Authority, Religion, and Media

Research output: Book chapterChapterpeer-review


In the present day, the media have acquired some of the societal functions that were previously the preserve of religious organizations. This chapter explores this phenomenon by analyzing its causes, effects, and consequences. It recognizes religion as a force in society, culture, and politics, both domestically and internationally. Authority moves between the necessary contingency of religion and the pull toward a divine or spiritual authority given to the most sacred aspects of religion. Having control of communication technologies and of the distribution of messages gave religious groups power because such control implicitly conveys a recognition of legitimacy. Scholars speculate how digital culture transforms accepted understandings and patterns of authority. In the digital world, the criteria for transmitting information may either originate from algorithms that act mechanically, or in human judgments about newsworthy elements, so it is important to learn the language of new media and to understand the nature of authority in the digital age.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook on Religion and Communication
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781119671619
ISBN (Print)9781119671558
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Digital age
  • Religious authority
  • Religious groups
  • Religious organizations
  • Spiritual authority


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