Religion and the Media

by Carlos A. Valle

The Rev. Carlos A. Valle is General Secretary of the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), 357 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5QY, England.

This article is from Media Development, World Association for Christian Communication, London, 1992.


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.

In the New Era of Religious Communication, Pierre Babin offers a striking contrast of world-views which helps to indicate the potential which TV and other media may have to affect our religiousness. To begin with Babin introduces us to the practice among some indian tribes living in the Canadian wilderness, of plugging their children's nostrils and covering their eyes after birth, the better to atune them to the noises of the forest in which they will have to survive. Then, in stark contrast to these 'hyper-auditory' individuals, made alert to the subtlest natural sounds, Babin invites us to consider the modern American adolescent, reared amidst the clamour of competing mass media (such an individual will have logged some 20,000 hours of viewing by the age of sixteen). Is it possible that individuals with such different degrees of media exposure would have similar ideas about God and the transcendent? Could their sense of the holy be thought to follow even remotely similar contours?"(1)