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Churches Use Twitter To Reach a Wider Audience

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the go-tell-it-on-the-internet dept.

Communications 169

In an attempt to reverse declining attendance figures, many American churches are starting to ask WWJD in 140 or fewer characters. Pastors at Westwinds Community Church in Michigan spent two weeks teaching their 900-member congregation how to use Twitter. 150 of them are now tweeting. Seattle's Mars Hill Church encourages its members to Twitter messages during services. The tweets appear on the church's official Twitter page. Kyle Firstenberg, the church's administrator, said,"It's a good way for them to tell their friends what church is about without their friends even coming in the building."

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169 comments

@jesus save me (0)

ifeelswine (1546221) | more than 4 years ago | (#27835823)

if you tweet from the bathroom are you really tooting?

Re:@jesus save me (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27835871)

What a lame first post. Even the "frosty piss" posts are better and that's saying something. So, in closure, I will respond to you in the only appropriate way: COONS NIGGERS JIGABOOS PORCH MONKIES!!

what about sexting? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27835829)

Doesn't one of the commandments say "thou shalt commit adultery?"

this is idiotic. (2, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | more than 4 years ago | (#27835899)

its neither news for nerds or stuff that matters... car dealers, the president, software companies and buddhists use twitter.

if twitter had collaborated with jesus to produce an api through which church members could send prayers, that might be. or, if jesus intended to announce the rapture through tweet as stated in his microblog, i might care.

Two simple conclusions (0, Troll)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837781)

  • Twitter is dying.
  • "Churches Use Twitter To Reach a Wider Audience" - sitting in a pew makes you fat - or they're looking for more fat people to attend, so their pastors don't look like they were the #1 cause of the Irish Potato Famine.

I mean. really, what is it with all these overweight and obese preacher types? Compensating for lack of sex? Compensating for guilt over sex with little boys? Compensating for failing to be masters of their body, as their bible commands?

Re:this is idiotic. (2, Informative)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838917)

its neither news for nerds or stuff that matters...

Apparently you didn't notice the "idle" tag...

On the fence on this (5, Insightful)

Taimat (944976) | more than 4 years ago | (#27835931)

I'm a Christian, and I'm a tech. (I don't use twitter - I don't see a point to it). I do however, understand that this is another way to let people know what your particular church is about - on the other hand, I think this can be really distracting for those in the congregation that are trying to listen to the message for the day. I heard about this last week on K-Love (National Christian radio station) and will be interesting to see how it works out. (I don't see this lasting long)

Re:On the fence on this (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27836929)

I'm a Christian, and I'm a tech.

One of the principles of "coming out" as a xtian techy is the presumption of innocence -- that we are innocent of our own existence as programmers, that we did not make ourselves and we did not make the world, and that in revealing who we are and what we see, we simply reveal what is already there. We are not confessing to a crime. We are revealing our existence as Slashdotters. What we ask for in doing so is simple recognition: We desire to be seen. We put aside for the time being the question of our effect on others. We leave it up to others what they should do about who we are. That does not mean they will do what we want. If we have been sufficiently skillful in constructing our false self, those who love us may indeed love this false self, and may greet with consternation the arrival of what we consider to be our authentic self.

So in coming out we ask, Can you still love me, knowing who I am? A Rob Malda-loving programmer? Perhaps the answer is no. Perhaps our partner has fallen in love with the character of our creation. That is frightening, is it not? Not? So in discovering who we are and admitting it to ourselves, we must at the same time begin the hard process of finding love for this previously unloved-because-unrevealed self. We begin by loving ourselves. Now, of course, in a way your wife does love exactly who you are. I feel sure that there is something about your questioning nature, your rational mind, your courage, your clear-eyed vision, that she does love deeply. Nonetheless, when we reveal who we really are, it changes the nature of love. It changes how we are loved, and for what. She can no longer love you as a churchgoing man if you stop going to church.

And there is the frightening possibility hovering at the edges that our lover might not love us at all, but only the false self we have presented. We do love characters in movies and books that are not real. Why should we not fall in love with other invented characters? For that matter, how could anyone love our true self if we have kept our true self secret? So you risk a lot. But you risk it for the biggest prize of all: to be loved for who you really are. As to the effect your revelation may have on others, whether it is selfish: If you believe their beliefs are wrong, then in speaking out you are helping them. They can only benefit from hearing what you say. They can only benefit from the truth. If their beliefs are wrong, they are wasting their time in church and the sooner they stop wasting their time the better off they will be. Now, if they left the church, they might lose community standing and fellowship. But truth is our highest quest, is it not? But perhaps you secretly fear that they are right. Well, there too, by confessing your doubt you are doing them a favor: You are giving them the opportunity to save you. Let them try.

I appreciate that you have addressed your question not just to me, but to the many who give of themselves here, many with more relevant knowledge and experience than mine. I hope you will find much here of value as people weigh in, and I hope you will be able to take what you need and leave the rest. I also appreciate your concern for those in your life who might be upset by your revelation, and how you try to balance your own need to disclose your truth with the consternation it may cause them.

May I say one thing regarding my own perhaps crazy beliefs on the subject? I really believe it is possible that a grace exists in the universe that in caring for you and saving you does not care one whit whether you believe in it or not, and does not care what you think is true: a grace whose intelligence is so freely boundless and beyond us that whatever we think of it does not even occur to it, or occurs to it the way the consternation of a dog occurs to us when we bathe it. We take note of the consternation of the dog but we do not find it persuasive; we already know what we're going to do with the dog. We're going to bathe the dog. I just had to say that. Good luck with your loved ones.

Re:On the fence on this (0, Offtopic)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837015)

I'm a Christian, and I'm a tech. (I don't use twitter - I don't see a point to it). I do however, understand that this is another way to let people know what your particular church is about - on the other hand, I think this can be really distracting for those in the congregation that are trying to listen to the message for the day. I heard about this last week on K-Love (National Christian radio station) and will be interesting to see how it works out. (I don't see this lasting long)

Sorry I picked you for this one, but you were the first self-identified Christian I saw posting in here.

The moment I find one church where its members love one another, do not judge for any reason especially reasons based on appearance (i.e. the clothing you wear, etc.), do not form little exclusive cliques as though this were high school, do not gossip about one another and refuse to entertain gossip about anyone else, understand the folly of anger and frustration, and show genuine loving-kindness instead of merely being nice because they are weak for the approval of others and worry about what other people think of them ... then, and only then, would I consider joining that congregation. Extra points if at least some of the sessions include material that is difficult and challenging and represents an understanding higher than your own so that you can strive to reach for it, rather than the easily understood (and easily heard) platitudes which are designed to appeal to (i.e. pander to) the masses.

