Click here if you'd like to read some absolute apologetic bollocks that attempts to explain this problem away; firstly by questioning human ability to judge God's thinking process, and then by judging God's thinking process and questioning the judgements of anyone who would come to a different judgement of God's thinking process than the one that they themselves had come to.
I just read an article about a schism that has just opened up within a Christian church group or network or something in England (the details of the politics/alliances eludes me), over the issue of the full inclusion of homosexual people within the church, and the rights of homosexual people within society itself. No doubt, this is happening across the world, and as I read the article just now, I got a particular little kick out of it, something along the lines of the excitement of being alive at an interesting time in history.
Watching even a small section of the Christian church split itself up in response to such a social issue is like watching the mechanisms of evolution by natural selection kick into action. It’s like watching a rising sea level separate a species of animal in two. This exact kind of thing is the catalyst of each next stage of evolution! Throughout biological history, this is the start of something that’s going to make a huge difference in the world in future epochs. Things get traced back to this kind of event.
When one species is suddenly cut off from itself into two (or more) groups, and suddenly they can’t mix and interbreed any more, they’re headed in two different directions, and over the course of millions of years the two groups may evolve and mutate in vastly different ways - and probably only one, at best, might end up surviving. Which one? Well, as always, the one that happens to be best suited to survive in the environment in which it finds itself.
Very, very generally speaking, Christianity is a population that has been pretty much united for a very long time on this issue, yet is suddenly finding itself splitting in two. (Relax; I said ‘generally’ with two ‘very’s, remember?) A sea or mountain range has suddenly appeared, and it’s becoming clear that there are now two groups where before there was pretty much only one. They’re going to go in different directions, and there are certain ‘barriers’ to them fully, completely ‘mixing’ henceforth. Chances are, over the course of time, not both of them are going to survive. If one does, which one’s it going to be?
I don’t think that’s a hard question to answer, given that the world is moving, at breakneck speed, towards recognising the full equality of homosexual people, and the principles of full inclusion and equal rights under every aspect of the law come into effect more and more fully month by month- where would you put your money?
Let’s be honest: The secular world has dragged the Christian church kicking and screaming into this debate. Secular ethics is now sculpting the Christian church, and we all get to watch. It’s just too delicious for words.
The social and cultural environment within which an EXclusive mindset that discriminated against homosexual people could thrive and survive is disappearing rapidly. That side of this split is heading off to find that the ‘environment’ that has forever supported it just doesn’t suit it any more. The polarities have shifted suddenly, or the environment suddenly got a lot hotter,… choose your own Darwinian-environmental analogy. The societal values that sustained such an exclusive, negative, and discriminatory view of homosexuality are drying up and disappearing. That side’s going to have a bad time.
The other group, the one that has arisen out of a change in the frequency and effectiveness of certain ideas (those of gay/straight equality, inclusion, equal marriage rights, etc), is heading into an environment in which it will be able to THRIVE; relative to its old-school cousins, at least. The Christianity that welcomes and supports homosexuality is going to have a MUCH easier time getting by. They’re going to have a far better chance of finding a space within the ecosystem into which they can settle and operate. It’s not rocket science, it’s plain old natural selection.
But get this- something else that’s not rocket-science, but kinda mind-blowing when you think of it:
After a time, perhaps a decade or two, perhaps as long as a generation or two, when the INclusive side of this schism is the only real survivor, …. we all know what they’re going to credit their side’s survival to, don’t we?:
God. God’s guidance, God’s voice, God’s truth.
Not the basic mechanisms of natural selection. Not a change in the cultural environment which made it difficult for their less-gay-friendly cousins to survive, and left them at the top of the chain. Not the fact that the frequency and potency of certain introduced memes and values suddenly took hold within their ‘meme pool’ and shaped them to suit the environment into which they found themselves heading… No, no.
Members of the Christian religion in that future time will no doubt look back at how the church seemed to swing towards inclusion of homosexuality, (around the same time as,... hmmmm,... the whole world did), and credit their god with having worked things out such that His true nature in regard to the issue of homosexual equality could finally be expressed in the world. Because that’s what they’ll have then, you see: a full understanding of God’s stance and will on this issue! - and it will be, as it always is, a mirror image of their own stance and will on this issue.
The survival and ‘flourishing’ of their version of theology won’t be viewed as having arisen out of the result of an indifferent process of natural selection, catalysed by overwhelming influence from the secular world - no no: it will be said to have been ordained from above. Designed, intelligently. Their version of Christianity will be seen as the very objective that God had had in mind the whole time, and had built His church towards. Just - ahem- sorry about those millennia where God’s true will couldn’t really seem to get past the cultural context it was at constant effect of, and sorry about how the church operated according to the polar opposite of God’s actual will since pretty much forever… It’s just that Christians ‘back in those days’ didn’t have a true understanding of God’s actual values in that area etc etc, you’ve heard it all before.
The result of a natural, understandable, predictable process, catalysed by the secular world, is going to be credited to God as having been intelligently designed and brought about for his very purposes. When you stop and think about it in the light of the fact that this process is getting underway right now, as we speak, it’s just so crystal clear that ‘God’s will’ itself is a byproduct of natural selection at every stage of human history. It matches perfectly the general underlying socio-cultural values of the time and geographical environment that gave rise to it and sculpted it, at every stage. What an amazing coincidence.
