It makes it like God doesn't exist!
July 8, 2010 8:25 PM   Subscribe

GodBlock is a web filter that blocks religious content. It is targeted at parents and schools who wish to protect their kids from the often violent, sexual, and psychologically harmful material in many holy texts, and from being indoctrinated into any religion before they are of the age to make such decisions. When installed properly, GodBlock will test each page that your child visits before it is loaded, looking for passages from holy texts, names of religious figures, and other signs of religious propaganda. If none are found, then your child is allowed to browse freely.
posted by Obscure Reference (128 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ah these filters never work. Sure they might block most of the sites but you can never stop them all. You might think your kid is innocently surfing porn but you'd be surprised how quickly a 12-year old can bypass such filters, and before you know it they're all 'Jesus this, Jesus that, WWJD'...

Also there is the problem of false positives, it might even block some humanist sites by mistake!

The only real way to protect your children from religion is to supervise them properly, and teach them science.
posted by joz at 8:31 PM on July 8, 2010 [78 favorites]


This will stimulate a thoughtful and nuanced debate.
posted by exlotuseater at 8:32 PM on July 8, 2010 [24 favorites]


A filter that blocks religious content! It's about time, thank Go.................*NO CARRIER*..............
posted by schmod at 8:32 PM on July 8, 2010 [12 favorites]


My eight year old has been hiding Deist treatises under his bed. It's a slippery slope.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:35 PM on July 8, 2010 [47 favorites]


Would this block MetaFilter?
"Laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." Ephesians 4:25-27
What about now?
posted by doublehappy at 8:35 PM on July 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm offended.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:36 PM on July 8, 2010


My eight year old has been hiding Deist treatises under his bed. It's a slippery slope.

Inside every deist is a pentacostal waiting to put on the ankle length denim dress.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:39 PM on July 8, 2010 [21 favorites]


please tell me this is real because it would be all sorts of awesome.
posted by liza at 8:39 PM on July 8, 2010


Jesus wept.
posted by longsleeves at 8:40 PM on July 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


...When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of [CENSORED]
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:41 PM on July 8, 2010


Atheism. I guess we have to Deal With It.
posted by Electrius at 8:42 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe worthwhile as art, but as anything practical this screams "doing it wrong" almost as much as regular internet filters. True, honest godlessness doesn't need filters. Only contrarian atheism, uncritical religion, and other sorts of undeveloped and insecure thought do.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 8:43 PM on July 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


All this will do is encourage furtive prayer at public library terminals.
posted by felix betachat at 8:46 PM on July 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Non-godblock.
posted by No-sword at 8:48 PM on July 8, 2010


I am worried that blocking keywords for violent religious content might prevent children from learning about "getting stoned".
posted by Several Unnamed Sources at 8:48 PM on July 8, 2010 [14 favorites]


oh god oh god oh god
posted by bottlebrushtree at 8:49 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


When will we stop oppressing Christians by not paying attention to them? When?
posted by Aquaman at 8:50 PM on July 8, 2010 [11 favorites]


Ha ha!

I like how the rationale is all about protecting kids from indoctrination and then the page ends with this.
posted by mazola at 8:56 PM on July 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Now I just have to make sure my kids entire life-experience is delivered through the web and I'm set.
posted by mazola at 8:58 PM on July 8, 2010


People on the right aren't usually capable of making a parody this dry, but if it's for real (from the left) why does the logo look like a hammer-and-sickle?
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:06 PM on July 8, 2010


On my scale of stupid internet discourse, this page is right there with birthers.org
posted by falameufilho at 9:14 PM on July 8, 2010


Maybe one reasonable test for a web filter is "would it make sense to extend this filtration to the outside world?"

I know some people think a filter that blocks porn is a bad idea, for a variety of reasons. Fine. But it makes sense, as does removing children's access to, say, Playboy.

Blocking religious content? I fear for the intellectual development of a child raised in a household where this is extended to other things.

No holy texts, no Augustine, Aquinas, Leibniz, Dostoevsky, etc. etc.
posted by resiny at 9:17 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The trouble is that we were made in the image of god.

