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Media and culture are deeply intertwined in contemporary society. Religions have problems relating to this media culture, which is shaped by media processes (mediatization) and conditioned by digital (mass) media and interactive forms of communication. Media set the agenda and they profoundly challenge religions, both with respect to their public communication, and their very existence and public relevance. Moreover, media themselves involve religious dimensions and have become the religious "iconofiers" of our world. People increasingly use media for shaping their - religious - identity and their search with respect to questions of ultimate meaning.
Barely any theological studies exist that reflect on religious policies -and their subsequent praxis- in the field of communication. The author analyzes Christian policy views and identifies the main problems and opportunities in relating to media culture. She argues the urgency of genuine dialogue, based on a thorough analysis of the trends of the global media context as well as recent insights from communication studies (audience research). She also argues a theological paradigm shift and the importance of (ethical) involvement by religions in the public sphere.
Ineke de Feijter is Assistant Professor in the master's program on Media Religion and Culture at the faculty of Theology and Religion at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.