Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Like God

Taffy - Lisa Loeb (mp3)
Just Like Zeus - Jenny and Johnny (mp3)

God is on Facebook. Almost 3 million people Like Him.

Jesus is on Facebook. He takes many forms. His most popular is called Jesus Daily. 5.6 Million people Like Jesus Daily.

The first thing worth noting is that, on Facebook, Jesus is more popular than God.

Maybe it’s a generational thing. Maybe God doesn’t really quite understand how the Internet works, or how to use those newfangled smart phones. Maybe Jesus is sitting in his wing of their palatial estate in Heaven, with his netbook and Xbox and iPad, checking out the entire world with the electronic powers of modernity. God, meanwhile, watches us the old-fashioned way, with hard work, sweat, and the perfect Omniscient Eyeballs app He uploaded to his own hard drive at the time of Genesis 1:1.

Or maybe this is one more moment where God is a jealous God, and he’s trying not to get too worked up that his Son is more popular than He is.

Jesus was a pretty nice guy in the 33 years he lived, so I imagine God would have a tough time being too angry about it. He would likely be proud of his only begotten son, that whosoever should Liketh him might have everlasting Facebook status updates.

But enough of the cute easy jokes.

In truth, I was strangely troubled that God was on Facebook. I was bothered at people Liking God.

Ultimately, I’m a believer. I believe in God. I can make jokes and trip the sacrilige fantastic because I kid the ones I love. Just ask my wife or anyone else in my circles of affection. I can joke with and about God because I love Him. Which is to say, I don’t Like Him.

And yes, there is a big, big difference.

It just so happens I have a prize-winning author supporting my point. The morning after I encountered God on Facebook, my BOTG pal Bob showed me the NYTimes op-ed from Jonathan Franzen, more or less the message he delivered at Kenyon College’s commencement. Please don’t let the following awesome excerpt keep you from reading the whole thing::
If you dedicate your existence to being likable, however, and if you adopt whatever cool persona is necessary to make it happen, it suggests that you've despaired of being loved for who you really are. And if you succeed in manipulating other people into liking you, it will be hard not to feel, at some level, contempt for those people, because they've fallen for your shtick.


...A world of liking is ultimately a lie.
It’s fair to accuse me of overthinking the whole Like & Love & God thing, especially in Facebook terms. But I can’t get past it.

You can’t Like a deity.
You can’t Like Ganesha.
You can’t Like Anubis.
You don't invite these folks to the local bar for a few brewskis. They’re not peeps you run into at the office Christmas party. They’re friggin’ gods. Take ‘em or leave ‘em. Love ‘em or don’t. But neither they nor us benefit a whit from us Liking them.

Maybe some people think it’s better to invite the focii of their faith to Facebook. Better to include them in the party than leave them in the cold, right? Besides, if the language of Facebook excludes that silly overrated word "Love," then when in Rome... We’ll settle for Like.

I have several beloved relatives and friends who incorporate their faith into almost every status update. Bible verses. Mentions of Jesus. (Yeah, it’s only Christians who seem to feel this obligation.) I’m not the biggest fan of this approach, but at least it feels more real and from a more genuine place than clicking that I Like Jesus, as if that’s accomplished a damn thing.

Using what is a painfully superficial computer program to release a warm and fuzzy Jesus vibe feels like trying to explain a supernova using a pen light. If the catch phrase is “Don’t Limit God’s Power,” how much more limiting and sad can a deity get than to have their own page on Facebook?

I can see Jesus up in Heaven, holding a statue and crying, "You Like me! You really really Like me!"

* -- Side note: The Holy Spirit only has 97 friends. Holy Ghost! has 15,000, but that’s the name of a band, not the third part of the Holy Trinity.

4 comments:

Bob said...

Here's why the Holy Ghost has so few friends: http://www.theonion.com/articles/god-quietly-phasing-holy-ghost-out-of-trinity,3156/

goofytakemyhand said...

36.5 million like Lady Gaga. Guess she can echo the Beatles' claim that she's bigger than Jesus.

troutking said...

I don't really have a comment on this post because, as a secular non-practicing Jew, I'm not qualified to have an opinion. Usually lack of knowledge doesn't stop me from having an opinion, but in this case I got nothing. However, I do want to say that Franzen piece was pretty great and I especially liked this line: "one-half of a passion is obsession, the other half is love."

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