The words in the form of chapter and verse are a map. The map is not the territory. When I go into churches, what I find is a bunch of people who have memorized words and they think they understand them, but it does not show in their lives per my criteria above. They still think that the spiritual experience is an intellectual experience. They don't see how limited intellect and logic really are, how they are powerful yet useless for all but the most mundane of affairs.

The whole problem with the Bible is that you kinda already have to "get it" before you can really get much out of what it teaches. At that point where you start getting it, you realize that most of the religions started with a simple idea that is beyond all intellectual or logical apprehension and that great complications arose when the enlightened tried to teach that idea to others. Those enlightened folks had a severely difficult problem: how to use words to teach something for which there are no words. The best that they could do was to provide a description of what it looks like and hope that those who study it don't confuse the description for the real thing (i.e. religion instead of spirituality). That confusion is exactly what has happened to modern "Churchianity". It's a shame, really, because if you study various religions and have seen the real thing, you will find that the Christians have one of the most accurate descriptions available.

Re:On the fence on this (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837407)

OT part of my post: twittering during a service is stupid, and to me, implies that there isn't enough to think about (or be involved in) during the service. So much for Biblical commands to love God with your MIND, too....

Hm. You're right, Christians (nominal and true) are human, and at times do all those things.

But if you have never heard of or seen a church where its members are generally characterized but what you just mentioned.. well, I know they exist. I think they tend to, however, be on the strong side as far as preaching against sin, etc., as well. In other words, most people are not going to find the preaching all that nice - it's primarily convicting. Which makes sense, if you think about it... if the whole love one another, judging, gossip, etc., is what is "right"/Godly, then not doing that is sin... so conviction about it seems to be a primary goal of preaching the Bible. Which means it is rather uncomfortable for those that want their "ears tickled," which is what you appear to be referring to. And which is why, IMO, most really Biblical churches tend to be rather small. You don't come get convicted about the sin in your life for "fun."

If you're really interested... erg, I don't want to come across haughty or arrogant :P But if you're interested, I think I could probably give you a link to a pastor of a church that you said you want to find. Sermons are online, etc. I think you'd probably find the preaching to be somewhat abnormal as far as typical mainstream Christianity goes (and no, it's not like the Mars Hill Mark Driscoll either). Long (60+ minutes), Biblical, excitedly preached by someone who really believes it, who loves Christ, and whose "ambition" is to be more like Him. If you're interested, let me know... :)

Re:On the fence on this (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837545)

I love how you say they can not be judgmental and must be understanding of others faults and they say that you will not go to a church unless all the members meet your requirements.

The failings of the other people in the church shouldn't matter to you. People will tend to cluster a bit around people they get along well with. They will tend to be make mistakes. Church isn't a home for the perfect it is a halfway house for the imperfect.
It doesn't matter if it is a Christian church or a Buddhist temple.
Heck you will even see the same failings you mentioned at a Linux Users Group or Slashdot.

Re:On the fence on this (0, Flamebait)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838105)

The failings of the other people in the church shouldn't matter to you.

How about the many failings of the book they claim to believe in as "the truth"? And those who push that particular purple Flavor-Ade.

Otherwise, you're just treating the symptoms, not the problem.

And, more on-topic - if, after a couple of thousand years, they STILL haven't found a way to get their message out in a credible fashion, twittering ain't gonna help. It's just more "make us feel like we're doing something good for Jebus" feel-good crap for their own, because they're scared - atheism is the fastest-growing belief, and will ultimately eat their lunch, no matter how much they try to be angelic little Tweety-Pies.

Q: Jesus, The Virgin Mary, and Sarah Palin fall off a sky-scraper. Who hits the ground first?
A: Who gives a f*ck!
A2: Sarah Palin - she saw someone wearing a fur coat and decided to "take that wolf out!"
A3: The CEO of CountryWide Financial (we can dream).

Re:On the fence on this (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839261)

I love how you say they can not be judgmental and must be understanding of others faults and they say that you will not go to a church unless all the members meet your requirements.

Seeing the faults of others and honestly calling them what they are: discernment. Hating the person in any way because of what you see, whether that hatred expresses itself by means of anger, resentment, frustration, condemnation, or holier-than-thou: judgment. Declining to associate with people who don't understand what they preach and are unwilling to consider the possibility that they don't understand what they preach is merely wise decision-making. It is not a judgment on those people, it is a willingness to let them live their lives as they see fit while I do the same. It is also a recognition that their current state may be a necessary part of their path of development.

I think your objection was sincere yet misguided, otherwise I'd say that what you are doing there is quite twisted and seems designed to convince me that what I plainly see with my very eyes is somehow not what I plainly see with my very eyes. Beware, because many people will attempt to do that and most of them don't understand that this is what they're doing. The reason why ignorance is so compelling and often is not self-correcting (except in those whom you may call "true seekers", and even for them this requires much effort) is because it is self-reinforcing. That is, the beliefs that come from ignorance seem valid within the framework of the worldview that is willing to entertain them. In other words, these things are often subtle; if the effects of ignorance were obviously and undeniably wrong to anyone and everyone, then there would be no such thing as ignorance. That is clearly not the case.

The failings of the other people in the church shouldn't matter to you.

When someone can go to the same church for years without making progress towards losing those negative tendencies and replacing them with an overcoming love for humanity, then there is something wrong with that church. Something critical is missing. Note, I said making progress; I did not say "perfect absolute mastery". I would compare it to someone who attends a programming class for four years and after those four years, is still incapable of writing a "Hello World" program in the language of their choice. It indicates something is very wrong with the class.

The problem you have with churches is that it's almost impossible to find a counterexample that shows the shameful state of all of the others. For many people, the beginning of wisdom would be the realization of how fake and phony they are, of how many attitudes and beliefs and behavior patterns they have that somebody else put there, of how they can be this way while sincerely believing that they are living their own lives, of how even their kindness is fake and manipulative because it's designed to obtain a result, namely that of being liked. This, incidentally, is why the general population is such a sucker for any politician or leader who tells them what they want to hear. It's why they're such sheep. It's why they think mutual need is the same thing as love.

That's not exactly an easy realization. It does not draw a crowd. Anyone who preaches that, however accurate it may be, will quickly find that most people dearly love their mindless state and would rather silence the person who reminds them of it (because they perceive that person's message as painful) than seek freedom from it. Anyone who preaches that better be prepared to catch a lot of flak from a bunch of people who nod fervently when told that Jesus said we should love God and should love one another.

You think you're telling me something new when you say to me that people are imperfect? Do you sincerely believe that I did not notice that, or that this wasn't a core part of the point I am making? I say to you that this is a condition we are meant to remedy and that doing so takes a lifetime, that doing so takes a great deal of courage. Otherwise, what's the point of telling us to gradually learn to be like Jesus if Jesus was perfect and it's impossible for us to ever even taste of that perfection?