And if my childhood is any indication, kids will always find ways around the block just so they can sit there secretly basking in the soft blue glow of the computer screen, studying every minor detail and performing worshipful devotion to 'the image of god' into the wee small sweaty hours of the morning.
posted by koeselitz at 9:18 PM on July 8, 2010


I was hoping for something better than "Neener, neener, neener."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:19 PM on July 8, 2010


******, what an asshole.
posted by phaedon at 9:19 PM on July 8, 2010 [15 favorites]


I installed GodBlock and SatanBlock at the same time and now I can't see any Internet.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:19 PM on July 8, 2010 [22 favorites]


I installed GodBlock and SatanBlock at the same time and now I can't see any Internet.

Zoroaster, please hope me!
posted by vorfeed at 9:24 PM on July 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hey, if it blocks Kanye...
posted by mkb at 9:26 PM on July 8, 2010


I'm going to wait for GodBlock Plus - then I can install the Evangelist Hiding Helper plug-in to go with it.
posted by Pinback at 9:28 PM on July 8, 2010


Won't this also block Dawkins et al since they're always going on about the lack of God/Jesus/SkyDude?

"Imagine no religion... no atheism too..." -John Lennon
posted by naju at 9:34 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


White list.
posted by ryanrs at 9:40 PM on July 8, 2010


Many filters block "occult" content.

One person's occult is another person's religion.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:48 PM on July 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I installed it and the entire state of Texas disappeared (except Austin).
posted by inturnaround at 9:51 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


As an atheist, I would definitely allow my kids to read religious material, as long as it was the source texts rather than secondary (well, some philosophy is good, too...). I think Jesus' teachings as presented in the Bible present a compelling critique of contemporary Christianity. And nobody remotely rational can read the Old Testament and conclude that god is good.

Extremism is best fought with knowledge, not censorship.
posted by mek at 9:53 PM on July 8, 2010 [17 favorites]


It doesn't work. I blasphemed against God while wearing it, and still got smitten by lightning.
posted by qvantamon at 9:54 PM on July 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fake: fail.
posted by unliteral at 9:58 PM on July 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


> I installed it and the entire state of Texas disappeared (except Austin).

This is really stupid. Do you think there aren't any churches in Austin?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:01 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I suspect that very few adults have taken up or cast aside a religion based upon what they have read on the Internet. For children or teenagers, who naturally tend to less sober pursuits on and offline I suspect that number would be far smaller. No, if a child is to be indoctrinated it will be through direct, face-to-face contact, disguised as fun and games (with snacks to appeal to their tastes.

Vacation Bible Schools are the obvious examples, but as the nature of these tent revivals for kids generally isn't disguised (and most organized VBSes will require some form of explicit permission from the parents), a conscientious parent need not worry about them. Parents should worry instead about back-door indoctrination, in the form of vague sleepovers, and camping trips where everyone sits around the fire and sings (to name one example from my childhood) Oh, How I Love Jesus. Even if it stops there, even if the adults have better sense than to attempt stealth conversions ("do you have Jesus in your heart?"), the song and environment plant seeds and till the soil; the rain will come in due time.

Even adults are inexorably shaped by their environment given sufficient time, but for children a religious environment is far more toxic, and the damage far more immediate, because they crave the community and greater social acceptance that conversion (conformance) offers. A child may profess honest belief in Christ, but at the same time be blind to those underlying social manipulations

The way to keep a child safe from religious indoctrination is the same way to keep them safe from manipulative pedophiles, or another other form of manipulation: know them, know their friends, and provide them with ample opportunities to interact and form friendships with others in non-religious contexts.
posted by The Confessor at 10:03 PM on July 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Seems like this could accidentally block some totally innocent horror movie sites.
posted by brundlefly at 10:11 PM on July 8, 2010


Yeah, how will children ever learn about how awful that remake of The Omen was with this installed? How many children have to learn about how horrible the Omen remake was before we acknowledge that open, honest communication is the only reasonable way for children to learn?!
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:16 PM on July 8, 2010


i tried to access this but IDIOTBLOCK wouldn't let me
posted by pyramid termite at 10:17 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nevermind the internet--that filth is all over television and billboards. And don't even get me started on those Modest Swimsuit catalogues that come in the mail.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:26 PM on July 8, 2010


This will quite disruptive if any of your friends in Central or South America are named Jesus.
posted by bwg at 10:34 PM on July 8, 2010


So when my wife talks about death with the kids, she talks about the place that person's (or dog's) soul will end up. If I'm around, I just listen.

