Critical Commentary : Social Media and Religious Wars

Posted on October 1, 2012 by


Social Media has become a vast element to modern people and their every day life.  Is this a good thing?  It has become so easy to stay in touch with friends and family and pass time with the advances in media, but it also has become just as painless to cause riots and rivalries from the palm of your hand.

Recently there have been several cases of media causing uproars in religious communities.  A few examples of this are the release of the Anti-Islam video that spread to millions of viewers in a matter of a few weeks and a photo on Facebook that was deemed offensive to Islam resulted in Buddhist Temples being burnt down leaving several houses damaged, according the ABC News article.  These are only a few of the more severe cases in the recent past.

Is social media at fault or has contemporary society abused media as a tool? defines social media as “Web sites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts”, emphasis on large groups.  In other words, when something has entered the World Wide Web it can be accessed by someone, who can send it to someone else and so on, spreading like a virus gaining publicity very rapidly.

Focusing on the anti-Islam video, we can see how one persons creation can cause others to suffer.  This degrading video produced by Sam Bacile according to the Wall Street Journal, has stirred up Muslim communities.  Bacile mortified the Islamic religion by depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad as a murderer and pedophile among other degrading labels.  Once his video reached the video-sharing website,, it became visible to all, especially the Muslim community and possible more even significant, the media.

The second case was of a Facebook photo that revealed a burning Quran, which caused chaos in Bangladesh.  According to ABC News there were thousands of Muslims that set out burning Buddhist Temples and homes.  All of this, over a Facebook image.  This magnifies how serious religious communities are when someone brutalizes their religion. 

It is evident the media plays a huge roll in the modern society.  We learn of current events by watching TV, listening to the radio, checking our twitter feed and so on.  Through the media we can keep up on our favorite athletes or actor/actress, learn about political schemes or even hear about local heroes.  But when it comes to Religion, society becomes all ears most particularly when your religion is involved.  Religion is generally held close to those who are faithful but also renounced from those who are not.  This creates a large gap in societies views.  Religious views vary in the type and severity of ones beliefs.

So what can we learn from this?

First of all, modern society must learn that when placing something on the Internet it is visible to a vast amount of viewers who may or may not agree with what you have to say.  When it comes to religion, extra caution should be taken unless you are looking to start a religious feud.  People are very serious about their principles and become easily offended when an outsider “threatens” their beliefs.

All in all people have needs and wants, but if you feel the need to use social media to express your opinion on your religious beliefs and disbeliefs, I would advise you to do so in a way that will not be revealed to others or better yet, not at all.  It is very easy for something intended to be meaningless and safe to be turned into a threat to society.  Lives have been taken and historic buildings have been demolished due to peoples ignorance in addition to the use of certain social media tools.  Do the world a favor and think before sharing something with the entire social network society.


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