Friday, November 11, 2011

Threat of online communities on religious authority

There are numerous examples of online religious communities these days. In her article, Cheong argues that the development of new forms of online religion and religious discussion have challenged the authority in the church from the days of old. The new flow of information, and the ability of virtually anyone to be a "Theoblogian" has caused some tension between the people who subscribe to the online religion and the authorities within the traditionally structured hierarchy of said religion.
In the early days of the internet, the Vatican spoke out against its use and how it can be the portal of so many evils that the church wanted to protect its people from. The Pope and the Vatican were afriad that this new form of information technology would squelch their authority over religious law in the Catholic church.
It has been awile since the internet first came to be, and it seems now that the Vatican has taken a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" stance when it comes to the internet. The Vatican now has its own Facebook page, Twitter, and You Tube Channel. they still try to maintain a strict since of authority in that they do not allow comments to be posted, nor do they follow anyone else on Twitter. They maintain a certain level of authority while still reaching the masses via the internet. This will not stop the "Theoblogians" from sharing their doctrine, but at least both sides of the story can be found somewhere online.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Religious Identity of the Gamer

After finishing the Sisler reading for this week, I was astonished to learn so much about this niche of video game that I had never heard anything about before. Sisler spotlights how video games developed my Muslims for Muslims can shape the way that the religion is practiced.
One specific example are the games coming out of Afkar Media located in Damascus' newly opened free-zone. One game that they have released that we talked about in class was Under Siege.

Afkar Media has already produced two games, both dealing with the plight of the Palestinian people. One game released last year, "Under Siege," was born out of frustration with the prevalance of Arabs and Muslims portrayed as terrorists in Western video games. The creators of the game say the story line counteracts the biases in some Western games by showing the Palestinian struggle from an Arab vantage point and creating Arab and Muslim characters who are fighting in self-defense.

Critics say the game merely inverts stereotypes - replacing extremist caricatures of Muslims with extremist caricatures of Jews, like that of Baruch Goldstein, and using the violent "shooter" format common to many video games.

It is still unclear to me if these games have any affect on the way Muslim identity is defined, but it is a great question to look into further.