Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Salvation by Spam

I saw the picture below on a social network site and then thought of something I wrote a couple of years ago somewhere else. Since the two compliment each other so well, I thought I'd post them here together.

Email this to 15 people and God will love you more.
Email has become the next bondage to works-religion. Almost daily I get (Christian) emails telling me to forward this to people and I will be blessed. Here’s an example:

Pass this message to 15 people except you and me.
Don't ignore and God will bless you.
So if I do not send irritating time consuming emails to other people God will not bless me? In other words, I have to work (send emails) in order to gain God’s favour?
Christianity is unique among the great religions because it is centred upon the idea that salvation (i.e. God’s favour) is not because something we do, but due to something God has done. The greatest struggle for many Christians is to accept God’s love and saving provision. Not to try and save ourselves, but accept God’s salvation on our part.
These chain-letters also usually make emotional manipulative appeals to make you feel guilty. For instance in the letter already quoted, the author pretends to pray for me. Included in that prayer is this sneaky manipulative sentence:

I pray for those who don't know You intimately. I pray for those that will delete this without sharing it with others. I pray for those that don't believe.
By proximity of the sentences I am to deduce that if I “delete [the email] without sharing it with others” then I do not know God intimately and do not believe. Apparently ones relationship with God depends on whether or not you “share” these irritating emails with other people. So the more you spam other people’s mailboxes, the closer you are to God?!
Call me paranoid, but I think that these emails are a ploy of Satan to get Christians to doubt in the faithfulness of God. Getting us to doubt in God’s complete salvation. Getting us to subtly try and contribute to our salvation – thereby insulting our Lord and Saviour by insinuating that His saving sacrifice was insufficient.
To become perfect I still need to send this to 15 more people.

The text focussed on religious emails that do the guild-tripping trick, but they are not the only ones to do so. Many other emails and social network posts use emotional appeals to make you feel guilty less you also copy-and-paste the emotionally charged request. Chain letters showing dying babies and telling you that for every email sent a few cents will be donated to the suffering child are equally manipulative and utterly bogus. Emails are not "tracked" in this way, and if they were it would be an illegal infringement of your privacy. No money will be paid to the dying baby through your email forwards.

As the picture above says, if you want to make a difference, make a tangible one. Go volunteer. Send actual money to an actual charity.

Do not forward me your guild-tripping devil-spawned messages! I just delete them and do not feel guilty for doing so at all. In fact, I sometimes even take the time to "Reply to All" in which I tell you and the other friends you sent your stupid email to, just how silly you must be for believing in such nonsense.

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