iPod Religion

Media technology isn’t only affecting the way people learn or the way they communicate. It’s also affecting their faith.

I recently read an article on pluggedin.com, a site run by Focus on the Family, entitled “Choosing Their Religion”, and it talks about the effect media and technology is having on today’s teens and their beliefs. Today’s youth can easily download the music they want, instead of listening to what’s on the radio. With the internet and TiVo they are in control of what they watch and when, and no longer have to pay attention to advertising during shows, and instead of relying on traditional news media such as the newspaper or the new on tv,  “they’re getting their news from Internet blogs that tell them basically what they want to hear.”

Because of all this, many teens are basing their beliefs using the same mentality, picking and  choosing what sounds good to them. Personally, i think this is definitely a negative trend, although i’m sure some of you would disagree and view it positively. Whatever you think, i’d definitely recommend checking out the article. I could just retell what it says, but i’m sure it will be clearer if you read it for yourself.


4 Responses to “iPod Religion”

  1. November 15, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Here’s something to think about. How are religions currently chosen? In most cases, if parents practice religion x then the children also practice religion x. So, does the Internet not give us then more choice in letting people decide what they believe, or what they do not believe? What are your thoughts?

  2. 2 Stephen King
    November 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Joseph, between you and Alec on Twitter you got me thinking. You can see my thoughts on this at http://cbmasters.blogspot.com/2009/11/few-thoughts-on-religion.html.

    Big topic to open up!

  3. November 15, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    I’m sure someone has said this in another context already, but we need to question the origins of the article you reference. It comes from focus on the family, a deeply conservative, deeply polarizing religious political action group, and the article makes assumptions that I consider problematic.

    First, Focus on the Family itself has cherrypicked its definition of “the Truth.” Indeed, while most sects of Christianity adhere to the belief that their way is “the truth,” we need to keep in mind that no two truths are the same. Is this fundamentally different than the practice of worshippers deciding which truths to believe and which to discard? The only difference is that churches have authority figures and a platform for mandating rules by which others must live.

    Second, one nice aspect of new media (and nearly all participatory technologies) is that they enable us to be critical and reflective about the tenets we choose to follow. A hundred years ago, it’s true, there was less of this “pick and choose” approach to worship–but there was also less empowerment of the people in general. It was more difficult to question the mandates set forth by the leaders of all institutions, including religion, schools, government, and so on. We might consider iPod religion an extension of the new power we all have to decide which aspects of an institution make sense, and which do not align with our values.

    Keep in mind that these types of decisions can, but don’t have to, be about personal preference. On a larger scale, the decisions about which tenets to follow and which to ignore are part of the deeper cultural work of negotiating ethics. We don’t stone adulterous women anymore, not because we believe the bible no longer commands us to do so but because we appreciate the heinousness of that practice.

    • 4 josephhack
      November 23, 2009 at 5:22 pm

      first of all, sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to this, but thanks for taking the time to let me know your thoughts on the subject.
      i think the main point i disagree with you on is when you say that no two truths are the same. doesn’t that make the assumption that truth is subjective and not something that’s absolute? as a christian, i believe that what’s taught in the bible is true. also, i’m think questioning what you believe and why is very healthy. in my church, we are often encouraged to check what’s being taught by comparing it with the bible to make sure it lines up. i believe that instead of looking at which tenets align with our values, we need to be looking at which tenets line up with the bible, and which ones don’t.
      so in some ways, that easy access to information is definitely helpful in that way. however, my concern comes when christians start mixing what the bible teaches with beliefs that in no way line up with those teachings.
      having said that, this is my point of view as a christian, and i appreciate having feedback from a different point of view.

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