The whole point is to stop trying to live your life and realize that your idea of "your will" is something of an illusion, that the secret of life is that it is effortless, or as the Taoists say, "I do nothing yet nothing is left undone." When that is attained, you become a conduit or a vessel through which what men call the Holy Spirit can express itself, and that expression is perfect. Get a real understanding of what that means and then compare that to the list of "do's and don'ts" you receive at an average church. Then and only then will you see my point. The realization that most human beings are entirely phony can be quite horrifying, but if denying self-evident truth is the price you pay to avoid facing that horror then you are a coward and the price you pay is too high. I imagine I must be a bit of a shock to you if you have been raised to believe that "good" is the same thing as "people-pleasing" and "bowing and scraping to win your approval".

Re:On the fence on this (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#27840057)

"When someone can go to the same church for years without making progress towards losing those negative tendencies and replacing them with an overcoming love for humanity, then there is something wrong with that church. Something critical is missing. Note, I said making progress; I did not say "perfect absolute mastery". I would compare it to someone who attends a programming class for four years and after those four years, is still incapable of writing a "Hello World" program in the language of their choice. It indicates something is very wrong with the class. "
In a school you would be kicked out of the class long before that time. A church will keep let you trying well most of them.
If you don't want to go to a church and or don't believe in what they teach that is one thing. But again you are making a judgment as to that persons progress. Do you really know where that person started? Do you really know where that person is? How do you know what progress they made unless you are that person.
I find the obsession with all these other people to be the part I don't get. You even speak about what a Taoist would say but yet you still judge the value of a churches teaching from the most superficial and external signs possible.
If you have no desire to go to a church that is fine and dandy. Each person has to find their own way to the truth. I personally believe that almost nobody every figures out even the majority of the truth in their life time.
But I would say that you should do a little check on that judging other people thing.

Re:On the fence on this (1)

Stardate (13547) | more than 4 years ago | (#27840387)

oh, if only i had mod points... this was a great, very insightful post. even more so if you read it high. :)

Re:On the fence on this (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837845)

then, and only then, would I consider joining that congregation.

But why would they want you? You sound like you hold most christians in contempt. When you see these congregations where bad things are happening, why don't you step up and try to set a good example instead of just bitching at the first christian you spot posting on /.?

-jcr

Re:On the fence on this (0, Redundant)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837895)

The moment I find one church where its members love one another, do not judge for any reason especially reasons based on appearance (i.e. the clothing you wear, etc.), do not form little exclusive cliques as though this were high school, do not gossip about one another and refuse to entertain gossip about anyone else, understand the folly of anger and frustration, and show genuine loving-kindness instead of merely being nice because they are weak for the approval of others and worry about what other people think of them ... then, and only then, would I consider joining that congregation. Extra points if at least some of the sessions include material that is difficult and challenging and represents an understanding higher than your own so that you can strive to reach for it, rather than the easily understood (and easily heard) platitudes which are designed to appeal to (i.e. pander to) the masses.

Good luck with that.

BTW, the bible is one of the worst pieces of hate literature extant. It condoned slavery, commanded genocide, looked the other way over killing for lust (King David and Basheba - "David was a man after God's heart" even after he had her husband killed), mysogeny, hatred towards gays and lesbians, and a long slew of other crap. Truly, it is "nothing new under the sun", fit more for the toilet (just in case you run out of TP) than for moral instruction.

Re:On the fence on this (1)

canistel (1103079) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838429)

Did you maybe ever think that what is wrong with the Bible is not the Bible, but your interpretation of it?

Just picking out one of the many errors in your recent posts: David was a man after God's heart, but God punished David for killing Uriah, contrary to what you imply. You need to read the Bible and understand what it says before you can criticize it (which of course applies to more then just the Bible).

And another one of your errors: The "hatred" against gays, murders etc is not against them personally, but the lifestyle itself; big difference as can be seen in how Jesus responds to the murderer that is crucified with him.

Re:On the fence on this (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838967)

Some "punishment." Contemptible is what it is. Since when is killing off a blameless offspring "justice"? And the case of King David isn't the only one.

If you think that's justice, then maybe the bible should come with a warning sticker about how it warps your sense of right and wrong. Even a little kid understands you don't punish someone for somebody else's mistakes. Heck, recent studies show that even DOGS have a sense of what's fair - they know when one receives an unfair portion compared to another.

As for Jesus on the cross - his actions show he thought he'd be rescued before getting nailed. After all, if someone told YOU to carry your own cross, and you really believed that you would die on it, you'd say "Carry it yourself, motherfucker! Or explain to YOUR boss that you had to beat me to death rather than complete your job as ordered!" It's also the source of "My God, why have you forsaken me." He was just as deluded about the existence, never mind the interest, of god as his followers were.

Re:On the fence on this (1)

canistel (1103079) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839321)

I'm sorry, but your posts here show that you don't fully understand what you are talking about. Jesus WAS God, how can he be deluded about his own existence?

I'm still trying to figure out whether you believe the Bible to be true, and are just bitter about things you (I, we as a human race, for that matter) don't fully comprehend, or whether you're saying the Bible can't be true (because there are things you don't understand)...

In the case of David and his punishment, you really don't know what God's plan was, and why He did what He did. Think of how easy it is to question the reasons / decisions of people, spouses, businesses, governments etc. It's very easy to find fault with / rage against human beings without understanding the situation, now multiply that times positive infinity, and you may appreciate how difficult it is to understand God.

And just to further set the record straight, the death of his son was not the only punishment. Read 2 Samuel 12:11, and the account of Absalom etc.

Re:On the fence on this (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839477)

I'm sorry, but your posts here show that you don't fully understand what you are talking about. Jesus WAS God, how can he be deluded about his own existence?

Got any proof for that? So far, all we've ever seen is "you have to believe" arguments. There is NO physical proof that Jesus was God, just as there's no proof that God exists. If you COULD prove it, you wouldn't need faith, would you? So, the requirement of having faith means that you already understand that there is no proof for either God's existence or Jesus being God.

And just to further set the record straight, the death of his son was not the only punishment. Read 2 Samuel 12:11, and the account of Absalom etc.

Doesn't negate the statement that, according to the Bible, God punished David by killing his child. God the Retroactive Abortionist. Killing the Innocent! Like I said, not a good example of justice or ethics.

Two wrongs don't make a right. And to say it's "Gods' way" is a cop-out, an abdication of reason, logic, morals, justice and ethics.

Mind you, the whole concept of "Gods' people" also smacks of the same injustice and "two weights, two measures", just writ large. A god who can't even deal fairly and equitably with his own creations is all to human - which is my point - it's just a story, by people, to exert control over other people.

Re:On the fence on this (0, Flamebait)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839141)

And another one of your errors: The "hatred" against gays, murders etc is not against them personally, but the lifestyle itself; big difference

No difference. Their "lifestyle" as you call it, is part and parcel of who they are. If bigots can't accept it, that's their problem, but there are hundreds of species of mammals that engage in same-sex relationships. It's normal. Get over it.

