Thought Paper 1

Submitted By bhgarry
Words: 759
Pages: 4

Reading Reflection #1

Religion and Media

RLGN 1450 A01

Richard Parent

September 24, 2014

During the first module of issues in class, one topic which I found the most interesting from an entertainment point of view, was that of the rise and fall of televangelism. Having heard of the story of a televangelist named Jim Jones in my Social Psychology class, I was interested in learning more about how televangelism came to rise in popularity in American media. The main points made in the article aid to outline how televangelism came to be, describing its quick rise to popularity, also how its quick demise came about. The start of televangelism all began with the creation of the radio. Where members of certain religious groups took to the air waves to help spread their message to all those who would lend their ear. However the biggest influx in viewership with televangelists came about when television was made popular and accessible by the vast majority of the population. The article points out four of the biggest contributors to the dominance of televangelists on the radio and television. The first of which is described as “Theology and Free Market Principle”. Evangelicals took gods message of which to spread his word quite literally, seeking out to have their message heard by everyone to whom they could reach. They would use their air time to preach to their viewership and also to ask for those to “donate” their money to the cause, as a way to help gain access to the Lords kingdom. Following FCC ruling on public service time, there was no more free airtime being given out to Mainline religions. This meant they would have to start paying for their airtime, which came into conflicts with the beliefs of mainline religions. Now evangelicals could compete with these mainline religions for their airtime on Sundays. Many mainline religions did not want to appropriate the funds to the airtime, which the article describes as “Mainline ambivalence”. This allowed the televangelists to quickly take over the airtime. The last factor aiding the quick rise of televangelism was the increase in technological advancements at the time. Most notably the use of the videotape, following this, the invention of the satellite. These technological advancements helped televangelists reach a broader audience much quicker than ever before. Then came the downfall of televangelism. The article attributes three main reason as to leading the fall of televangelism. With its increase in popularity, came more and more competition. Eventually there was simply too much competition in the market between different televangelists. Also an unregulated industry combine with the mixing of religion with politics were also contributors to the downfall of televangelism. Televangelists are still present today, however they simply aren't around in the same numbers that they once were. The bulk of the article is focus on describing the rise and fall of televangelism, but it still points out media representations of televangelism.