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Broadband to Heaven

18 Feb

Because the Swedish Lutheran church isn’t as intrusive and pompous as other churches, and tends to keep its nose out of most affairs of state, one stops noticing it very much or even taking it seriously.

But now it has brought the full attention of the country back to the fact that it is a Christian church and actually does believe in an immortal entity and his zombie demigod son and all the rest of that inane twaddle, and it wants nothing more that to have the rest of us believe it too.

And it has done this in style with a new ad campaign, visible now in Stockholm’s subways and newspapers.

WIRELESS. Prayer is free; a permanent connection; pray when, where and how you want. Free support in all parishes.

When I see this I have to sit back, take a deep breath and wonder if this can have been designed by adults – actual conscious thinking people – or by a daycare class on a bored Tuesday afternoon. Because this is just bizarre and troubling on so many levels.

The biggest mistake that Svenska Kyrkan have made here is to actual point out the inconsistencies of “prayer” by relating it to actual technology in this way. And so it starts us thinking and drawing parallels. Such as:

Is the flow of prayer constrained in some way? What medium does it use? What if too many people pray, what happens then? Does god stop listening? Is there a celestial server outage?

And do the prayers go into a cache? Is there a prayer browser? Can we save prayers on a flash-drive and retransmit them later? And what file format would they be in? .pry? Or maybe .god?

Prayer, if it needs to be repeated, does not, and never has, actually worked, beyond the personal comfort it might give to some people. It has no effect on the actual material world, as all serious studies to date have shown. You’d be better off taking a walk, or making a cup of tea, or buying a dog.

All we can conclude from this is that Christians are severely deluded individuals, people who would be considered slightly insane, or at least very unstable, if their ramblings were not classed as “religion” and were therefore exempt from any and all rules of logic and behaviour.

The upshot of all this is that because the Swedish church now has to advertise, it means that it is in trouble and can’t get new members. And this cheers me up immensely.

As I have repeated on many an occasion, I don’t have much argument with personal religion or spirituality (other than thinking that you are a bit weird). You can do whatever you want in the privacy of your own head (a courtesy that many religions do not give to us non-believers, may I add). But when you start imposing your power structures and your whiny morals on me, and start interfering with the running of the world because some magic book and/or voice in your head told you to, well, that’s where I draw the line.

So, to summarise: You have an invisible broadband connection to your god? Yes, yes, of course you do. Now just take your pills and everything will be fine.

/ paddy

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16 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2010 in Religion, Sweden

 

Tags: , , , ,

16 responses to “Broadband to Heaven

  1. melliferax

    February 18, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Eric Wadenius has posted an improved version of the ad here.

     
    • paddyK

      February 18, 2010 at 10:58 am

      Excellent.

       
  2. melliferax

    February 18, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Oh, also, I think they’ve been advertising on and off for years. I seem to recall them having ads with close-ups of the stamens and pistils of some flower, which always gave me a chuckle. Church ads with flower porn! Also there’s the yearly ads for confirmation, which for the past few years has been “Kan man tro?” (“Can one/Is it possible to believe?”). It always makes me want to launch a counter campaign saying “Kan man tänka?” (“[Ditto] think?”).

     
    • paddyK

      February 19, 2010 at 9:00 am

      Wouldn’t that be bee porn..? Although I guess the bees don’t screw the flowers, exactly… so bee fetishism maybe.

       
  3. Kaia

    February 18, 2010 at 11:09 am

    This post is brilliant.

     
    • paddyK

      February 19, 2010 at 9:01 am

      Why thank you! Praise is always welcome, as is chocolate. And potato waffles.

       
  4. Ben Warsop

    February 19, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Nice rant.

     
    • paddyK

      February 19, 2010 at 9:27 am

      Was I ranting? I thought I was being quite reasonable… See, I didn’t even swear. Not much anyway.

       
  5. Martin R

    February 19, 2010 at 9:35 am

    One insidious thing the Swedish Church does is to infiltrate the university system. Ten years after state-church separation, Swedish universities still educate priests in direct contravention to rules and agreements. But it may be that this is due to the continued presence of believers at the departments of theology, not actually to a hidden agenda on the part of the organisation.