And when I talk about death with the kids, I talk about mourning and the grieving process, and how the person who has passed isn't suffering any more and how that's a good thing. If my wife is around, she just listens.

Then when the kids ask which is true, that death is an end to life and suffering, and that's it, or that death is your soul's ascension to a higher place, we both say the same thing: nobody really knows for sure, and it may not be either of those. Lots of people believe different things, and lots of people are certain of different things, but the truth is we simply don't know, and we never will.

I think that'll take care of it nicely. Has so far.

we also make them say "jeezy creezy" instead of "jesus christ" so they won't accidentally offend
posted by davejay at 10:45 PM on July 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


In all seriousness I've often thought that my karmic punishment as a parent will be that my son turns out to be a racist/homophobic/bible basher. He learned early on that an easy way to wind me up was to idly tell me he really enjoyed the religious bits in school assemblies.

It took me about a year to wise up enough to quietly freak out on my own time and not waste his. Much as I'd love to not have him exposed to that stuff it remains a fact of life in this country and he needs to be able to discuss it sensibly with someone.

His dad, preferably.
posted by shinybaum at 10:49 PM on July 8, 2010


(see unliteral's post)
posted by DZack at 10:49 PM on July 8, 2010


Yeah, I was getting sick of a third of all music, half of literature, and everything from my art history textbook.
posted by klangklangston at 11:05 PM on July 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Free thought.
posted by Pants McCracky at 11:22 PM on July 8, 2010


LOLBRIGHTS
posted by Burhanistan at 11:41 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cant you just follow the time honored tradition that has worked for generations?! Forcefeed your children religious dogma and demand blind obedience and they'll be Wiccan and then atheist before college!
posted by greekphilosophy at 11:47 PM on July 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


we also make them say "jeezy creezy" instead of "jesus christ" so they won't accidentally offend

That is going to backfire the first time they accept an invitation to visit a friend's church and sing out the classic hymns "Jeezy Creezy is Risen Today" and "We Worship You, Creezy Jeezy, King of the Nations."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:51 PM on July 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


Or as repeated hilariously by the toddlers at a picnic one of my mates went to where he got hit in the nuts with a frisbee—"Cheeses Crisis! Cheeses Crisis!"
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:54 PM on July 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


But how will our children learn about who will be eaten first?

And by Crom, Crom will not be censored by an internet filter!
posted by slimepuppy at 12:00 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fake: fail.

Thanks for that link. I thought it was a fairly obvious parody, even without the link. I don't think it's a fail either. It's maybe not the funniest or most acute satire ever, but its point seemed pretty clear: it's anti-censorship. A number of posters upthread have picked up that GodBlock would also block access to a large amount of literature and music. That's exactly what happens with the filters we have now, that block legitimate political or artistic works, in the guise of blocking porn.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:02 AM on July 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


That is going to backfire the first time they accept an invitation to visit a friend's church and sing out the classic hymns "Jeezy Creezy is Risen Today"

Can anyone else hear this in their heads? Because it's totally running through mine now.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:07 AM on July 9, 2010


Your request to access "http://www.godblock.com/" has been blocked by the Web Gateway URL Filter Database.
posted by Phanx at 1:09 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"and from being indoctrinated into any religion before they are of the age to make such decisions."

Those that would install this have already indoctrinated their children anyway because it is they who have the most to fear.

Images of a parade involving Christian kids = good, wholesome.
Image of kids from any other religion doing the same?

Wouldn't stats from that be good though?
posted by markx2 at 2:08 AM on July 9, 2010


It may be a subtle satire, but if you allow time to reflect on GodBlock for a moment, you may begin to suss out its delicate charms.
posted by belvidere at 3:43 AM on July 9, 2010


And.. where can I get the doorbell equivalent that stops Jehovah's Witnesses trying to convert me?
posted by MuffinMan at 3:59 AM on July 9, 2010


From uniliteral's link:
I am trying to raise money to get the boxes printed (around $3k), and then make a video of myself pitching it to Walmart (around $3k with the Walmart application process). After that, I will drive across the Bible Belt and just put copies of GodBlock into Walmart stores (around $2k). The video will be called "GodBlockers - on the road to end superstition", or hopefully something less cheesy than that.
Wow. I think that crosses a line from satire into something else entirely... something along the lines of wearing a "please kick the shit out of me" sign.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:04 AM on July 9, 2010


"Even if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him."
posted by Eideteker at 4:41 AM on July 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


"And.. where can I get the doorbell equivalent that stops Jehovah's Witnesses trying to convert me?"

