The majority of religions have their roots based in ancient scripture and teachings, and as such are fairly inflexible in various aspects of their culture. However, as technology and accepted knowledge has advanced at an increasing pace, so too many religions have sought to adapt and reflect a more contemporary mindset. While this has been generally considered as beneficial and a significant step in religions maintaining their relevance, it has been questioned in some circles as distasteful and opposed to religious values. Catholicism is an example of a religion that has long since been considered as inflexible and archaic in its values, until recent times have seen it evolve to cater to a more contemporary view of existence. In addition to modifying its views on abortion and marital union, it has also begun to communicate with followers through Facebook and other social media sites, creating a modern version of the faith that is far removed from its previous incarnation. Religion and Social Media The link between Catholicism and social media began in earnest last September, as the Pope visited the UK and the church used the medium to publicize the trip and its details. It has since retained this page and advanced the presence further, creating an additional layout to promote the Pope’s impending beatification in May of this year. This is one of the most significant instances of an established and major religion utilizing online media to reach out to their followers, and has prompted mixed emotions in response.
Individual human nature is a strange entity, and can often influence behaviour in the worst and most divisive ways imaginable. It is curious, and is itself often colored by personal experience, environment and the example set by elders. The problems arise where a negative perception is created that concerns a specific group or demographic within society, which can lead to prejudice and the very worst kind of religious or racial intolerance. In addition to this, it is rare for the perception to be accurate in its detail, leaving a suspicion or dislike that is unique to a personal experience rather than a social group. The Advent of Religious Extremism In America this week, Republican representative Peter King has courted controversy by calling for hearing to discuss what he describes as the radicalization of Muslims throughout the entire nation. Regardless of any logic or thought that has gone into his campaign, he has drawn staunch criticism from various bodies by singling out the Muslim faith, despite his initial claims that many different factions of society maybe vulnerable to such extremism. While some support his assertions as courageous and necessary, others see it is a deliberate campaign to marginalize the Muslim faith within the US. While Mr King is right to assert that radicalization is a serious and potentially dangerous element within contemporary society, it is certainly not specific to a single religious group or faith. It is more a reflection of the strained financial and cultural circumstances that exist in the country, as the continuing processes of integration and economic recovery create a society that is uneasy and unsure of their immediate future. Subsequently, any act or discussion which serves to isolate a specific culture or religion can only have a negative impact upon the society where it subsists.