(1.) Artistic license often provokes controversy by offending those who resent the reinterpretation of cherished beliefs or previous works like religious pictures from the bible.
(2.) Facebook and MySpace can lead children to commit suicide, warns Archbishop Nichols. Websites such as Facebook and MySpace encourage teenagers to view friendship as a "commodity" and are leading them to suicide, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has warned. Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols said the sites are leading teenagers to build "transient relationships" which leave them unable to cope when their social networks collapse. "Too much exclusive use of electronic information dehumanizes what is a very, very important part of community life and living together." The archbishop blamed social network sites for leaving children with impoverished friendships.
"Facebook and MySpace might contribute towards communities, but I'm wary about it. It's not rounded communication so it won't build a rounded community," he said. "If we mean by community a genuine growing together and a mutual sharing in an interest that is of some significance then it needs more than Facebook." He warned that the sites are contributing to a trend for teenagers to put too much importance on the number of friends they have and that this can ultimately lead to suicide. "Among young people often a key factor in them committing suicide is the trauma of transient relationships. "They throw themselves into a friendship or network of friendships, then it collapses and they're desolate."
(3.) Social communication is causing concerns for powerful Muslims in Iran and Indonesia. Last week a group of Indonesian imams met to discuss the issues they think Facebook, and social sites like it, are causing for its members. Specifically they think the ease of communication could encourage flirtation and extramarital affairs. As a result, they're considering a ruling to steer behavior on the site. The suggestion is that they'd still be allowed to be members, but should comport themselves according to relevant edicts. Since Facebook is the number one most popular Web site in Indonesia, above even Google, this is major news for the country.
(4.) CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian Christians have called for government action against the author of a widely read novel they say insults Christianity, in an unusual case that puts freedom of expression in Muslim-majority Egypt under fresh scrutiny. Government investigators are looking into the complaint filed by a group of Egyptian and some foreign Copts against Youssef Ziedan, a Muslim who wrote the 2008 award-winning novel Azazeel (Beelzebub).
Egyptian law prohibits insults against Islam, Christianity and Judaism, and Ziedan could be sent to jail for up to five years if prosecuted and found guilty. "They accuse me of insulting Christianity ... It's a serious crime and this is a big shock to people, especially since the novel has been so successful," Ziedan said. Azazeel, which won the 2009 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, backed by the Booker Prize Foundation, tells the story of a 5th-century Egyptian monk who witnesses debates over doctrine between early Christians.
(5.) Competition the world empowered by the ramifications of rapidly developing information and communication technologies is suddenly more fragile than ever before. Given this challenging paradox, different cultures can be better understood by knowing their mythological background, and by enhancing cultural literacy and intercultural competence. Respect for diversity can be created only through the knowledge of other cultures. In the global village the media play a crucially vital role in these processes. The media raises questions of religion and culture to the fore of discussions in almost every global crisis. The mythical background of different cultures is often used in creating images of an enemy - for instance, as emphasized in this conference, Islamic cultures compared with Christianity.
(6.) Media technology has a complex relationship with religion. Many faith communities have noticed that media messages on TV, film, video games, the Web, etc. can influence the attitudes and behaviors of their followers in ways contrary to religious teachings.
(7.) The late Pope John Paul II "A vast work of formation is needed to assure that the mass media be known and used intelligently and appropriately," the pope said. "The new vocabulary they introduce into society modifies both learning processes and the quality of human relations, so that, without proper formation, these media run the risk of manipulating and heavily conditioning, rather than serving people. This is especially true for young people, who show a natural propensity toward technological innovations and as such are in even greater need of education in the responsible and critical use of the media."
(8.) Heather Hendershot, Shaking the World for Jesus: Media and Conservative Evangelical Culture:
While a sizable number of studies have examined the growth of televangelism, few have paid attention to the Christian cultural products industry—the thousands of films, videos, CDs, and magazines sold to millions of evangelicals via mail order, the World Wide Web, Christian bookstores, and increasingly, in secular bookstores and national chains such as Wal-Mart and K-Mart. The growth of evangelical media also has been virtually ignored by film and media studies researchers. Examination of evangelical media reveals the complex ways that today's evangelicals are both in and of the world. This is not a negative value judgment; evangelicals have not simply "sold out" or been "secularized." Rather, evangelicals have used media to simultaneously struggle against, engage with, and acquiesce to the secular world.