Is this something I'd need a doorbell to understand?
posted by Eideteker at 4:44 AM on July 9, 2010


we both say the same thing: nobody really knows for sure, and it may not be either of those. Lots of people believe different things, and lots of people are certain of different things, but the truth is we simply don't know, and we never will.

But we do know that there is no evidence for anything other than "nothing". And it is false to say we never will know. If it isn't supernatural, it is not something that is in principle unknowable.
posted by DU at 4:47 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why on earth does this guy have his downloads behind some stupid javascript
posted by MrLint at 4:52 AM on July 9, 2010


This comes too late for me; my 17 year old is dating a born-again Christian. The thing they fight about most is he wants to remain a virgin until his wedding day, she places no importance on virginity. Oy. You raise your child to be a godless heathen and the first thing she does is falls in love with a christer.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:58 AM on July 9, 2010 [12 favorites]


DU, there is no evidence for or against anything other than nothing. Additionally, it's true that we will never know if there is a supernatural component to existence beyond death - by definition, science can't comment.
posted by Dysk at 5:10 AM on July 9, 2010


"Nothing" is the default hypothesis.
posted by DU at 5:11 AM on July 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is bad though, because there is a void in all computers' memory that need to be filled. Some computers fill it with Firefox extensions, others with games, and some with pornographic videos. The only ones that are truly satisfied fill it with Jesus.

This extension will keep that void constantly improperly filled. As an A+ Certified technician, this worries me.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:19 AM on July 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


"If it isn't supernatural, it is not something that is in principle unknowable."

oh hai godel
posted by Eideteker at 5:34 AM on July 9, 2010


Godel is an interesting point. I guess I'll provisionally modify that to "If it isn't supernatural, then it is probably not in principle unknowable".

However, it's not clear to me that finding out stuff about the natural world is the same as mathematics wrt Godel. Even assuming you think mathematics is part of "the natural world" (which I go back and forth on), most of nature (even most of math) doesn't have the self-referential issues that made Godel's proof possible. Not that Godel necessarily applies only to self-referential systems.
posted by DU at 5:41 AM on July 9, 2010


"... no atheism too..." -John Lennon

Likely you're just being facetious, but you really shouldn't put quotes around something that's not a verbatim quote.
posted by aught at 5:50 AM on July 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


we also make them say "jeezy creezy" instead of "jesus christ" so they won't accidentally offend

There were ladies in my parents' church when I was a kid who'd still have been upset, I'm afraid.
posted by aught at 5:53 AM on July 9, 2010


Even if this did exist, it would really just be reverse psychology. If you want to raise your kid to be a religious mental case, just try telling them that religion is bad. It'll work out beautifully.

(Honestly - have you ever met children? Tell them they can't have cheese and OMIG-D THEY WILL DIE IF THEY DON'T GET THAT CHEESE.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:01 AM on July 9, 2010


I can't imagine wanting your children to be that ignorant.

Way to actually emulate the morons on the Christian right.
posted by Miko at 6:11 AM on July 9, 2010


This is parody, and it's damn good parody too.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:23 AM on July 9, 2010


"These people annoy me... so I'm going to annoy them back!" I really wish religious and political discourse in this country could get beyond 5th grade.
posted by desjardins at 7:01 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Inside every deist is a pentacostal waiting to put on the ankle length denim dress.

Care to explain this? It certainly doesn't mesh with my understanding of deism.
posted by malocchio at 7:11 AM on July 9, 2010


the best cure for christianity is to let your kid go to church with the evangelicals who have targeted him, and then let him become what in our family is generously known as an asshole for jesus. the earlier they get it over with, the better. time will tell if this vaccinates against the onset, at 55, of just-in-case for jesus.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 7:15 AM on July 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Be honest: how many of you at first parsed this as CockBlock?
posted by bwg at 7:16 AM on July 9, 2010


OMG
posted by Kabanos at 7:19 AM on July 9, 2010


Jesus is more like chickenpox. You can get him when you're young, think you got over it, then you get much older and whammo, He's back, only this time they call it "shingles" and it's a lot more painful.
posted by adipocere at 7:34 AM on July 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is parody, and it's damn good parody too.