Try this: "the 'hatred' against blacks isn't against them personally, but against their skin colour: big difference". Nobody would buy it.

Or this "The 'hatred' against pedophiles and child molesters isn't against them personally, but the lifestyle itself; big difference". Nope, doesn't pass the smell test.

Let's try again. "The 'hatred' against Maddof isn't against him personally, but the scam he pulled; big difference." Major fail.

The "love the sinner, hate the sin" self-justification of some people when trying to white-wash their bigotry and ignorance is what's shameful. Gays and lesbians don't go around telling fundies that they have no right to have sex with each other. It's the bible-thumpers who need a lesson in tolerance and loving.

Then again, that would go against their "beliefs". Beliefs that have no basis in history (it's a bunch of regurgitated fables mixed with exaggerations - get over it), science, or ethics, and is bereft of any morality save its' own self-indulgent depravity.

Re:On the fence on this (1)

Darby (84953) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839645)

Did you maybe ever think that what is wrong with the Bible is not the Bible, but your interpretation of it?

Sure, but what a stupid thing it would be to believe something that idiotic. It's called begging the question, and it's a logical fallacy.

You're saying that you have to believe that a book of ancient fairy tales is magically true (in spite of it being dead wrong in many places) and interpret it only in ways consistent with the conclusion you've already drawn...in order to reach the conclusion you've already drawn.

And another one of your errors: The "hatred" against gays, murders etc is not against them personally, but the lifestyle itself; big difference as can be seen in how Jesus responds to the murderer that is crucified with him.

The fact that you think it's possible to separate those things proves that you don't know shit about your religion, its history or its present incarnations. That's what happens when you insist on turning your critical thinking skills to mush by the demand that ancient fairy tales are true because you really really want them to be. There is nothing wrong with gay people or them living "a gay lifestyle". The fact that your evil hate based retard faith tells you there is just another reason you fucking scum should all go die. You are the principle enemy of moral progress, and your ignorant delusions cause real harm to real people.

Anyhow, you're not a Christian you're a liar. I can prove absolutely that you don't believe your bullshit:

Mark 16:18

Go drink poison, or admit you're a liar with no faith.

Re:On the fence on this (1)

canistel (1103079) | more than 4 years ago | (#27840393)

You need to climb down from your high horse; A) If your beliefs conflict with the Bible, then either you are wrong or the Bible is wrong; there is no "begging the question" or "logical fallacy" here; B) you know nothing about what I may or may not know about my faith; C) I really love this statement: "... your evil hate based retard faith... you fucking scum should all go die". You're a bigger hypocrite then most of the people you cut up; D) Read Mark 16 again, you seem to be doing some selective reading / interpretation there.

And finally... is the statement "a man may not sleep with another man" hating gays? How about "a man who sleeps with another man commits a sin"? How about "a man who sleeps with a women outside of marriage commits a sin?" Do Christians now hate both gays and straights? Calling a sin a sin is not hatred, regardless of what you want to think.

Re:On the fence on this (1)

JeanPaulBob (585149) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839131)

There's a saying. "If you ever find a perfect church, don't go there. As soon as you start, it won't be perfect anymore."

There's only one way to get a church like the one you're looking for: Don't let anyone in unless they're perfect.

Of course, the joke from the saying is that no one is perfect, so that won't work. But some people don't get the joke, and actually try to have "perfect congregations". And then you end up with a group of obnoxiously self-righteous twits--because that kind of person focuses on external pseudo-righteousness, and "the other guy's sin".

That confusion is exactly what has happened to modern "Churchianity". It's a shame, really, because if you study various religions and have seen the real thing, you will find that the Christians have one of the most accurate descriptions available.

Hmm... Your comments make me think that you basically get the vision that Jesus laid out, of goodness & humility & love & genuine holiness (as opposed to self-righteousness).

But, speaking as a Christian... the Gospel itself is entirely missing from what you're saying.

Jesus' teachings about life in the kingdom of God weren't particularly new, comparing with the Old Testament. Humility, service, care for the poor, transformed hearts... that was all there in the prophets.

The gospel is not, "Look at Jesus, he shows us a better way to live." (Though he does do that.) The gospel is about what God did for us in Christ, both to forgive and to transform us. It's not about what we accomplish, it's about what he accomplished. It's about being accepted in spite of not remotely deserving it, based on repentance & faith--which does then lead to transformation by the work of the Spirit, to be like Christ in the example he provided.

Part of my point is... I know that churches are filled with hypocrites. I'm one. But some of us know we're hypocrites, and desire transformation, and are being transformed. And there are churches with an atmosphere of grace, who are transformed enough to show credibility in their intellectual profession of faith. But none that are perfect like you want. Because they're full of people.

Re:On the fence on this (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837839)

I agree that this is absolute nonsense. We've always worked to get people to turn their phones off and create fewer distractions, not more. What's the point of being there if you're just twittering the whole time? What's the point of twittering a tiny piece of the message if people can already get the full message online anyway?

*not* Mars Hill again... (0, Troll)

salimma (115327) | more than 4 years ago | (#27835939)

Been to Mars Hill once -- it's a discomforting combination of slick stage presentation and right-wing Christian fundamentalism.

Re:*not* Mars Hill again... (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836123)

Isn't that the basic description of 6th generation American Protestantism in general? After all, you can't fill the megachurch with actual *SUBSTANCE* or *ORTHODOXY*- or even suggesting maybe being poor *might* be the fault of certain other groups taking more than they need.

Mars Hill loons (0, Troll)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836135)

You have to actually bring them into the building and break that ice by showing them that, no, you're not snake-handlers speaking in tongues or crazy terrorists preaching jihad or whatever.

Funny you should mention that, since the above blurb mentions Seattle's Mars Hill Church, who are a pack of far right fundie whack jobs trying to pose as 'Hip' to lure in the youngsters.

Snake handlers, indeed...

Re:*not* Mars Hill again... (1)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838053)

right-wing Christian fundamentalism.

Kinda. The pastor Mark Driscoll is very controversial, even among Christians. He's also extremely intelligent, and is very capable of defending the things he says (I'd pay money to see anyone on here debate him). Christian or not, he's a good thing for everyone, simply because he's not just another fundamentalist idiot that just spouts stuff off without it making any sense or being able to support it.

Re:*not* Mars Hill again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27838907)

He's also extremely intelligent, and is very capable of defending the things he says...

Well, maybe for definitions of "defend" that are substantially less than "prove scientifically".

