Religion in the Media

The main cultural complaint of atheist activists is that the media never brings up religion due to political correctness. Usually it takes the form of attacking the mainstream for not acknowledging the negative role of religion in many conflicts, but occasionally it branches out to a general attack on political correctness.

That’s the best framework to situate Jim’s post about some idiot who edited out the word “God” in the version of The Queen to be released for in-flight entertainment.

In most cases, it’s both a problem of religion being cut slack and secularism being unfairly attacked. When a conflict is clearly religious, people seldom deny it. The average non-Muslim has no idea what the difference between Sunnis and Shi’as is but recognizes that they are two distinct religious denominations that form the spine of the Iraqi civil war.

The problems arise in two different cases, mainly. First, a conflict can have several components, of which only one is religious. In that case, the religious component will get deemphasized, as in Bosnia and Sri Lanka, whose conflicts are viewed as purely ethnic. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an exception, in that the media overemphasizes its religious roots and ignores its nationalist element entirely.

And second, a conflict or social problem can be attributed to a secular notion or ideology that is seen as comparable to religion. In that case, bullshit analyses that nobody tolerates in the case of religion abound. Hence Darwin is responsible to eugenics, communist influence is ubiquitous, and secularism is responsible to the breakdown of society. The notion that pornography contributes to rape is related, although it also carries a significant element of puritanism.

4 Responses to Religion in the Media

  1. tga says:

    Good comment. However, I think pornography is so popular because of the sexually repressive nature of our society, which also explains the higher rates of rape. More sexually permissive European societies have much lower incidences of rape.

  2. Alon Levy says:

    No, more sexually permissive European societies have lower incidences of rape reporting. Surveys from Britain and Canada show far higher sexual assault rates than the US (of course, Britain and Canada have even more repressive anti-porn laws, but less sexually conservative cultures).

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