What makes you say that? I think it's a snarky, rather dramatic and juvenile statement piece, but it's not really parody - in that it's not mocking an idea while draped in its own trappings. I think it is what it looks like - the work of an atheism enthusiast trying to make a point in a way (s)he finds funny.

The inadvertent admission that he's threatened by religious information and doesn't think people should be exposed to material that is essential to understanding American and world history and literature is what's really funny.

If it's parody, it's not well executed parody in that it doesn't know its audience. If it is, I wish they'd gone farther. It could be so much more delicious. I mean, you could make it look like it originated from a government agency. If it's parody originating from a Christian perspective, it doesn't go far enough in that direction, either.
posted by Miko at 7:45 AM on July 9, 2010


See, I don't mind kids finding out about Jesus on the internet, if they're really interested, but what I would like to stop is the Gideon bible society new testament give away in schools, the nuisance who slips bible pamphlets into the kids books at the library and the woman who gives out kid friendly game cards in the playground telling eight year olds that Jesus is the answer to your sins.

I mean, jeeze people, I don't come into your public places of recreation and education and tell your children they're bad. Remembering the guilty paranoia of my own childhood, the last thing I think they need is an adult telling them they're naughty and going to be punished.
posted by Phalene at 7:47 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know what annoys me? Not religion, but religious proselytizing. Also, atheist proselytizing. If this thread had stopped after joz's excellent 1st comment, it would have been perfect, a shining gem, a beacon, or something.
posted by theora55 at 7:50 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cease and Deist.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:56 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a satirical parody which is targeted at people who want to protect their children from dangerous secular ideas, and who censor what their children have access to accordingly. Such people will be appalled by the site, and will argue that children shouldn't be prevented from learning, and will then realise (or more likely, not realise) that they are guilty of the same thing. I think that's what the twitter feed is aimed at, although it's now largely been taken over by atheists.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:57 AM on July 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I take The Watchtower, but only for the pictures.
posted by ob at 8:01 AM on July 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


That sounds like jozelytizing to me, theora.

DU, It's more a case of relevance. Since we cannot know what occurs after death, since there is nothing provable, how can we judge our actions based on that? Well, we can't. Better to base one's philosophy on the measurable effects of our actions here in life and hope for the best after death (or don't; whatever you believe IT DOESN'T MATTER, which is precisely my point, o ho ho!).

It's like what some scientists think happens when you enter a black hole... the information is destroyed. Or what happened at the big bang... no information could pass from the previous state to the current one. It's not only unknown but unknowable. And therefore, according to SCIENCE!, unaffectable. Literally, nothing you do will have an impact.

But chasing Gödel's tail, man, that's a baaad road to go down. I give him a wide berth.
posted by Eideteker at 8:03 AM on July 9, 2010


Yeah, obviously a joke.

I suspect that very few adults have taken up or cast aside a religion based upon what they have read on the Internet.

You are wrong. I'm pretty active in the online formerly Orthodox Jewish blogs, and lots and lots of people have cast aside that religion based on what they read online.

The truth is, the more fundamentalist religions just can't stand up to the openness of the internet. If you're remotely fair-minded when you come across the arguments that your parents and communities hid from you your whole childhood, you're not going to last long. I've seen it over and over again.

Religious people aren't just being paranoid when they filter the internet (and reality) for their children. Those things represent a real threat to their beliefs.
posted by callmejay at 8:08 AM on July 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


> Religious people aren't just being paranoid when they filter the internet (and reality) for their children. Those things represent a real threat to their beliefs.

Come off it. Some people just don't want their kids looking at videos of people having sex with dogs or whatever.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:12 AM on July 9, 2010


I don't think it's a fail either. It's maybe not the funniest or most acute satire ever, but its point seemed pretty clear:

I thought the "fail" was targeted at Metafilter, since some commenters seemed to earnestly fall for it.

I can never quit remember the wording of this internet law - something along the lines of "well-executed snark can be indistinguishable from actual trolling." I like to call it the Jon Swift principle.
posted by muddgirl at 8:19 AM on July 9, 2010


It's usually cited as Poe's Law.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:26 AM on July 9, 2010


Wow. I think that crosses a line from satire into something else entirely... something along the lines of wearing a "please kick the shit out of me" sign.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:04 AM


I suppose then s/he could sue them. Like a reverse Fred Phelps.
posted by blue funk at 8:27 AM on July 9, 2010


It's a satirical parody which is targeted at people who want to protect their children from dangerous secular ideas, and who censor what their children have access to accordingly. Such people will be appalled by the site, and will argue that children shouldn't be prevented from learning, and will then realise (or more likely, not realise) that they are guilty of the same thing.

