The new televangelism isn't sending money to Joel Osteen, it's sending it to the makers of the technology that brings us Joel Osteen. Instead of worshiping the image or the worshiping the image's message, worship the thing. Attribute spiritual meaning to material things. It's safer. There is no harm done. So says Blunt Instrument writer John Birmingham:
The two incidents were unrelated, and yet simple timing and a thematic unity balanced them perfectly against each other. In Khartoum you've got the machinery of a state, powered by Sharia Law, initially threatening to lash a woman for, let's face it, utter fracking nonsense. Now released, after enormous pressure from the West, including Muslim politicians from the UK, she was very much a victim of stupid, unthinking, religious bigotry, which brings us to...And I don't see the materialistic people jumping to defend anyone or anything. They are so numbed that they don't have the energy to even defend their stuff.
...Sydney, where I'm going to take a punt and guess that you've got a couple of morons, inspired by the increasing bitterness of a campaign against the building of an Islamic school at Camden, who've done three minutes of wiki-research on Islamic religious practice before heading off to the butcher to craft their elegant statement on faith and civil society. Either that or a couple of liberal party campaign workers were just getting in a bit of practice.
Well, a pox on all their houses, I say. Soulless, postmodern materialism might be all soulless and po-mo and materialistic. Not to mention really, really expensive. But I don't think anybody's going to strap on a bomb belt, or climb into their white hooded sheet for a little lynch-o-rama cross-burning action, just because somebody else insulted their Bravia, or defamed the prophet Jimmy Choo, or failed to show the requisite level of appreciation for the awesome righteousness of a shiny new Lexus LF-A.
It's fuzzy thinking like this that makes me more than a little nervous for Western civilization. A person has to believe that something is worth defending. A flat-screen TV might not be enough motivation. Then again, for some, it might be.
Secular societies filled with narcissistic recliner dwelling potatoes might not blow anyone else up, but I fear they won't have the energy to defend themselves or their freedom to sit like a lump, either. Like marijuana (which I think should be legalized, by the way), the religion of the Big TV is passive. It won't hurt anyone (although that's debatable, too), but it won't help anyone, either.
Yes, the religious nuts are exasperating, but the materialistic consumer devoid of any belief or mission, seems awfully ripe for exploitation.