The Danger of Social Media

While baffled trying to come up with a topic idea, I like most people, found myself scrolling through social media trying to stumble upon an interesting discovery. Unsurprisingly, I found Religious groups or “Denominations” posting on these sites to recruit or bring in new members. Admittedly I was doing this to procrastinate on another assigned reading for another class. I was supposed to be reading William LaFleur’s Buddhism: a cultural perspective, in which LaFleur introduces the idea of Buddhism spreading via the Silk Road. One could imagine how this was an effective way to sell goods and even ideologies, cultures, and religion. From this the West developed “Hip Zen” a misguided and stereotyped form of Ch’an better known as Zen Buddhism. All this to show that even before the internet and social media religious groups were able to spread their culture and beliefs in a similar effectiveness. Wanting to understand the groups ideals and community I dug deeper into their social media page. Just like most of us they were trying to force an image of who they were. They also talked about what collective representations they took part of and talked about multiple individuals experiences. While trying to sell what they believe to be good, I couldn’t help but to see the egotism and closed mindedness that many religions enable in their followers. This also reminded me of the ISIS recruiting tactics and made clear that small ambitious “Denominations” walk a very fine line between an ambitious church and radical group. This is another example of The Neo-Nazi group McGuire talks about in chapter 2 section Two Opposing Principles: Good and Evil. The line between what we consider to be good and evil is skewed and many religions get stuck in a cycle of assuming they’re morally right, when they aren’t actually doing any good.