Oh, good (0, Flamebait)

cml4524 (1520403) | more than 4 years ago | (#27835951)

I used to get dragged to church as a child, but our church was a dinky little thing in a podunk town of no consequence full of geriatric hillbillies. Sunday school rarely consisted of more than a gripe session, lead by the head hillbilly who worked in the "big city" (of about 120,000) over the mountain. The sessions generally revolved around the most recent topic Agnes had heard on the nightly news, which usually meant I sat their for an hour listening to people with multiple missing teeth bash immigrants, gays, liberals, and basically anybody - other than the group leader - who had been more than 10 feet past the county line in any direction in the past 30 years.

I guess what I'm saying is, my church-going experience was largely shaped by ill-informed, shrill idiots with minimal exposure to the outside world and strong opinions on things they had no capability to understand, so I really can't think of a more fitting place to send them than the Internet.

Mars Hill (2, Informative)

x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) | more than 4 years ago | (#27835955)

Mars Hill has been known for its controversy and new ways of doing things. Mark Driscoll (the pastor) has alienated a lot of mainstream conservative pastors out there. It's not surprising that he encourages his congregation to use new trends to expand his influence. He is drawing in a lot of younger audiences than most more established churches. We will see how long that lasts and if it some day implodes on itself like most of these trendy ministries kinda do.

Re:Mars Hill (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837317)

Mars Hill has been known for its controversy and new ways of doing things. Mark Driscoll (the pastor) has alienated a lot of mainstream conservative pastors out there. It's not surprising that he encourages his congregation to use new trends to expand his influence. He is drawing in a lot of younger audiences than most more established churches. We will see how long that lasts and if it some day implodes on itself like most of these trendy ministries kinda do.

Usually in revelations of financial misdeeds or bizarre sexual perversions, or sometimes both! I just love it when one of these Holy Joes gets nailed with tax evasion AND indecent acts against bark mulch dispensers.

OK.... (3, Interesting)

CWRUisTakingMyMoney (939585) | more than 4 years ago | (#27835959)

I'm aware most of the people here probably don't practice a religion. I do. Troll on.

That said, this is ridiculous; just because a technology exists for something, you don't have to use it for everything. If you're truly interested in bringing your friends to (your) religion, Twitter's not gonna do it. You have to actually bring them into the building and break that ice by showing them that, no, you're not snake-handlers speaking in tongues or crazy terrorists preaching jihad or whatever. Besides, the reduction of religious beliefs to sound bytes by believers and non-believers alike is one of the most damaging processes to those who are religious. This will just end up backfiring on them and making them look like fools.

Re:OK.... (2, Funny)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836183)

I fear it already does. Tony Jones, one of the "bright young minds" behind this, is currently twittering the Didache to his facebook page, and ended up having to ask me in a private e-mail "not to respond so fast".

Re:OK.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27836209)

Speaking in tongues isn't anymore ridiculous than what you actually believe.

Re:OK.... (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838991)

Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? ...Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.

So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? ...If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

1 Corinthians 14:6,9,23,28 (NIV)

Re:OK.... (1)

Nesgar (590175) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837813)

As a church pastor, I'd be a tad mortified to see half the congregation with heads down, tapping away during the sermon. Would I be twittered into attending a church where someone has the idle-time to send me a text, mid-service? "Church" is already far too synonymous with "boredom". On the other hand, in a wired world where people want to interact and ask questions and give opinions, I can see the value in tweets being big-screened and addressed post-sermon by the preacher. Cheaper than a mobile jammer, anyway.

Re:OK.... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838173)

Besides, the reduction of religious beliefs to sound bytes by believers and non-believers alike is one of the most damaging processes to those who are religious.

Actually, reading the whole bible, instead of cherry-picking, is one of the most damaging processes for those who are religious.

It's just fucked up.

Re:OK.... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838291)

I'm aware most of the people here probably don't practice a religion. I do.

Hey, me too. Except that my religion's rites involve two crack whores, all the booze that I can shoplift, and a bathtub full of cottage cheese.

Troll on.

No, troll, but I would tend to disagree with you. I don't use Twitter, but in my opinion, religions have always been adept at adopting new technologies to "spread their word." Look at the "televangelists" in the US for an example.

And I could imagine that some folks who feel isolated by their faith, might take comfort in being able to send and receive quick messages to someone in their church. Just so they don't feel so alone. Unless they are Luddites, of course.

My faith is very taxing, as the cottage cheese tends to smell like something the cat dragged in after a couple of days.

Re:OK.... (1)

Kizor (863772) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839781)

I'm in the same situation as you and long considered Twitter an utter waste of time. That was until a journalist covering a demonstration in Egypt managed to do this [twitter.com] and was released without charge while his photographer disappeared. I can't deny that Twitter can be used to do good. We're by and large unaware of the potential of our new tools, so this kind of experimentation may reveal valuable new things or at least get rid of the nagging feeling that they might be here.

This is the dawn of the Information Age. We do things. Occasionally they even work.

Whether this is on Slashdot for more reasons than being sneered at is a more difficult question.

Its a shame (3, Funny)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836007)

We godless heathens dominate the internet. They're walking into a battle they cannot win.

*Maniacal laughter*

Re:Its a shame (1)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836093)

Amen brother. Education is the key to unblindfolding the sheep and helping people to free their minds. The more information people consume the less likely they are to be fooled by hypocritical TV preachers and ultra charismatics. Let's pray that they run across Christopher Hitchens writings at some point in their widening internet experiences.

Re:Its a shame (2, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836213)

And what is left, when you take away the godless heathens, are orthodox people who can actually think and whose religion isn't opposed to rationality and science at every turn.

Re:Its a shame (1)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836345)

I believe that religion is inherently opposed to the scientific process. There is no mixing the two unless you make some pretty major concessions.

For example, how can someone who believes in a creator of all things accept the law of conservation of mass? Some things are just incompatible.

Atheism & Consistency (2, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836779)

I believe the scientific process and theism go hand in hand. On the other hand, atheists have to be inconsistent with the outworking of their atheism. To use your language, the atheist not only has to make concessions but has to capitulate.

If you believe God orders and sustains the universe, what would be inconsistent with theism and science? Now inconsistent with science-ism? Yes.

Now an atheist who assumes that we weren't put here for any particular reason should assume that we weren't designed for any particular reason. We weren't designed to apprehend truth. The thoughts in our heads are just atoms bouncing around in our heads in accordance with the laws of physics & chemistry. The best you could say is that our mind is designed to pick up chicks.

So if we have no basis for assuming the truth of our thoughts, how is atheism consistent with science?

And it doesn't stop there. You have laws of physics hanging in mid-air not supported by anything. No reason to assume they will stay the same (see David Hume atheist philosopher if you disagree). You have immaterial laws of logic that a materialist tries to use.

And even worse you have people like Dennett who try to be consistent with their atheism and then go on to say that the concept of self is an illusion. But go the whole way and ask who is arguing what.

Frankly, I've never run into an atheist who operates completely consistently with his own atheism. It's an impossible task.

