How Media Propagates Religion and Misconstrues Atheism

"The War on Religion"

We live in the age of media, social media, popular media, it is hardly possible to visit any place of business or communicate with our loved ones without being bombarded with it. In all seriousness you can not watch cat videos without watching ads. 

As any person who has "reached the age of reason" can tell you, news stations, especially large corporate news stations, are constantly trying to alter the perspective of their viewer. Why? Because viewers that agree with the news channel are far more likely to continue watching than a viewer who is critical of what is being said. 

So what is one way in which they try to alter this perception? Religion. From everything as ridiculous as the "War on Christmas", to perpetuating lies about scientific theory based on religious dogma, and berating atheism as an immoral and perhaps evil belief, there is no better PR for religion than media. 

A Few Examples

Here is a "Religion Panel" at the infamous American news station, Fox News. They are discussing the Freedom From Religion Foundation's billboard campaign, where the billboards read, "Enjoy Life Now. There is no afterlife." As is displayed during the video, as the spokesman for FFRF is making his point, the  "proctor" (Fox News reporter) leads the question away from him and makes point for the Catholic priest. Following this the Catholic priest blatantly describes atheists as unintelligent people, who lack an open and accepting mind. 

So what? A single Catholic priest bashes Atheism, what's new? Well, lets talk about the viewership Fox News has. I am no expert so allow me to quote Huffington Post:

Fox News: The network had the top five programs in cable news in both total viewers and adults 25-54. In total viewers, “O’Reilly Factor” (2.667 million) was followed by “The Kelly File” (2.204 million), “The Five” (2.057 million), “Special Report with Bret Baier” (1.985 million) and “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” (1.749 million). And in the demo, “O’Reilly” (426,000) was followed by “Kelly File” (374,000), “The Five” (324,000), “Hannity” (311,000) and “Special Report” (303,000).
— Huffington Post

Fox News dominates the cable news networks in viewership regardless of what program is running, having a reported 1.748 million viewers in 2014. So when they offer up any form of nonsense (Which they often do.) not only does a large viewership hear it, a large portion of it simply eats it up. What I mean by that is a large portion of people lacking critical thinking while watching the show accepted the fact that obviously Atheists are less intelligent than theists. 

 

Now we move on to the extremely logically fallacious. This man, Josh Feuerstein, gained a lot of traction in Christian social networks for his "brilliance." He issued this challenge with the sort of bravado you see most often in those entirely incorrect. The proposed challenge was simple, "Prove god does not exist." The issue being the rational misstep of trying to prove a negative, it simply is not possible. I can give you a large list of reasons the existence of a god makes no sense, but to say it does not is impossible. I can not guarantee that large flying elephants that glow with the colors of the rainbow don't exist either. There is an infinitesimally small chance that they inhabit a planet or plain of existence I am simply not aware of, the same can be said for any given god. 

Needless to say that the lack of rationality in the challenge did not even begin to bother Christian communities, and they were certain he had issued a deathblow to Atheism as a whole. 

This is a video that has been making it's way around Islamic social networks and basically tries to make Atheism, evolution, and science in general seem absurd. I will not go into detail as to why the entire video is wrong (If you want to see me do that click here.) My point being that there are many individuals who sincerely believe this video and it's ideas show that Atheism is wrong. Large throngs of people who are being led astray as to what evolution actually is, substituting information like this for actual evidence, because it agrees with their sensibilities. 

How Does This Perpetuate Religion?

A common theme in these videos is not particularly preaching religion, but more so bashing the opposition, and why? It's simple, the youth of today do not want to hear preaching, regardless of subject matter. For media to be most effective in it's approach it must appeal to the audience viewing it, which by and large in social networks is a younger crowd. What these videos do effectively, very effectively, is make Atheism seem so bad, or so absurd, religion must be the better choice.

Synopsis

I have supplied these examples and my review of them for one purpose. To show that media in all forms is being actively used to change and mislead the perspective of a large number of people through multiple different outlets. When you read that you may think, "That same argument could be used to up hold conspiracy theorists." The fundamental difference between the type of critical thinking I'm speaking of and the type of "critical thinking" conspiracy theorists do is that in my version of it you go out and look for evidence that makes rational sense regardless of your sensibilities, that is backed up by things like repeated experimentation and expert opinion. What a conspiracy theorist does is immediately discredit all information provided to them and systematically and perhaps subconsciously seek information that agrees with their more paranoid aspects. But that's a side note, simply take away from this that when viewing any media, it probably has an agenda of some sort or is being funded by somebody, and perhaps is not the most reliable source of information.