Research is being conducted at Texas A&M on the social media trend of religious memes reports the Houston Chronicle.
Images with witty religious puns are prominent on Facebook and Twitter. Entire websites are devoted to images such as the “Jesus cat” walking on water. But the researchers believe that the language of memes is much more in-depth.
“Memes require an interesting level of intimacy. You need to understand visual images, have basic digital literacy, have a fluency in memes cultures so you understand how different memes work,” said Heidi Campbell, Texas A&M associate professor of communication.
To truly understand a religious meme, one must know if the creator was intending to approve or criticize religion. “They can be positive or critical,” Campbell said.
Though incredibly prominent today memes date back a couple decades before the dot com era. Richard Dawkins allegedly invented the term “meme” in 1976. He explained that a meme was an “idea, belief or behavior that is spread through a given culture or social system through social or information sharing.”