which supported and maintained apartheid: the concept of "banning," the Publication Act, forced "relocation," and the influence of the mass media system, particularly radio.

  7. Cyberwalden by John M. Phelan

    Cyberspace is a new field for old dreams. It is the latest meeting place for both doing things together and trying to figure out, as we never cease to do, where we really are. Where the word comes from will help us to understand where we might be going with it.

  8. Going Digital by Quentin J. Schultze

    A media and religion scholar examines the effects of the Internet today in comparison with Martin Luther's use of the printing press in the 15th century.

  9. History and Policy in American Broadcast Treatment of Religion by Stewart M. Hoover and Douglas K. Wagner

    The authors examine the development of public policy about religion content in broadcasting -- policy that has implications for the treatment of religion in the society.

  10. Interactive Technologies: The Potential for Solidarity in Local and Global Networks by Frances Ford Plude

    How does the variable of communication interactivity offer potential changes to relationships among individuals, small groups, and nations at large? Computers are the printing presses of the twenty-first century. Whereas radio, television, and film are usually linear, many aspects of network interactivity find expression in new media technologies that are two way. This circumstance calls forth a new focus for communication analysts.

  11. Jim Bakker and the Eternal Revenue Service by Grant Wacker

    A review of Charles E. Shepard’s book recounting the rise and fall of Jim Bakker and PTL. The book is surprisingly objective though it fails to probe very deeply into the meaning of the PTL phenomenon.

  12. Lost in the Digital Cosmos by Quentin J. Schultze

    The majority of popular Christian Web sites seems to be lost in the digital ether, with no sense of their own location in religious time and space. They reflect the entrepreneurial spirit of popular religion -- pragmatic and creative, even if historically disconnected and theologically unsophisticated.

  13. Managing Appearances by John M. Phelan

    The concern of public relations professionals, advertisers, and politicians with image and appearance as an instrument for persuading people about important matters in the real world of events and decisions is matched by the growing scholarly and intellectual interest in signs and symbols as makers, not merely conveyers, of the world we live in.

  14. Mass Media and Ministry by Peter Horsfield

    The author addresses some of the key issues in the relationship between the mass media and religion. First he indicates trends in the study of mass communication; then applies these to three areas of religious faith: hermeneutics and proclamation, church practice, and religious experience. He concludes by suggesting some possible courses of action.

  15. Mass Media’s Mythic World: At Odds with Christian Values by William F. Fore

    It is wrong to attack the media as if they were being manipulated and mishandled by greedy people at the top. In reality, the media reflect our own greed and weaknesses far more than we care to admit or to analyze.

  16. Match Point to the Media by William Lee Miller

    A writer looks for something concrete to interest readers and to illustrate a point. Sometimes the illustration sweeps away the point.

  17. Media Dominance by Mark U. Edwards, Jr.

    A plausible case can be made that the technology of the Net, the Web and television is more compatible with evangelical than with mainline understandings of theology and worship. Like the 16th-century Catholics and their delay in the use of the printing press while the Protestants were using it with great effect, today’s mainline needs to assess the positive educational potential of the Internet and Web and put it to use for its own faithful.

  18. Mythmakers: Gospel, Culture and the Media by William F. Fore

    This book helps us look closely at the values of our "mediated" culture in light of the Christian Gospel.

  19. No Miracles from the Media by James A. Taylor

    If Jesus had communicated via television, Christianity might never have survived. The old-time street-corner evangelist symbolizes both what the media most desperately try to accomplish and how they most dismally fail -- especially in evangelism.

  20. Oprah on a Mission: Dispensing a Gospel of Health and Happiness by Marcia Z. Nelson

    Confession is the signature of Oprah’s TV show. According to Oprah, talk is crucial, even salvific.

  21. Religion and the Media by Carlos A. Valle

    The author looks at the pluralist character of modern society, the place of media within it, and the nature of the media. He describes the way the churches have tried to use media, then the way media have usurped many traditional religious functions. Finally, he suggests three responses to the media's challenge to religion.

  22. Religious Broadcasting at the Crossroads by Peter Horsfield

    While the evangelical broadcasters have demonstrated an aptitude for using innovations, nevertheless, they have not yet demonstrated a corresponding aptitude for justifying theologically the validity of their enterprise. Some of the compromises which have been made in order to adapt to the demands of these new technologies have fallen victims to its awesome power.

  23. Religious Television: The American Experience by Peter Horsfield

    (ENTIRE BOOK) A comprehensive study of religious television. History of its early development. Who views religious TV, why they view, and how the experience affects both viewers and the local church.

  24. Soul-Saving via Video by Jeffrey K. Hadden

    The phenomenal success of the electronic church is in part a result of intelligent application of revolutionary technology, but a more important factor is America’s cultural drift toward conservatism.

  25. Television and Religion: The Shaping of Faith, Values and Culture by William F. Fore

    ENTIRE BOOK An examination of the values and cultural significance of secular television, and the role of mass media in shaping our lives. The author provides a theology of communication, a critique of the Electronic Church, and concludes with practical suggestions for those who are concerned about the impact of American television worldwide.

  26. The Electronic Church’s Aesthetic of Evil by S. Dennis Ford

    There have been at least three major explanations for the presence of the ugly in art: 1. The transformational theory. 2. The educational or didactic theory. 3. The pleasure theory. The electronic church so often both depicts evil and implicitly denies its seriousness, the pleasure theory best articulates the core of the electronic church’s aesthetic and sensibilities.

  27. The Humiliation of the Word by Jacques Ellul

    (ENTIRE BOOK) We are addicted to images, a wholesale abuse of language, a dangerous addiction to surface trivia, a fixation on the unimportant, an obsession with the insignificant. Ellul’s solution is to discover a "new language." It is the only way understanding can begin to flow again, so that we can communicate the gospel in such a way that it "penetrates."

  28. The Limits of Celebrity Activism by Douglas A. Hicks

    Dr. Long believes that Bono, of U2 fame, in his efforts in public education, communication and mobilization, makes an intriguing case of celebrity leadership. But his true measure is if his efforts can deliver political and economic change.

  29. The Pseudo-Content of the Processed Image by John M. Phelan

    The author argues that the electronically transmitted image will become the medium of greatest authority. This poses ethical and moral problems of profound dimension because of the medium's divorce from the language base of all ethical traditions, which themselves flow from spoken oral traditions and written canons. It is significant that at a common stage of development, religious traditions are suspicious, if not condemnatory, of images, graven or otherwise.

  30. The Sacrament of Civilization: The Groundwork of a Philosophy of Technology for Theology by Andrew Tatusko

    Technology, and the new information technologies in particular, reveal the underlying nature of our culture today, and thus act as a kind of sacrament of our civilization. Therefore we must critically engage our technology to see how it shapes our values, our epistemology, and our rationality.

  31. Video Ventures: Two Alternatives to ‘Alpha’ by Debra Bendis and Jason Byassee

    The author discusses two alternates to the more fundamentalist video, "Alpha:" "Beginnings" and "LTQ" ("Living the Question"). Both have their strengths and weaknesses from the liberal point of view.