After having directed all of my brain energy into my end-of-term papers, I feel like I should have something to say about something here, but I seem to have lost track of all those random things I said I would write about, at some abstract future point and never bothered noting.
First of all, though, general thanks to the Creative Revolution types for the existence of the Canadian F-Word blog awards, and particular thanks to Mr. matttbastard for nominating me even if I never say much at all, let alone anything of relevance. There be lots of good readings over there, anyway.
The one thing I do recall from the list of thoughts I couldn’t get around to blogging was this YouTube clip from the apologetics organization “Answers in Genesis” that, although a couple of years old, was actually new to me. That thing seriously freaked me out – it’s just incredibly jarring and cold, which I assume is pretty much the point. And really, of all the possible things wrong with it, I honestly think that’s the biggest one. It’s trying to advocate for Christianity by instilling fear in them, which is nothing new, but instead of the old kind of wrath-of-God fear, what we have here plays on something a lot of people fear very genuinely – isolation, abandonment, their own unworthiness and irrelevance to others.
Obviously, I think that is absolutely the opposite of the point of the gospel, which is that you matter to God, whether you think you do or not – and if you’re not so comfortable believing in God, I frankly don’t see much wrong with an evangelical Christian message that’s based primarily on ‘you matter’. Not “you will matter if you meet the following criteria, make the following promises and accept the following beliefs”. Not “we will accept your unacceptable self if you change in certain prescribed ways and appreciate that we will be policing your meeting of said conditions near constantly”.
This is, as usual, not rocket science. There is no ‘if’ here, and I absolutely cannot imagine anyone responding to this ad with the sincere desire to walk into a church and expect to find a place where they would be welcomed and embraced. While I’m not sure I fully believe the saying that ‘where there is faith, there is no fear’, I would certainly figure that any kind of ‘faith’ growing out of this particular brand of fear would be brittle, defensive and incredibly strained. I think there are a lot of reasons to find this ad offensive (and believe me, I do), but I can’t help but also notice that it’s likely to be extraordinarily ineffective, and that actually makes me sad.