Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The internet is for... hope? Not so much.

Although my computer still isn't completely recovered from its crash, I felt that I needed to post this.

Recently I received an email from a colleague who works for the Southern Baptist Convention. In her signature at the bottom of the email was a link to a webpage called Here's Hope, and I was curious enough to follow it. Big mistake. I laughed until I cried, and then I got a little mad.

It's a flash movie about indoctrination. Or perhaps I should say it's an attempt at indoctrination via flash movie. It begins with scary red-fonted words ("Depression! Anxiety! Fear! Despair!"), then shifts to black for the question "Is there any HOPE?" Ironically, 'hope' is done in rainbow colors. Unsuspecting LGBT advocates might for a moment think that they'd found a support site, but alas! it is not to be.

The cheap-looking flash movie opens, and after a lot of propaganda and a little scripture, the person is asked if they want to pray to ask Christ to be their savior. They are then reassured that they are now a 'saved' Christian, and are asked for personal information over an unsecured web page (presumably to contact a church in their area).

If a person 'commits' to God after using this page, they will have seen a grand total of six verses of scripture in their life. That's less than 200 words. They will have no idea of who Jesus actually is, outside of the site's assertion that he is the Son of God. They will have no idea why they are suddenly supposed to feel peace and find freedom from their cares. The site implies that Jesus is a magic fix for broken families, diseases, and (oddly) the War on Drugs, but doesn't really give the viewer information about why.

This is precisely the sort of site that I was thinking about when I named this blog. It's Christianity given in tiny chunks, like baby food but in smaller portions. If I had set out to deliberately design a website illustrating the sort of 'fast-food conversion' mentality that I posted about in Killing the Buddha, I could not have done a more thorough job. The fact that people who work for the Convention would recommend such a site (and this woman is the adult ministry Department Director for a state convention. One would think she'd know better) is sickening to me.