If you’ve felt that there’s been increased discussion of religion in the British media in recent years, a new study shows that you’re right. Coverage of popular religion, Christianity and public life, Islam and other religions and atheism and secularism has all gone up since the early 1980s. This is not restricted to news coverage, but is also evident in sports, entertainment and advertising; references to fate, angels, magic, ghosts, miracles and fortune telling are common. The single largest growth has been in coverage of Islam and it is overwhelmingly negative: Islam is presented as ‘a problem’. But coverage of Christianity is also high. Why should this be, when over this same period church attendance and orthodox Christian belief have declined? It seems that the stock of Christian symbols and stories continues to provide a means for expressing wonder and fear, moral outrage and disgust, for praising celebrities and high achievers, contemplating the unexplained, and coping with u...
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