Thursday, November 10, 2011

GodTube and Authority Online

When discussing religious authority, Cheong expressed that it is a difficult idea to define. Authority itself is said to be an “ascribed asymmetry between speaker and audience” (Cheong, p.4). Meaning, the audience and speaker have an understood agreement that the audience believes what the speaker says to be true. Speakers have the power to influence the audience and, in return, the audience respects the superiority relationship. When it comes to religion, before the Internet offered a free and open space for religious discourse, individuals had to go through extensive theological education to gain authority. GodTube offers a medium where religious authority is brought into question. It is a website, much like YouTube, that allows anyone to post family-friendly videos in relation to their faith. At first glance, GodTube would appear to follow the assumption of the Logic of Complementarity seeing that it doesn’t threaten traditional religious authority. It features tradition pastors’ and priests’ sermons presented at offline churches and supplementary videos that don’t throw religion in your face to question authority but instead are simply absent of vulgarity and secular content. There are even videos that focus on authority coming from God and the church alone. This demonstrates how this particular medium, GodTube, is aware that the Internet has become one of the most popular tools for portraying religious information but the information can still be authentic and follow traditional beliefs. However, in Cheong’s article she also touches on Meyrowitz’s argument that “the authority of leaders [is diminished] when a medium allows different people to have open access and gain greater control over knowledge and social information” (Cheong, p.1). This is also evident in GodTube example. The multiple contributors to the site is problematic for religious communities; more in line with the Logic of Disjuncture. The people who post videos on GodTube can be seen as authoritative by the definition that authority means to have the power of influence; the number of "hits" videos receive indicate they are drawing an audience.

Check out other videos featured on GodTube!

Cheong, P. (n.d.). Authority . 1-33.

No comments:

Post a Comment