     
  6. Bellis

    February 20, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Speaking of our old friend God again, I’d like to tell you an anecdote.

    Last year, in a bar here in Athens, I met two fairly young guys who were rather shocked that I am an atheist. So they proceeded to prove the existence of God. Their proofs were astounding:

    - one of them told me that his father, apparently a construction worker, had once lost his footing and fallen five storeys. It turns out that what hit the ground first was a ring he was wearing on a finger on his right hand, and thus he escaped unscathed.

    - there was an airplane crash, where all but four people survived.

    - the grandmother of one of the guys had once seen the devil. When the devil approached her, she did the sign of the cross. The devil disappeared.

    Thinking long and hard about these proofs of the existence of God, I finally reached the conclusion that I am still an atheist.

    Another thing. The Greek Orthodox version of Christianity asks its believers to do the sign of the cross three times when passing a church. Somewhat to my amazement, I have seen even outspoken, Greek atheists do this. And I have asked them why:

    “Come on, you’re an atheist. Why do you do that?”

    “Because it’s a church!”

    “Yeah, I know. But you’re an atheist.”

    “But it’s a church!”

    And thus the conversation continues for as long as you care to go on.

    I think I’ll have to use this broadband connection to God and ask him what’s up.

    All the best,
    Bellis

     
    • paddyK

      February 20, 2010 at 10:32 am

      Does god file-share? Because I would dearly love to see what he has stashed on his ftp server.

       
      • Bellis

        February 20, 2010 at 5:48 pm

        I don’t think God file-shares, actually, since that would be illegal on such a massive scale. I mean, what would happen if they shut his prayer broadband connection down?!

        But I know one more thing about him that those young guys told med when I asked them how come God, who is supposed to be almighty, allowed the father to fall down five storeys in the first place (that story I don’t believe at all, by the way) or the airplane crash to happen at all.

        One of them looked haughtily at me, nearly sneering, and gave me the coup de grace, the unanswerable argument:

        “Come on! God can’t do absolutely *anything*! Do you really think he could stop *a bomb from the Moon*, for example?”

        Now, honestly – I am not making any of this up. Although these guys were, as I said, fairly young, I think it goes to show how some (a small minority, to be fair) religious people think.

        All the best,
        Bellis

         
  7. OR Melling

    February 21, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Hey, I like the fancy new format. Well, I pray and I’ve no problem admitting it. I like having an invisible means of support. I also like to practise religion – any kind. If the ancient Greek temples were still going, I’d be there, especially in Eleusis. Here’s my favourite story about Niels Bohr. One of his students was surprised to see a horseshoe hung over his door for good luck. “You’re a scientist!” said the student. “Surely you don’t believe in such things!” “I don’t,” said the brilliant Niels, “but I’ve heard it works even if you don’t believe.”

     
    • paddyK

      February 21, 2010 at 8:50 pm

      Yes I am aware that you pray and I class you as one of the people with a private religion/spirituality that I don’t have any argument with, since you don’t beat the rest of us over the heads with it. I imagine that people with a private spirituality like you get just as annoyed at the loud aggressive ones who have parked a ridiculous power structure on things that matter to you.

      And about Niels Bohr, the FULL story is as follows:

      “Surely you don’t believe that horseshoe will bring you good luck, do you, Professor Bohr?”

      “I believe no such thing, my good friend. Not at all. I am scarcely likely to believe in such foolish nonsense. However, I am told that a horseshoe will bring you good luck whether you believe in it or not! How can one argue with such logic?”

      Which puts a different spin on it, I think you will agree…

       
  8. OR Melling

    February 21, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Hmm, P, where did you get that ‘full’ story from and who translated from the Danish? Wikipedia has versions of the shorter quote from several book sources.

     
    • paddyK

      February 22, 2010 at 11:20 pm

      I must admit to not remembering. I have seen both the long and short version of the quote out there. The long one is very easy to find on the web though, just search for it.

      I guess which version of the quote you use depends on what you want it to say.

       

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