6. Technology and its implications

6.1 How have the new technologies affected the practice and dissemination of religious and faith communities?

1. Religions can use electronic technologies to propagate their beliefs. It seems that religious organisations still obtain favoured treatment on early morning TV, more so than other groups in society. However, those who believe voluntary euthanasia is a good option are forbidden to use electronic means to distribute information.

2. Religions can propagate their views more widely using global technologies such as the internet. Others can propagate alternative views, but mainstream religions are well funded and run by zealots. There is a danger that the indoctrination of children, discrimination and the imposition of religious values on others could worsen before it improves.

6.2 Has new technology had an impact on your religion and/or your religious practice?

3. As a person who does not believe in imaginary beings, I have no comment on this matter

6.3 What issues are posed by new religion and spiritualities using new technologies?

4. There are websites that propagate untruths about science and religion, seek money for ‘truths’ about imaginary beings, advocate discrimination or that gods can kill or do inappropriate things. Freedom of speech is important, but well-funded religions can propagate untruths and discriminatory values faster than less well-funded organisations.

6.4 Is your freedom to express your religion or beliefs hindered or helped by current media policies and practices, considering reporting, professional knowledge, ownership, and right of reply?

5. Many media organisations have religion reporters, meaning Christian religion reporters, but do not employ reporters who can provide an alternative view free of religious dogma. Reporters do not challenge a religious leader on why they deny women the right to lead their church. Why do religious leaders discriminate? Commercial media organisations need to make a profit. Politicians need votes. The 8% of people who are regular churchgoers vote as one on critical issues, and the media and politicians have determined that they do not want to alienate those Australians who overtly or covertly have a policy of discrimination against women, homosexuals, non-believers and others.

6.5 What impact do the media have on the free practice of religion in Australia and the balanced portrayal of religious beliefs and practice?

6. Unfortunately, but expectedly, the media has a large impact, because reporters often do not ask the hard questions. Can you imagine the outcry if a leading TV reporter on a commercial television station were to question the Pope, or even a Cardinal, on how he (it must be ‘he’) can:

  • justify a ban on the use of condoms in third world countries
  • oppose a reasonable abortion at the expense of the right of the woman to determine what is right for her own life
  • ask terminally ill people to repeatedly vomit their own faeces when in the final stages of colon cancer rather than permitting the option of voluntary euthanasia
  • deny the use of cells for research
  • justify the existence of a god or soul when there is no scientific evidence
  • advocate that others, not of his religion, should have everlasting punishment in hell
  • discriminate against women, homosexuals, and other races
  • justify imposing his religious views on others through political force
  • worship God, who according to the Bible, kills children
  • justify why his and other religions should receive favourable tax status over other Australian organisations.

7. Some reporters might consider such questions as impolitic, but the questions need answers. People and the media need to consider issues in greater depth, and ask the hard questions, if our society is to become more tolerant and less divisive. Australians donate lots of money to religions, and Australians need to know where it goes.

6.6 Are there religious or moral implications in the development of new technologies such as the internet and or mobile phones, especially in regard to religious vilification and hatred?

8. Religious vilification, hatred, discrimination, and the imposition of religious views on others should not be tolerated any more that in other areas of society. New technologies could mean that religious hatred etc might be propagated more quickly.