Christianity and Media in the Electric Age
The abundance of media and the references to Christianity abound in the United States of America. Most homes have a television, most cars have a radio, and the internet is accessible to most through many outlets. In short, we are surrounded by media. There are numerous references to Christianity as well. Pilgrims came to this land seeking religious freedom. Our pledge of allegiance states that our nation is under God and our president must swear on the Bible when inaugurated. Whether we know it or not, media and Christianity shape our lives. So, it might be beneficial to understand both of them and how they relate to each other.
Greenville College is providing an opportunity to connect media and Christianity. The Center for Visual Culture and Media Studies (CVCMS) and Andrews Endowed Chair for Christian Unity organized a colloquium featuring Dean Dettloff. Dettloff, a PhD candidate at the Institute for Christian Studies, will be giving his talk on Christianity and Media in the Electric Age. This occasion will be held at Whitlock Music Center in Luzader Chapel Tues. March 7 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a focus on religion, politics, and media.
Dr. Matt Bernico, instructor of communications and media studies at GC, knows Dettloff quite well. Nothing but excitement and positive things to say about his peer, and friend, came out of his mouth. The two met on the social site, Reddit. Expressing similar opinions on a Christianity subreddit, they introduced themselves and a friendship was born. Both of them tended to express more leftist views so they broke away to form their own subreddit titled, “Radical Christianity”. Although Bernico and Dettloff stopped using the site, they remain in contact through Facebook and occasional visits. This friendship brought Dettloff to GC’s campus.
Dettloff’s talk is about two media theorists, Marshall McLuhan and Paul Virilio. According to Bernico, Dettloff’s main focus is exploring how McLuhan and Virilio’s Christian faith impacted their theories on media. Bernico commented on how this conversation affects Greenville College:
It’s important to us because [he] talks about the relationship between technology and our faith and how those things aren’t separated.”
Bernico continued to explain that questions about media and technology are ethical.
Bernico, then, cited an article that he, and Dettloff, wrote for the peer-reviewed journal Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy. The article titled, Atmoterrorism and Atmodesign in the 21st Century: Mediating Flint’s Water Crisis, focused on the water infrastructure in Flint, MI. Dettloff and Bernico saw this crisis as an ethical and technological problem that Christians should know how to respond to. Bernico stressed that problems like Flint should be addressed by individuals operating in technical fields and Christians. This talk will give students and faculty a chance to learn how to respond in a Christian manner.
Bernico emphasized the novelty of Dettloff’s talk. The research that Dettloff does in the theology about media studies has never been explored before. There are no books or articles about it yet. Attending this colloquium is a chance for students and faculty to hear cutting edge theory that straddles the lines of communications, theology, and philosophy.
With the relevance and the newness of this idea, this is one event that can’t be missed.