The medium and the light: Reflections on religion and media

show a high level of critical thinking in the formulation of your thoughts. Formal APA formatting is required.
A well-constructed paper will include the following elements.
• Introduction, featuring a fresh and clear thesis.
• Body, featuring major critical points that were themed or critically curated by you, the reader.
• Minimal quotes. Use of quotes should be reserved for making the most significant points.
• Sufficient source / content references, indicated by in-text citations (page citations).
• Strong topic sentences for each paragraph. These should transition and connect ideas, as well as guide the reader through the paper.
• Conclusion, featuring strong statements regarding how the thesis was developed / proven in the body of the paper. This portion of the paper should also make it clear how future research of the subject could be impacted by the ideas here.

Critical Summary papers should be a minimum of 750 words.

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Source: McLuhan, M. (1999). The medium and the light: Reflections on religion and media. Eugene, OR: Stoddart. ISBN: 9780415027960.

Marshall McLuhan is regarded for two ideas that have shaped communication conversations—theoretical and practical—for decades: 1) we can NEVER stop communicating, and 2) the medium is the message. As he applies communication to the traditions in the church, it becomes essential to consider how strategic communication can be engaged in a traditionally theological setting. In other words, what happens when strategic communication and spiritual life intersect?

Question 1: In his own way, how does McLuhan understand that Strategic Communication transformations are taking place? How would he talk about these transitions in the two unique contexts of the church and the world? Why must we understand both?

Question 2: What is the significance of understanding communication mediums? How are these insights valuable to your research interest?

Question 3: How is McLuhan relevant to the future of Strategic Communication philosophy? What two aspects of his ideas should be reconsidered in this historical moment?




The Medium and the Light: Reflections on Religion and Media

McLuhan’s work has a significant influence on the understanding of strategic communication. Over the years, media and communication have evolved from the eras of prevalent broadcast media such as the radio to the digital platform we have today, the internet. In the book, McLuhan speaks of the interrelationship between technology and communication through which a global village would be developed. He establishes various observations on the possible effects of introducing new forms of expression in media and communication (McLuhan, 1999). This paper finds that McLuhan’s understanding of strategic communication transformation involves integrating technology in communication, thus developing a global village. Moreover, through the “medium is the message,” the mediums through which content is carried is as vital as the message conveyed, which in most cases, many people do not realize.

In his book, McLuhan introduces a famous slogan that “the medium is the message,” which communicates that the content and the medium used to carry the content or message cannot exist independently. Hence, it is crucial to understand communication mediums as the medium in which any communication is relayed, or message carried plays a critical role in how the content is perceived. McLuhan suggests that the communication medium should be the primary focus between the communication medium and the message. These media significantly influence human senses and affect human societies through their features and content. According to McLuhan, the medium of relaying content and communication will change as the world evolves and argues that the results include a shift in the individual’s perception in every change in the communication medium (McLuhan, 1999, p. 38). This is because; the media that is mostly incorporated and used in a society in most cases determines the nature of that particular society and strategies used to address issues presented. Therefore, this influences and affects the human senses, as new surrounding conditions are developed, affecting how people think, receive, and perceive information.

When explaining the interrelationship between technology and communication, McLuhan points out that a global village would be developed. This is because the new and changing media commonly referred to as the digital or electronic media helps shrink the world. The shrinking is seen in two ways: time and place, and for this reason, a global village is formed. The global village will result from the forces of new media such as teletyped communication, which he describes as information moving in ‘instantaneous rates.’ (McLuhan, 1999, p. 34). The global village will be accompanied by increased awareness of responsibility and maximized levels of anxiety. McLuhan points out that this era and changed environmental conditions create a situation in which the electronic evolution will instigate a deep sense of commitment and engagement, through which anxiety will develop. The information will be pressing to the people, and the ultimate challenge will be experienced in people’s decision-making abilities (McLuhan, 1999, p. 34).

McLuhan’s work has become a source of reference, as some of his findings and arguments have been termed as ‘prophecies. The global village that he communicated about is indeed what is taking place in our modern world. The internet has resulted in changed communication media, content, and cultural revolution have been recorded. McLuhan notes that people tend to focus on the obvious, instead of understanding the structural effects and changes that may result from a new invention. Noticing changes in society or ourselves should indicate a new message and an adverse effect on a new medium. When people identify the new medium such as the internet, in the contemporary world, having detrimental effects on our culture, we acquire an opportunity to influence its evolution, enabling internet control to neutralize the effects before they become pervasive. McLuhan’s “the medium is the message,” thus becomes integral in understanding the future of strategic communication.




McLuhan, M. (1999). The medium and the light: Reflections on religion and media. Eugene, OR: Stoddart. ISBN: 9780415027960.



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