Re:Atheism & Consistency (1)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837915)

I don't believe we were designed for any particular reason. However, I wish to investigate how the universe works, both for my own interest, and because experience shows that learning more about how the universe works lets us make more cool things.

I have no reason to believe the laws of physics will stay the same. However, they seem to be staying the same, so I'll assume they will until I have a reason to think otherwise.

I'm nice to people and help them, because experience tells me that tends to lead to people being nice to me, and helping me, which is useful.

I don't see what part of my atheism I'm not consistent with?

Re:Atheism & Consistency (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838379)

Which gods is it you said must exist? Thor? Zeus? Ra?

Being internally consistent is not the same as being "correct." Just because the universe doesn't make sense to you doesn't mean your made-up reasons for how it works are the right ones. Remember, having answers is not the same as having *good* answers.

Theist Belief vs. Scientific Inquiry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27838711)

If you believe God orders and sustains the universe, what would be inconsistent with theism and science?

If your beliefs are formed without any experimental or rational basis then you will have trouble with science. If your beliefs are held only as a result of disciplined reasoning and experimentation then you're not a theist, are you?

The only way out is to become an atheist in how you treat reality. You can still be a theist in the realm of spirituality, but you have got to let the natural world be what it is.

Re:Atheism & Consistency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27839925)

What a load of crap. Firstly, "we weren't designed to apprehend truth" is a subset of "we weren't designed", and does not lead to "we have no basis for assuming the truth of our thoughts".

Secondly, science works. Religion doesn't. Atheism works as an effective description of reality.

Third, regarding "laws of physics hanging in mid-air not supported by anything" you assume incorrectly that the laws of physics must be supported by something. That's like assuming the luminiferous aether exists, and refusing to believe the evidence from the experiments that shows it doesn't. There's no reason not to assume they won't stay the same, in fact there's evidence from the early universe to say that these laws have been the same for the last 13+ billion years. And I'm not sure why you think that uncertainty about the permanence of physical laws means that God has to exist.

Finally, the "laws of logic" are irrefutable. Your God, if he exists, can't make 1+1=3 any more than I can.

The rest of your post doesn't make any sense either. Folks, this is your brain on religion. Don't try to justify your faith with "but atheists are inconsistent".

Re:Its a shame (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836799)

Well, someone can think of it this way, the universe is just a gigantic game of Conway's game of life, but the laws were programmed by someone or something (an intelligent designer), who can alter the variables in the game when they see fit. Most of the time the game goes on, people live, people die, but occasional the creator kills off a few cells, or creates a few more, that alters the game.

Re:Its a shame (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838569)

I go one step further and put a limit on God. He can't alter the variables as he sees fit, they MUST fit the rules and causality consistently (even if, perhaps, we theorize a God that is outside of OUR time, and therefore isn't limited by time flowing the same direction we experience it in). I believe in a deterministic universe- but also that human beings preserve their own sense of free will because of their finite brain size that can't see all the variables all at once.

Re:Its a shame (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838469)

For example, how can someone who believes in a creator of all things accept the law of conservation of mass?
 
As an inadequate human attempt to explain a rule set up by the given creator? And that without that rule, the universe would be quite different?

Re:Its a shame (1)

canistel (1103079) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838707)

Bingo. The 100% belief in science as the end-all-and-be-all explanation of who / what / how we exist is basically just like saying: "I can't fully understand the concept of God (by using science or other means), therefore, God doesn't exist." Talk about sticking your head in the sand and making like an ostrich.

Re:Its a shame (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839001)

Goes one step further if you talk to the quantum physics/mechanics guys. They're convinced that their own inability to move beyond probabilistic answers is a *universal* inability to move beyond probabilistic answers, and thus we live in an indeterministic universe. They can't even admit to some other species somewhere in the universe knowing more than we do, let alone an all powerful God able to know more than we do.

Re:Its a shame (1)

Kerrigann (1401847) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839985)

I'm not an physicist or an expert on quantum mechanics... but I don't think physicists are as convinced about things as you make them sound :)

This wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] lists something like 17 different models of what quantum uncertainty *might* conceptually imply... the math works without us being comfortable with a sane conceptual interpretation.

And science carries on without this arguably very fundamental question being answered, because *it's not science*, it's philosophy. There are people here that have gone down this philosophical road before MUCH better than I ever will, but basically science as it is defined is only concerned with testable conclusions.

To address the GP, that doesn't mean that questions about reason and purpose aren't important, or don't exist... FAR from it. These sorts of questions are arguably *more* important... just not verifiable in any way we have so far conceived.

Scientists also tend (like all humans) to dabble in philosophy or religion occasionally, and it's easy to get *philosophical discussions about science* and *science* mixed up. You'll hear some scientists make bold claims about multiple universes or causality or free will... but it's mostly philosophical wankering (not that there's anything WRONG with that :).

Anyway, the point is that I think most people who understand science don't think that science *replaces* philosophy or spirituality... quite the opposite. It is *woefully inadequate* to handle a whole class of very important questions about the nature of our universe... which is where religion and spirituality take over.

I'm not going to get into a deep discussion of "the nature of science" vs concepts like intelligent design... because others here have done it much better. Just know that when scientist types heavy-handedly discount religion in scientific discussions, it's not supposed to discount religion itself, or the utility of such a thing... just to keep it separate. They're not sticking their heads in the sand or anything... it's just that when you start letting more... fluid... things like belief structures enter into scientific discussion, you tend to arrive at good conclusions much slower.

The reason I felt the need to respond is that I used to be pretty anti-religious... until I met a lot of people which I have a great deal of respect for who are also quite religious. I'm still not personally religious, but I understand why people are. Even science itself has to have a minimum of philosophical aims... like the idea that the universe is understandable at all, or the idea that it would be governed by rules at all, and that these rules might be obtainable through observation and testing. It's like Godel's incompleteness theorem: science cannot be completely described using only science.

Anyway, philosophy is important... science is important... maybe near the end the two will meet... but for now they're kept separate.

I don't know where I'm going with this... I guess I just wanted to let you know that there are some "crazy sciency types" that don't hate religion.

By the way, there should be a Goodwin's Law for philosophical discussions except replace Nazis with mentioning Godel's incompleteness theorem or engaging in any sort of meta-philosophy, except it would probably end every philosophical discussion that has ever occurred.

Re:Its a shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27840045)

That would be non-deterministic, religion boy.

It makes sense that we are living in a non-deterministic universe because experiments at the quantum level show results consistent with that.

I never heard of any "quantum physics/mechanics guys" who claim that we're the most knowledgeable species in the universe ... in fact it's usually the religious types who claim that there aren't any extraterrestrials or that mankind is on top because we were "made in God's image".

