The invention of the Gutenberg Printing Press was one of the most important reasons behind the adoption of the Protestant Reformation. Printing press increased literacy and made information available to ordinary people that previously would only be seen by scholars and aristocrats. It helped to spread the ideas of Luther and Calvin even after they were excommunicated. Luther quickly realized that the printing press could be used for propaganda against the church and created many popular works including his translation of the Bible. It also helped spread the reformist ideas faster across larger distances.
Similarly, the rise of the Internet helped bring information to every user regardless of their class or place of living. Similarly, it can be used to promote religious or political ideas but with a much wider reach and speed. Recent election’s controversy around fake news would not be possible without the Internet and social networks. The decline of Scientology can be attributed to people spreading leaked documents from inside the church as well as organizing protests online. While the technology allows for the more efficient spread of information, the techniques used by the Protestant Reformist movement are still used today.
Luther utilized illustrations in his version of the bible to dramatize events, and today people use infographics and videos to explain complicated ideas in a concise way. Just like the printing press, the Internet is only a tool and can be responsible for both negative and positive outcomes. The rise of ISIS could be attributed to their effective use of Internet channels of communication. Propaganda videos, message boards, and chat services were used to recruit people and exchange information over great distances. North Korea uses internet videos and news sites as means of propaganda against the United States. Every year, the media becomes more important as a tool to spread ideas.