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Pastor Joel Osteen goes digital

It’s become vogue to hate Facebook, so here’s another reason to hate ‘em: Mega Church Pastor Joel Osteen is tapping into social media big time:

HuffPo – Osteen, a 50-year-old Texas native with an impeccable complexion, thick head of dark hair and a gleaming white smile, is the pastor of the largest church in America. On this April night in Miami, nearly 36,000 cheering people have gathered in the stands of the stadium to hear him speak. But for Madding, the crucial action is playing out on an iPad propped on a desk in front of him: He is watching the live stream of the pastor’s sermon as it appears to audiences who are tuning in from home — a group numbering more than 138,000. They are absorbing Osteen’s “Night of Hope,” a gathering of evangelical Christians aimed at strengthening people’s commitment to Christ, swaying non-believers and spreading Osteen’s message of self-improvement through Christianity.

I’m sure I can up with a snide comment or two, but fuck it. Osteen has the same right and ability to use Facebook as anyone else. It didn’t even make me sad, but for some reason this did:

Madding’s iPad displays a ceaseless stream of comments from those taking part from their homes around the world — people grappling with illness, joblessness, loneliness, despair and suicidal thoughts; people seeking comfort, prayer and fellowship here. These participants are not inside the stadium, but in an expanded gathering that connects the experience of those here in the flesh with those online.

For the most part I guess I’m a soft atheist. I just don’t care that much if other people believe in supernatural beings, until they insist on forcing their beliefs onto me in some way — even then I’m willing to put up with a lot more than some of my skeptical peers. Mostly out of sheer pity. If a mother was nailed to the bed by intractable sadness because her toddler died, and comforted enough by the idea the kid still existed and was happy somewhere in some other dimension that she was able to grieve and get past it even a little, I can’t imagine arguing with her about the existence of God or Xenu or whatever worked for her.

Life is wonderful, the universe is breathtaking, and we in the developed world with enough to eat and friends and a place to live are more fortunate than the vast majority of humans that exist now and/or have ever existed. But life and the universe are also indifferent to human suffering, they can inflict immense pain, and we’re a young species that has not learned how to take off very many of those rough edges. So I don’t know why it would get me down thinking of desperate people with little in the way of effective options begging a non-existent deity for help, but tonight it just seems depressing.

Maybe it’s because I have a new-ish friend, I’m not quite as lonely as I used to be, but it would be nice if they lived a tiny bit closer. It’s not the worst problem to have, that’s for damn sure. Anyway, I hope you all have a great weekend! Here’s some traveling music if you’re a little down and need to be reminded how lucky you are.

Comments

  1. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Facebook like all technology is a tool, a double bladed sword that we can choose to use for good or evil.

    For the most part I guess I’m a soft atheist. I just don’t care that much if other people believe in supernatural beings, until they insist on forcing their beliefs onto me in some way — even then I’m willing to put up with a lot more than some of my skeptical peers. Mostly out of sheer pity.

    Me too.

    If it doesn’t hurt me or others – who am I to judge?

    But when the religious (or supposedly so) are exploiting or harming others – that does get me angry.

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