Re:Its a shame (1)

Kerrigann (1401847) | more than 4 years ago | (#27840225)

Never mind my previous reply... I read the rest of this article's discussion (and all your other posts) and realized that my adorable attempt at diplomacy was like bringing a pillow to a "nuke from orbit" fight.

Re:Its a shame (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#27838863)

ALL religion is opposed to rationality.

which religion does not claim some supernatural being that, well, has NEVER shown himself?

if you are a religion, you have a deity (or plural). and I don't think there has been the tiniest shred of actual evidence to support ANY one's view of their god.

therefore, to believe in things you can't possibly prove - by definition - is to be irrational.

scientists who tend to believe in god have this weird duality to their mind. seems to be a flaw that lets them 'forgive' some bizarre unprovable things that they just won't give up.

Re:Its a shame (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839123)

which religion does not claim some supernatural being that, well, has NEVER shown himself?
 
No religion I'm aware of claims that. They all have either written or oral traditional claims of a God who *did* show himself.
 
  ALL religion is opposed to rationality.
 
Incorrect- in fact, the current Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, gave a rather interesting speech on the topic right after he was elected Pope. You ought to remember, it was the one where he condemned certain sects of Islam for being irrational [vatican.va].
 
  if you are a religion, you have a deity (or plural). and I don't think there has been the tiniest shred of actual evidence to support ANY one's view of their god.
 
Now that depends on your definition of "actual evidence" and how irrational or rational you are in accepting evidence. I can define objective evidence so narrowly that nothing I haven't experienced personally exists, or so broadly that I actually accept eyewitness testimony, and both are correct as far as the word "actual" goes.
 
  therefore, to believe in things you can't possibly prove - by definition - is to be irrational.
 
Equally, to disbelieve in things I've experienced in my own life, would likewise be irrational, no?
 
  scientists who tend to believe in god have this weird duality to their mind. seems to be a flaw that lets them 'forgive' some bizarre unprovable things that they just won't give up.
 
Or rather, they've been presented with evidence through personal experience that you refuse to admit is evidence. I think the second, that your personal definition of "actual evidence" is too narrow, is far more likely.

Re:Its a shame (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839201)

the fact that you are deluded to think any god 'did' show himself means you already are beyond thinking critically about the subject.

you are hooked and can't get out of that trap.

sorry to be you. otoh, ignorance is bliss and you may actually be happier in your delusion than I am in the knowledge that its all a lie.

it is all a lie. you just have been brainwashed into thinking the fairy tale is really true. sorry mate, but its not true. as much as we'd all want it to be, it just not. get over it.

Re:Its a shame (1)

mokus000 (1491841) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839621)

I'm glad to see you've got the ultimate reality thing all wrapped up. Mind lending me a bit of your apparently transcendental wisdom?

Which colour should I paint the bedroom? I'm currently considering "Universal Umber" and "Café Miel", though I'd be open to any other suggestions (edicts?) such an amazing individual as yourself might make.

Re:Its a shame (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839727)

the fact that you are deluded to think any god 'did' show himself means you already are beyond thinking critically about the subject.
 
And the fact that you don't at least read and test written documentation mans that you are already accepting too narrow a definition of evidence.
 
  you are hooked and can't get out of that trap.
 
I can say the same about you
 
  sorry to be you. otoh, ignorance is bliss and you may actually be happier in your delusion than I am in the knowledge that its all a lie.
 
Knowledge is arrogance. The most rational thing any scientist, philosopher, or theologian can be is humble enough to admit they don't have all the answers.
 
  it is all a lie. you just have been brainwashed into thinking the fairy tale is really true. sorry mate, but its not true. as much as we'd all want it to be, it just not. get over it.
 
Well, I've got my own subjective experience that says otherwise- and I've been forced to either admit I don't know everything, or believe based on that evidence. The fact that it isn't evidence to you says more about you than about me, as is the fact of your apparent inability to find the [shift] key.

Re:Its a shame (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839271)

Or rather, they've been presented with evidence through personal experience that you refuse to admit is evidence.

so, I'm either unable to 'receive' god's message or witness his existence or I'm refusing to?

(laughing)

typical avoidance reply. no, dude, I'm NOT trying to 'reject god'. if he's out there, he's been silent to me and that seems to make no sense at all (why would he be selective in how he 'talks' to?)

this reasoning is a joke. its a twisted bit of thinking to try to make the other person feel 'unworthy' and that's why he has not experienced god.

here's the real explanation: there is no god and no human has EVER experienced him. its no one's fault for not hearing from god - god does not exist so no one CAN hear from him.

anyone who says they've experienced god is basically, well, a nutcase. it does not pass the modern smell test on critical thinking.

Re:Its a shame (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839803)

so, I'm either unable to 'receive' god's message or witness his existence or I'm refusing to?
 
No, that's not what I said. I said so far your definition of objective evidence is too narrow to admit the mounds of written documentation from thousands of different cultures. There's a difference. Being "unable to 'receive' god's message or witness his existence or I'm refusing to?" is being irrational. Having too narrow a definition of objective evidence is merely being too skeptical.
 
  typical avoidance reply. no, dude, I'm NOT trying to 'reject god'. if he's out there, he's been silent to me and that seems to make no sense at all (why would he be selective in how he 'talks' to?)
 
Well, gee, you're selective in who you talk to, aren't you? But no, I'm not even claiming that he's been silent in your life, only that your definition of objective evidence is too narrow to allow in evidence of his existence.
 
  here's the real explanation: there is no god and no human has EVER experienced him.
 
That explanation is dismissed by the hundreds of thousands of pages of written documentation from disparate cultures around the globe. You are claiming that the experience of literally *billions* of people doesn't exist merely because you have too narrow a definition of objective evidence. I take it back, you're irrational and the very nutcase that you claim believers are.

Re:Its a shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27840173)

here's the real explanation: there is no god and no human has EVER experienced him.

That explanation is dismissed by the hundreds of thousands of pages of written documentation from disparate cultures around the globe.

A superficial problem is that the "documentation", taken as a whole, is rife with massive contradictions. There's a more subtle and fundamental issue here though and that's the principle of parsimony / Occam's Razor.

Imagine I drop a penny in a can, shake the can up, and (without looking) assert that the penny is in the "heads" orientation. Well, it's 50/50 that I might be wrong and that I might be right. Now, imagine that I drop another penny in the can, give another good shake and assert (again, without looking) that both pennies are in the "heads" orientation. Well, now I'm down to a 1/4 chance of being right. So then I keep dumping in pennies until I eventually get 100 pennies in the can and I'm claiming all 100 pennies are in the "heads" orientation. Well, now my probability of being correct is one in two to the 100th power - not really great odds.

So, what does this have to do with religion? Well, claiming that there is some kind of "god" entity (maybe just the collective consciousness of an advanced civilization) is like having one penny in the can. Then claiming that this god entity has some relationship with a "Jesus" entity - well that's another few pennies in the can. Then claiming that this god entity doesn't like gay marriage - well that's a few more pennies in the can. Then claiming that this god entity was in favor of the Iraq war - well that's a whole handful of pennies right there.

