Posts tagged #Christianity

Would We Be Less Divided As Nation If Facebook And Twitter Didn't Exist? Or, Are Social Media Platforms A Reflection Of What Lies Within The American Heart?

In our hyper-partisan society, it seems the one thing everyone can agree on is that social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have not made America a more unified and respectful place.

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reports 57 percent of Americans agree social media networks including Facebook and Twitter do more to divide the country than unite while 35 percent polled apparently have never been on political Twitter because they think the social sites help bring the nation together. One scroll through a politically related Twitter feed and those 35 percent would quickly change their mind.

In addition, 51 percent believe social media spread lies and falsehoods more than spreading news and information.

Sixty-one percent feel social media spreads more unfair attacks and rumors against public figures and corporations while 32 percent think these sites hold public figures and corporations accountable.

Finally, 26 percent say they have blocked or unfriended a contact on Facebook or another social media site due to their political views.

There are good aspects to social media that we all enjoy including learning about news we might’ve missed, watching funny videos and staying in touch with old friends and family.

However, it’s hard to deny these sites have also contributed largely to the hyper-political and hyper-partisan culture we live in. Every day there are people that find something new to be upset, angry and enraged about politically.

The thousands of daily hate-filled, personal attack Tweets aimed at public figures including members of Congress is disturbing. We live in a society that does not respect those in authority.

I’m not saying you have to agree with a representative on any or all issues because their position may go against your own religious and political beliefs but the personal, vile, vulgar, hate-filled posts on social media doesn’t help to move the political discussion forward. It just makes our society and politics more toxic which isn’t good for anyone.

Sometimes I wonder if we didn’t have Facebook and Twitter would our politics be so personal and toxic? Could there be a chance that we’d be less divided on issues and could find more common ground if our national politics didn’t seem like such a battlefield that is fought daily in 280 characters or less on Twitter?

Or, have people always felt this way, and social media just amplifies thoughts and behavior that has always been there?

I believe social media has played a part in creating this more toxic environment that has contributed to our nation becoming more divided, but social sites aren’t the only reason we’re so divided.

The root of our divided country isn’t just the social platforms that allow awful people to say terrible things. The comments online are just a simple reflection of what lies within the users posting these messages.

Unfortunately, our society continues to move further away from a moral and religious foundation which is the main reason our politics and culture have become so dark and toxic. The moral collapse of our country is getting posted, liked, shared and Tweeted daily by the minute.

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Dr. Chad Whittle holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his weekly column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

The Box Office Success Of The Pro-Life Film 'Unplanned' Surprises No One But Hollywood

The Christian produced pro-life movie “Unplanned” is proving to be a surprise box office hit according to reports from Yahoo. This is only a surprise to those that live and work in Hollywood because if you live outside the Hollywood bubble, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you. Unlike many in the film industry, your average American does not hold a far left position on abortion.

The movie has made more than $8.6 million at the box office since its March 29 release which is good enough for fourth place at the box office this past weekend according to Box Office Mojo. The only movies ahead of it are big budgeted blockbusters like “Dumbo,” “Us,” and “Captain Marvel.”

For the film to be fourth to big Disney/Marvel movies is very impressive considering the movie had a much smaller production budget and less promotion due to no TV networks agreeing to air ads for the film except Fox News Channel due to its pro-life message.

It probably also helped that the vice president of the United States Tweeted his support of the film. Currently, the movie is in over 1,500 theaters.

The odds were not in the movie’s favor since the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) attributed an “R” rating to the film so that teens 17 and under could not watch the movie. In some states, you can receive an abortion without your parents’ permission if you’re 15, but you can’t watch a film about abortion unless you have your legal guardians permission. The Twitter account of the film was also briefly suspended which hurt marketing efforts as well.

The movie has received harsh negative reviews from Hollywood which isn’t surprising and was very predictable.

I’m glad this film was made. It’s exactly the type of film Christians and conservatives need to produce. If conservatives want to win the culture war, the battlefield isn’t the halls of Congress. This political and moral battle must be won on the movie, TV and smartphone screens across the country.

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Dr. Chad Whittle holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his weekly column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

If Christians and the Church Want to Bring Millennials and Gen Z Back to the Church, They Need To Start Producing More Media Content to Reach Them

Recent research has shown a growing decline in church attendance and religious affiliation among millennials and Generation Z in the United States.  For many church leaders, this decline is troubling, and some are not sure how or what to do to bring young adults back to sitting in the pews.

If churches want to bring young Americans back to houses of worship, religious leaders will need to take the message outside of the four walls of a traditional church and go where millennials and Generation Z live: online and on social media.

Prior generational leaders like Pat Robertson and the late Billy Graham understood the power and influence of the media which is why Robertson founded “The Christian Broadcast Network,” and Rev. Graham aired his sermons on radio and television.

However, unlike past generations, young Americans are exposed to media messages constantly that offer them various worldviews and opinions on morality. They no longer need to attend a physical church to hear about spirituality anymore either. They can simply download a podcast or watch a debate about current topics on YouTube. 

For this age group, it is much more convenient and natural to watch a video online than attend a church. This is why the church needs to do more to reach this age group online and through other media. However, if you want your content to be taken seriously by Generation Z, you better bring your A-game.

There is an endless digital sea of videos you can stream on YouTube or watch on Netflix. If you want your videos to stand out, you need to make it not only informative and thought-provoking but entertaining as well. When you have a generation that has grown up to waking up in the morning to their iPhones and spending all day with their device until they fall asleep with the phone at night in their bed, you must produce quality content that stands out from all the noise. They are smart and can spot poor quality and badly produced cheap content.

This is not to say there isn’t quality Christian content in the media now including Christian music, some films and YouTube videos from popular creators like John Crist; we just need more Christian content that is available for young adults on YouTube, Netflix, and social media. 

Churches should consider creating a media fund to help financially support those within their membership and in their local communities that have the skills and talent to produce quality, informative and entertaining media content. Or, partner with those that have the resources to produce this content.

Millennials and Generation Z are not going to stop using the web and social media. The more exposed to Christian messages they are in their news feeds the better. If you reach them where they are and how they consume content, some of them might just find their closest Uber one Sunday morning to attend a worship service. The backdrop of an old church building or a contemporary one with lights and fog would make a great selfie for Instagram.

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Chad Whittle holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his weekly column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.