Maybe. I'd like it if I thought that were the case. Parody, of course, is a joke shared between the writer and the people who already agree with the writer, both laughing at the target of the joke. In this case the target would be knee-jerk atheist fundamentalists. If this posited point is really the writer's point, then I completely agree.

its point seemed pretty clear:


It's been ambiguous enough to confuse MetaFilter - so if it's parody, I still say it's not all that successful. Or hell, maybe it is super successful, in that knee-jerk athiest fundamentalists seem to be eating it up, according to the message boards.

So maybe it's brilliant - so brilliant that almost no one gets it!
posted by Miko at 8:39 AM on July 9, 2010


Wow, a GodBlock? Is that like an immovable object, or a talisman-type dealie, like kryptonite? Or like a cockblock, where Zeus interposes himself during courtship of the town's best-looking heifer?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:52 AM on July 9, 2010


Yes, for the record, if anyone sincerely wants this product then... I disapprove of your child-rearing strategy! That's right, I went there.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:56 AM on July 9, 2010


the more fundamentalist religions just can't stand up to the openness of the internet.

But if this were true, the Internet wouldn't have become one of the most powerful tools for recruiting and indoctrinating people into new sects or religions and for organizing religious communities and missionary efforts and communicating within them. (links don't necessarily match the words, they're just all about uses of the internet for religious purposes). The Pew study CyberFaith: How Americans Pursue Religion Online gives a lot of information about what people are doing: the table on this page shows that most 'religion surfers' are seeking ways to deepen their connection with their religion, not depart from it.

If you hang out on religious discussion forums, it might look like people are abandoning their religion because of what they read. In fact, it's more likely that they're attracted to these forums in the first place because they already have an openness to debate about belief and are looking for a range of opinion. That seeking can obviously begin an amplifying cycle - the more you hear and agree with, the further you move away from your earlier beliefs,and the more of that type of discussion you engage in, which moves you even further from your earlier beliefs, etc.

Just observing the more religious people in my own life, they aren't finding that the internet takes them away from their belief system - they are using the internet to pursue their belief system, from setting up prayer chains to trading links to looking up devotional readings and prayers to engaging in discussions about faith. Whether on Facebook, despite its openness to random views from everyone you know, or on their own church or spiritual community websites, I see people every day using the internet to deepen their practice. From the Pew study:
For comparisn’s sake, it is interesting to note that more people have gotten religious or spiritual information online than have gambled online, used Web auction sites, traded stocks online, placed phone calls on the Internet, done online banking, or used Internet-based dating services.
posted by Miko at 8:58 AM on July 9, 2010


Burhanistan: Come off it. Some people just don't want their kids looking at videos of people having sex with dogs or whatever.

I didn't say that's the *only* reason people filter their kids' reality/internet, just one of them. If there are a ton of religious people out there who filter sex but not blasphemy, I'm unaware of them.
posted by callmejay at 8:59 AM on July 9, 2010


I thought the "fail" was targeted at Metafilter, since some commenters seemed to earnestly fall for it.

Oh yes, you're probably right there. In my defence, it was early when I posted that, and my coffee hadn't kicked in yet.
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:30 AM on July 9, 2010


The number of people who are in all honesty not getting the joke is kind of staggering.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:41 AM on July 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the really staggering part is that we don't all agree on who's not getting the joke.
posted by Miko at 9:54 AM on July 9, 2010


"You are wrong. I'm pretty active in the online formerly Orthodox Jewish blogs, and lots and lots of people have cast aside that religion based on what they read online."

Selection bias.

"If there are a ton of religious people out there who filter sex but not blasphemy, I'm unaware of them."

Argument from ignorance.
posted by klangklangston at 10:03 AM on July 9, 2010


Did you just discover your first logical fallacies list?

Selection bias.

I didn't say a majority of people cast aside their religion, just that many do. Saying that I've seen many do it is not then selection bias.

Argument from ignorance.

What's the argument?
posted by callmejay at 10:07 AM on July 9, 2010


I didn't say a majority of people cast aside their religion, just that many do. Saying that I've seen many do it is not then selection bias.

