How do movies and the media represent religion and create stereotypes?

It is an undeniable fact that movies represent religion in a more contemporary medium than traditional worship,whether intentional or not, in many contrasting lights and I will attempt to explain what these representations are and the implications they may have on the viewer’s understanding and beliefs towards religion as well as their attitudes and how they are affected. Also I will attempt to explain my thoughts behind the reasoning for the stereotypical,or not, character’s behaviour whenever the need arises.

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How do movies and the media represent religion and create stereotypes?
It is an undeniable fact that movies represent religion in a more contemporary medium than
traditional worship,whether intentional or not, in many contrasting lights and I will attempt to
explain what these representations are and the implications they may have on the viewer's
understanding and beliefs towards religion as well as their attitudes and how they are
affected. Also I will attempt to explain my thoughts behind the reasoning for the
stereotypical,or not, character's behaviour whenever the need arises.
I will start with the 1976 fim "The Messenger", or it's original title "Muhammad, Messenger
of Allah", renamed as not to offend NonMuslim theists who seem to be so very vocal in the
USA, though this is just another stereotype generated by the media (accurate or not) from
what I have seen now i will move on to the importance of certain aspects of the movie and
the relevance to this piece of writing.
The movie depicts the life of the founder of Islam, Muhammad and is more of an educational
movie for Muslims, rather than western society, though there is the minority that live outside
of the middleeast. The movie isnt terribly well made, nor is it particularly entertaining but it
does, quite accurately, describe the life of the last Muslim prophet. If this was all that was
worth mentioning about this film then it would'nt have been worth mentioning but it is more
the method of the storytelling that they use, that interests me.
The movie itself was thoughtfully made, considering the time it was produced, in such a way
that it does not show the Prophet Muhammad, the main character does not show up on
screen, make a shadow or utter a single sound even once. This is according to Muslim law,
part of which is not to show any images of the Prophet. This obviously meant that he could
not be shown or speak at all. The reasons for this may be interesting but that is better left for
another time as that part of Muslim law isnt important right now. More importantly, is the
implicaions of the absentee protagonist. I do not fault the creators of the movie for what they
did, as it is an important story in their culture whilst they were bound by their laws so it was
very ingenious but it also leaves the uneducated, western, viewer with the impression that,
like so many other religious and political heads, he was only a puppet for others gain and
influence. This is because all of the other characters have to fill in his speech by suggesting it
or seemingly spontaneously agreeing to an unspoken proposition. It seems as if he has no
imput in the making of Islam.
Obviously the intended audience was Muslims but it most likely did mislead other cultures
negatively. This would only have lowered peoples opinions of the religion but not overly, the
impression left was merely just bad story telling and light corruption within the founding of
the religion, nothing too damaging but still it was not positive.
Also due to poor production values, having been made in the 1970s, the film seems barbaric
and dirty, from its rough, shaky, grainy camera shots and bad sound quality along with a
multitude of other problems that conspired to create the illusion that everyone was a filthy,
corrupt idiot back then, though I want to state that this is not my opinion, just what the
public is being shown and led to believe accidentally. One of the worst scenes for this is the
scene in which Muhammad's follower's are guiding him to the Kaaba and the other
townspeople are hurling stones and abuse at him and it creates a very savage image for the
viewer.

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The problem is that the majority of America and England are white Chistians (they are, I
checked) meaning that they are inherently lead to believe they are at the height of civilised
society and so a film as such would only drive home that old prejudice of the dirty, barbaric
foreigner. Also by barbaric I mean a tribal quality that shows no civilisation or peace.…read more

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Bible states "Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity
and in truth..." (Joshua 24:14). In fact, the movie even says the same thing and this is what's
so amazing about this movie, the insight.
Someone once said, "It's so easy to lose sight of one's faith in the bonds of one's religion".…read more

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Pentecostal denomination of Christianity, stereotypically a black denomination in
America.
One of the main characters, "Turk" (Christopher Turk but refered to informally), who is one
of the main characters and a surgeon who's the typical "jock" character (jock reffering to
the American athletic stereotype), apparently was very religous but this was only mentioned
in one episodes, funnily enough a Christmas special.…read more

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The last of the three was th guest character of Paige Cox, sister to the afforementioned Dr.
Cox. Her brother and her were mentally and physically abused as children and a such he
became hateful and narcissistic and she became relgious. Both coping mechanisms and in
her one and only appearance in the show she appears and helps an unrelated family pray for
their relatives health and he gets better. The brother who shows open distate for relgion and
his sister calls it coincidence.…read more

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England about Muslim's and their culture and the few and minor
fundamental differences that there are between Muslims and everyone else.
Unfortunately this movie also highlighted the terrible sexism sometime found in Muslims
culture and as such it was a minor drawback.
This movie is one of the few that did slightly more good than damage as it educates people
about Islam without forcing down peoples throats.…read more

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This movie puts very little stock in the churches credibility and for good reason as past
actions do reflect similar events in the movie, child abuse, taking money and all sorts of other
misdeads that did nothing but conspire to ruin the country. One thing peked my interest was
the similarities between England in the future of the film and Nazi Germany.…read more

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Next, i am aware that The Matrix has already been reviewed in class but i had a few
miniscule points that werent included, also i am going to include the implications that it may
have had on people perceptions.
The first and smallest poin is the form the scource take in the third and final move in which
he makes a giant babies head out of smaller robots and a halo above his head.…read more

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One quick point i would like to make is that whilst we were seeing the Matrix presentation
we were told that any and all similarities were coincidental and so irrelevant. But i believe
that even if it was untintentional it doesnt ruin the the relevance as even if it was
subconciously this story is important or at least well known by most and so it would be
included even slightly in anything written or directed.…read more

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