Saturday, 19 April 2008

Oi! You're in a Ghetto! - Why I Hate GodTube

I don't know how coherent this post is going to be. I'm pretty angry about this whole thing.

Lately there's been a trend online to make Christian versions of popular sites. Things like MyChurch (Christian MySpace) I think kind of, sort of, have their place. As far as I can understand, MyChurch is actually geared for churches to share resources with one another which is fair enough. But I seriously have a problem with the whole idea of a Christian social networking site - the following applies just as much to that idea as it does to GodTube (Christian YouTube).

I hate GodTube. I hate it. As I'm writing this I'm actually physically twitching that is how much I hate it. I hate the idea behind it. I hate that it exists. I hate that someone thought that it has to exist. I hate that on the front page it says "GodTube is unique in its appeal and in its mission to 'Broadcast Him'" when really it is not broadcasting at all but is instead pandering to an incredibly narrow audience. I hate the illusion that it is being an effective witness. The whole thing is screwed up, and here's why:

When I read the New Testament - particularly the Gospels and the book of Acts - nowhere do I see the Christians huddling together ignoring the 'outside world'. In his ministry, Jesus was incredibly engaging with the 'world' (as the church so often likes to put it) as was the early church.

I went to a Christian music festival last Easter. It was brilliant. I had heaps of fun. But I also think that ideally, the Christian music industry the festival is based on probably shouldn't exist. I think having a drug and alcohol free festival is a positive thing, don't get me wrong, but the whole idea of a separate industry specifically for Christian music is just terrible.

Why can't Christian music be played alongside 'mainstream' music? Why can't Christians upload videos on a 'mainstream' site like YouTube?

The very idea that there is a 'Christian' version of a thing and a 'mainstream' version of a thing removes Christians from the mainstream and thus out of dialogue with the people who populate that mainstream. If I'm not mistaken, as Christians maintaining that dialogue is our job. That might come as a surprise to many of the non-Christians reading this, but the Christians should know what I'm talking about. At least I hope they do. If they don't then there's a long way to come back.

A poisonous culture of ghettoing ourselves away has arisen in the last couple of decades which I find just despicable. It portrays an image that we're too good for everyone else. We'll play our own games over here and you can't play unless you already know the rules. Want to know why I know this? Because when I was reading the comments of that Creationism video I stumbled across this little gem:
For those who can't read that it says, The Creationists are all over on GodTube. Can't hang with sinners.

It leads to incredible misconceptions of Christians as a group. Somehow George W. Bush has become our ambassador to the world, and I find that absolutely astounding. I mean George W. Bush the president? What are the things many people think of when they think of that man? Stupid. Closed-minded. Not environmentally conscious. Protector of big business. Conservative. Warmonger. Hypocrite. Lier.

Is this the image Christians deserve? I don't think so, but try convincing someone who's only interaction with Christians is through the media's coverage of George and an overly-strict nun who taught them in primary school. In my entire year of being on YouTube I've come across less than half-a-dozen self-confessed, practicing Christians. Are the Christians really all over on GodTube?

We've cut ourselves off from important, significant relationships by creating sites like GodTube. It's a self-destructive, suffocating impulse for self-preservation and it has to stop. Now.


  1. "That might come as a surprise to many of the non-Christians reading this..."

    Hm, actually not. I'm a non-Christian and I totally get what you mean. I also agree about Godtube. It's not "brodcasting" when you limit your audience to people who are already Christians, and maybe a few curious passers-by.

    As an American it may be different for me, but I've found that I hear a lot of Christian music on "mainstream" stations. More than I ever thought, actually. We have separate Christian stations too, but it's especially the rock bands that crossover quite often.

    As to George Bush being your ambassador to the world, I believe I can claim he's seen as more of a American than a Christian representative (unfortunately for some of us). And besides, I think most people have dealt personally with Christians, so have someone other than just George Bush to use as judgment.

  2. Yeah, I don't think of Bush as a 'Christian', I just see him as all the other descriptors you mentioned. I think it is rather contradictory to go and segregate separately. Kinda highschool clique-y if you want to look at it that way, really.

  3. Interesting post. Actually I guess you would probably know that in Australia in regard to radio licenses there are "broadcasting" licenses and "narrowcasting" licenses. GodTube is surely an exercise in "narrowcasting." Mind you, I don't know if its a bad thing necessarily. All across the board there are these kinds of "communities of interest" in existence. Groups that form because of some shared interest or belief. I mean are you going to stop going to church and have communion at a shopping centre, because that's where the "mainstream" are hanging?

    I have no problem with Christianity per se. I would suggest the music of hillsong is certainly an acquired taste. The reason there is this segmentation of secular versus religious is surely an exercise in supply and demand. But again... people go to communication channels that have things that interest them. Country music fans don't watch Channel V.

    I kind of think you protest too much.

  4. I am a christian and i absolutely agree with you. i have only been to the Godtube site once, and i see what your saying about hiding away in a little corner all by our lonesome. Jesus Himself said "Go into all the world and preach the gospel..." so your absolutely right. the only thing i would disagree with you on is christian music.christian music was created so that christians would have music mor positive to listen to. i do agree however that it should be played along mainstream music. yeah i don't like Godtube ether.

    peace out-Jacob