Saying that you've seen many do it on a forum for formerly Orthodox people is the selection bias. Your pool of informants already excludes the devout, unquestioning faithful.
posted by Miko at 10:10 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Did you just discover your first logical fallacies list?"

No, but I figured you'd want to keep up with your bingo card.

Miko hit the first, eloquently.

"What's the argument?"

That religious people don't filter out sex and not blasphemy, based on your ignorance of people doing so. Given that there are quite a few more people concerned about sexual immorality than blasphemy (umbrage at which is almost quaint), that the majority of Americans consider themselves religious, and that filters that purport to remove the sexually explicit are far more common than those that remove blasphemy, it's a argument from ignorance that to hold because you haven't seen them, they don't exist.

Fundamentally, your two statements are both predicated upon observer error.
posted by klangklangston at 10:22 AM on July 9, 2010


The interesting thing about the formerly orthodox and the Internet is that religion is, to a significant extent, about community. Not so long ago, someone leaving their religion, a major upheaval in itself, would also be leaving their friends and family and be isolated. The Internet allows these people to find each other and create new communities.
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:28 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not so long ago, someone leaving their religion, a major upheaval in itself, would also be leaving their friends and family and be isolated.

Especially when official policy is family shunning. The ex-JW forums used to be really helpful, I dunno how active they are these days. One of the most unfun parts were the people who left only to become born again evangelical christians, then tried to save everyone else. Oh and the current-JWs who were simply outraged at all the 'lies'.

I'd be more likely to find a place for jesus in my heart than to read ex-religious forums now, but there's definitely a relief to finding other people who know what you're talking about wrt specific policies.
posted by shinybaum at 10:37 AM on July 9, 2010


Total Backfire - This will practically guarantee that your child grows up to be a fundamentalist.
posted by LakesideOrion at 10:48 AM on July 9, 2010


I wasn't clear. I'm not talking about an ex-Orthodox forum, but a bunch of blogs that range from wholly religious to wholly atheist. I've seen people start out arguing with the ex-Orthodox that Orthodoxy is true and then gradually coming to the conclusion that the ex-Orthodox are right after all. That's all I'm saying.

klangklangston, the only thing I'm trying to argue is that there are a lot of religious people who read stuff on the internet and then as a result of that, stop being religious. My evidence is that I've seen it happen a lot of times. I'm not arguing that every religious person who encounters the internet will lose their faith.

As for the sex vs. blasphemy thing, I have no idea what proportion of religious people who filter their kids' net access are concerned only about sex and not about their kids being exposed to opposing viewpoints. So I'm admitting ignorance there, not arguing from it.

I know that there are a lot of religious people who specifically shelter their children from other viewpoints in order to ensure that their kids stay religious. I know that because I grew up with it. I'm not trying to argue that they represent a majority of filterers or anything like that. I'm just saying that they exist, and they are many, and that they aren't being paranoid. The (unfiltered) internet represents a genuine threat to their kids' faith.

You're being fighty and nitpicky as if I'm presenting my anecdotal evidence as a grand theory that follows inexorably from some first principles. I am not.
posted by callmejay at 11:01 AM on July 9, 2010


The interesting thing about the formerly orthodox and the Internet is that religion is, to a significant extent, about community. Not so long ago, someone leaving their religion, a major upheaval in itself, would also be leaving their friends and family and be isolated. The Internet allows these people to find each other and create new communities.

This is true to an extent, although the communities seem to be temporary and virtual. In the end, most of us go on to create our own little communities of friends that don't begin to compare to the Community that we left. The online communities are invaluable for moral support through what are often very difficult times.
posted by callmejay at 11:03 AM on July 9, 2010


I wish they had a Facebook app that would block people's "Jesus died for you"/"God ...blah blah blah" posts.
posted by daHIFI at 11:20 AM on July 9, 2010


klangklangston, the only thing I'm trying to argue is that there are a lot of religious people who read stuff on the internet and then as a result of that, stop being religious.

There are a lot of religious people who live life and have experiences and then as a result of that, stop being religious.

There are a lot of non-religious people who live life and have experiences and then as a result of that, start being religious. Or more religious.