By the time you work up to a full fledged religion, you've got yourself an entire 55 gallon drum full of pennies and you're claiming they're all heads. Anyone who claims to believe an entire religion in its entirety is looking at astronomically low odds of being correct.

Re:Its a shame (1)

mokus000 (1491841) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839553)

Bizarre unprovable things like the notion that the universe follows laws? Or the notion that nothing (or perhaps only nothing we should care about) exists which cannot be observed? Or that truth can be reliably approximated by generalization from observed phenomena?

These concepts are fundamental to the modern notion of science, but are themselves every bit as irrational as Flying-Spaghetti-Monster-ism. The only thing they have going for them is that they have worked so far - or at least, we believe that we remember that they have.

What the churches don't want you to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27836219)

Jesus was spiritual, but not religious. One need only look at the Roman Catholic persecution of the Protestant Reformation and those trying to spread the Bible in languages the common people could read for themselves. "Get your free indulgence here! One gold coin only!"

simple messages (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836305)

The best religions seem to have the simplest messages, messages that simple people can grasp and easily understand. So in this way short messages might be the ideal thing. And if a person sees that many of thier friends are having fun tweeting at church, they may want to go as well.

But church is also about creating a sacred space, where people are together in a single faith. I think it is this that is hurting the traditional church. If we broadcast the service, and make the TV or radio an extension of the sacred space, even though there is no real community, we degrade the value of the space. If we hold secular functions in the sacred space, and make it just another room or another clearing, we devalue the value of the space. If everyone is busy tweeting to entertain an outside secular world instead of helping to build the sacred space, then what is left. We might as well just be wherever we are, and have the minister or whatever tweet the service.

This reminds me of the move 'Back to school' where the classroom was increasing filled with tape recorders, and then the professor was replaced with a recorded lecture. There is an arrogance that somehow the church is so implicitly necessary that we can brazenly corrupt it with no fear of negative consequences. It is not that there is anything wrong with tweeting, except that it is a continuation of a path where the church is just another firm, with profits, losses, and bushiness plans, and while a few respond to such things, I think the decline in most church attendance show that many of the faithful are not amused.

Re:simple messages (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837377)

The best religions seem to have the simplest messages, messages that simple people can grasp and easily understand.

Like "DO EXACTLY WHAT I TELL YOU, OR YOU'LL BURN!!!!!!"

Beyond that, could you define "best". Hinduism and Catholicism have a rather large number of adherents, for instance, and I'd hardly call them simple.

Re:simple messages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27838631)

tl;dr

Things i love about things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27836517)

Ouch - fancy combination of two of my least favorite things. Yay future!

2 Weeks (2, Funny)

endianx (1006895) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836671)

OMG LOL WTF?! IT TOOK THEM 2 WEEKS 2 LRN TO TWEET. WTF IS THAT? ONE DAY 2 LERN TWITTER AND THE REST TO LERN TO MAKE POASTS LIKE THIS ONE?!?!?!?1

Re:2 Weeks (1)

Taimat (944976) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836743)

2 weeks, = 2 sundays = 2 days. 2 days to learn, and they probably assumed that not every single member was there on the first sunday.

Re:2 Weeks (2, Informative)

endianx (1006895) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836825)

Oh, two Sundays. That makes more sense. In true Twitter fashion, my post was hastily constructed and poorly considered.

God isn't real, but where does religion come from? (4, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 4 years ago | (#27836915)

Since I don't believe in any god and it's particularly sad to see churches trying to spread misinformation more effectively, I'd like to approach this topic constructively and point towards and interesting lecture [youtube.com] I've seen lately that explains how and why religion evolved.

Re:God isn't real, but where does religion come fr (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27837211)

Since I don't believe in any god and it's particularly sad to see churches trying to spread misinformation more effectively, I'd like to approach this topic constructively and point towards and interesting lecture [youtube.com] I've seen lately that explains how and why religion evolved.

Since I believe in God and it's particularly sad to see secular humanists trying to spread misinformation more effectively, I'd like to approach this topic constructively and point towards actual people who will have a conversation with you in person about what they believe and why.

Get them early! (0, Troll)

JochenBedersdorfer (945289) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837455)

Ah, the old early indoctrination tactic again.
Well, not really that early to be effective, but still a nice try.

Organized religion is a scam

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27837653)

Twits in church? No news here

What would Jesus do? (2, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#27837807)

As I recall, he would get tortured to death and then have his philosophy distorted for the purposes of power seekers for thousands of years afterwards.

-jcr

Oh Good Lord?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27838321)

That's it. All I got.

Ah, Salesmanship (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839085)

It's funny for me to see this posted. When I used to consider myself a practicing Christian, I pledged myself to the faith in an attempt to understand the idea, theme, and entity called God. After all, that's what most religions claim to be authorities on. However, after much frustration, I finally gave it all up because churches don't care about God. They don't have any interest in trying to better understand concepts like an infinite deity, omnipresence, or timeless existence. Any attempt to approach these concepts with curiosity and questioning in mind was always met with either harsh criticism or an intense urging to accept naivete and ignorance instead. Very few churches I ever attended were willing to discuss the indescribable nature of what the word God was originally meant to address. It seemed to me, that the only goal of churches was to mindlessly and zealously turn people to their belief system in the name of a savior. They had little care for anything regarding the complex nature of the subject matter. Churches just wanted more followers as quickly and easily as possible.

If trying to describe to someone the beauty of an idea like timeless, infinite existence (God) in 140 characters or less isn't a perfect representation of that theme, I don't know what is.

"Let's recruit people with catch phrases, zingers, and one-liners about God!"
"Yeah, its not like the entire idea behind a God entity is worth thinking about or discussing in depth or anything."
"Yay!"

It's sad, really that church has become synonymous with recruiting ground and not a place for intelligent, philosophical exploration. /sigh

Heathen Harry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27839235)

I'd think a typical Christian Church would encourage its parishioners to shed the cellphone habit and donate the savings to feed the poor.

My cellphone costs me $2.25 a month, and I'd rather do without it, if we only still had these things called "payphones".

But oh, that's right, they're using twitter for marketing, even though they're not a business, so they aren't supposed to pay taxes.

I get it.

Attendance declining... (1)

JDLazarus (15077) | more than 4 years ago | (#27839275)

Is there a problem with attendance declining in churches? This isn't an anti-religion post... I'm fine with religion - I'm just not sure there's a purpose behind organizations which exist to tell you how to practice something that should be deeply personal. Decline in church attendance should be a sign that we're moving past the need for them and in to a new state of personal spirituality.

As for what would jesus do in 140 characters... wow.

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