I'm not sure the internet either increases or decreases religious belief. I would say that in the Western world, the period at which public life was the most secular was probably the 1950s-1960s, and that we are living in a period now that's akin to the nineteenth century religious revival era. If the internet acts to reduce religious belief, that doesn't square with this recent rebirth of religion in public life at the same time as the internet has come into existence and greatly expanded in terms of access.
posted by Miko at 11:34 AM on July 9, 2010


This is really stupid. Do you think there aren't any churches in Austin?

Of course there are. And since it's the state capital, there's a lot of conservative politicians....but what I was doing was something called "exaggerating for comic effect".
posted by inturnaround at 12:26 PM on July 9, 2010


I was doing was something called "exaggerating for comic effect".

In future, you may want to consider the indisputable fact that all Texans are ridiculously oversensitive.

*ducks*
posted by Sys Rq at 12:39 PM on July 9, 2010


> .but what I was doing was something called "exaggerating for comic effect".

But there was no comedy there!
posted by Burhanistan at 12:42 PM on July 9, 2010


"It makes it like God doesn't exist!"

But God doesn't exist.
posted by Eideteker at 1:25 PM on July 9, 2010


Italicizing something doesn't mean you have any answers about the nature of existence.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:29 PM on July 9, 2010


Everyone's talking about what God does to children, but look what happens to computers.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:54 PM on July 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd say the internet makes people more confident about their religious stance and gets them to come out about it. Atheists are now standing up for themselves, because they know they aren't alone. And evangelicals are seeing that they're not so rare online as well. This makes them more willing to inject their opinion into the public sphere, while in an earlier time, they'd probably be more embarrassed.

I think that if anything, the internet's caused a lot of religious people who have doubts to become agnostic or atheists, because they can now see online that they're not alone in having those doubts, or that life is so empty without God. For people who don't like to question their faith, there's also a near-infinite amount of arguments that can be found online for any flavor of religion.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:02 PM on July 9, 2010


Everyone's talking about what God does to children

"Human beings have neither the aural nor the psychological capacity to withstand the awesome power of God's true voice. Were you to hear it, your mind would cave in and your heart would explode within your chest. We went through five Adams before we figured that one out. "
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:11 PM on July 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a good thing that this is a fake. There are some important educational resources that could be blocked by a filter like this.
posted by homunculus at 2:36 PM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who are you quoting, Pope Guilty?
posted by Fraxas at 3:39 PM on July 9, 2010


here you go
posted by Sys Rq at 3:45 PM on July 9, 2010


The trouble is that we were made in the image of god.

Well, Adam was made in the image of God. Out of dirt. Then there was some weird genetic experimentation, and Adam had sex with his female clone. And then their kid had sex with his mother. You wonder why one of them murdered the other, what with us all being outcast, in-bred, Frankenstein's-monster, dirt mutants with so much to live for.

But God knew all that was going to happen, what with him being omnipotent and all. Fact: he had the specs for the Ark (both of them) drawn up before he even said 'let there be light'. He needed something to read them by.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:16 PM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The number of people who are in all honesty not getting the joke is kind of staggering.

Oh, I think most people get it, but the site is so heavy-handed and tired. It is preaching to the converted and doesn't encourage a thoughtful response--because it doesn't want one. It is an internet cliche.
posted by belvidere at 6:18 PM on July 9, 2010


Brilliant idea.
posted by Jessness at 6:44 PM on July 9, 2010


It is preaching to the converted and doesn't encourage a thoughtful response

I'm genuinely interested in which choir you think it's preaching to. Because as honestly as everyone wants to feel they get the joke (and the funniest line in comedy is "Get it?" because everybody laughs!) I am not really sure that we all have the same understanding about who the joke is on.
posted by Miko at 7:03 PM on July 9, 2010


For example

On a Christian forum, a poster pokes fun at "those tolerant, open-minded atheists… so cosmopolitan, so wise, so willing to engage in intellectual debate. They’re such a hoot at the neighborhood block party — not like those intolerant Mormons or Conservative Jews pushing their strange fruit salads on all and sundry!"

Post from a self-described atheist: "In all seriousness this seems like the internet being incredibly closed-minded (and I'm an atheist)."

Meanwhile, people on the Athiest Foundation and afew other sites are calling it a "brilliant idea" and complaining that "some sites don't even appear to have any proselytising content until halfway down the the first page of the site. It just makes a parent's job of monitoring content easier. "

Are you terribly sure the joke is on religious fundamentalists?
posted by Miko at 7:28 PM on July 9, 2010


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