There it is, see? ‘God’s true will’ isn’t anything to do with ‘God’. It’s just the result of a natural process acting upon various ‘populations’, and variations within those populations. But how interesting that here, I think we’re seeing, in this particular case and the countless similar ones that are currently playing out before our very eyes all over Christendom: the next step in the evolution of the Christian religion unfolding, sculpted by the overwhelming society-wide secular revolt against the kind of anti-gay values that that the church has so consistently espoused since as far back as the day that their god was credited with the scriptural order to stone gays to death.
So, allow me to get this in, a few generations or decades in advance: Secular ethics can take a bow. The secular world has pushed back against deep-seated scripturally-sactioned religious dogma against homosexuality, leading the church to even need to have the kind of homosexual rights debate they’re currently grappling with, tying themselves in knots, and splitting themselves up over. Let's be clear: The gay rights movement hardly sprang up from within the Christian church, did it? As an orgnization, they didn’t suggest having this debate. They were led to it.
And the outcome, which even a blind man can see coming, is going to be called “God’s true will” by future generations of gay-friendly Christian believers.
The values that a very very large proportion of the Christian religion are fighting against in today’s world as a gay or progressive ‘agenda’, will be the “God’s true will” of future Christians, thanks entirely to the pushback against traditional Christian values by the secular world.
And people ask us why we bother speaking up against Christianity. Well - this is a kind of whole new reason that even I’d never really seen before: because by doing so we actually get to participate in shaping it.
"The Thing That Made The Things For Which There Is No Known Maker" on Youtube (8:40),
in which the necessity of such a being is 'logically' arrived at, and almost before even the discoverers realise it - its mind, character, requirements, and desires are suddenly known. And declared.
Not that that kind of thing has ever happened or anything.
I’ve been subbing to a bunch of new channels in the last few months, to keep in touch with what’s new and to see what’s up and coming. However, I’m afraid that I’m unsubbing gradually from one channel after the other, and this is a post dealing with why. I’m hoping it will be taken as constructive criticism. There are fantastic channels going these days, but some are shooting themselves in the foot if they want to get an audience worthy of their ideas and presentations.
I’ll say at the outset that I’m not describing “rules” or scientific facts arrived at through extensive research. I’m going to outline two problem areas, as I subjectively perceive them, and I’m aware that it’s possible for channels to succeed and make great videos whilst still running counter to what I describe here. This is pretty subjective, mmmmkay? It describes the reasons why I turn off from otherwise good channels, and I’m guessing, purely guessing, that I’m not the only one.
Keep it short.
Really: who, these days, has time to watch a 25 minute video? Seriously, you could spell out the cure for cancer, but nobody is going to watch it if it’s in a video that warns you, before you click it, that it goes for that long.
Attention spans are short and getting shorter, and you’re jumping into the most incredibly competitive space in human history, as far as attracting and keeping a person’s attention: the internet. The Youtubes. Millions of people uploading billions of hours of content. Don’t call people over to your little stall, and tell them that you need them to give you 25 minutes of their free time on a Tuesday night. They’re going to have gone elsewhere for something less demanding before you know they were even thinking of doing so. Don’t even ask them for 15 minutes. 10 minutes and you’re still pushing the friendship waaaaaaay too far.
Nobody watches long videos from new, relatively unknown channels. Don’t even think you’ll grow a subscriber base if you’re putting out anything longer than 4 or 5 minutes with any regularity.
My channel exploded when I made “Atheist!!!!!”, and not until then. I got the idea for “Atheist!!!” in the shower, had it up on Youtube within two hours, and it went for less than 90 seconds - and everything blew up. It got shared everywhere. I had unheard of numbers of views, which converted into views on all the other content I’d made that had been sitting there doing bugger all. I learned a big lesson.
Nowadays I can get away with making longer videos, but believe me, I’m still searching for the video ideas that can fit under two minutes. I’m repeatedly surprised that I get as many views on the long ones as I do- and I sometimes wonder how much bigger my channel and view count would be if I could get some shorter ideas!
If you want more views, and if you think your videos and ideas are worthy of more views, you’ve got to think like this: 99c is WAY cheaper than $1. Every marketer knows that. A video that goes for 3:50 is WAAAY shorter than one that goes for 4:05. And you’re putting up videos that consistently go for 17 minutes? Forget it, no matter how good they are, you’re not even going to get clicks. Nobody is going to know about how good your ideas are.
As I said from the outset - yes there are video makers that get big views with long videos, I know. And some videos deserve to be long, and some just don’t lend themselves to being cut in half. Take my point here as a general guideline, not a law or a rule. Or don’t take it at all, that’s fine too.
Slow down. Too many videos too frequently.
If you’re putting out videos more frequently than one a week, I think you’re absolutely overloading your audience. I see some channels who are uploading three or four times a week (and I’m not talking about V-logging. That’s a different thing altogether, I know.) I’m talking about content-based, written, scripted, well prepared videos. Even if I like their stuff - I might just not want to see the next instalment in the series the very next day, so I miss one. Then I miss another one, because I don’t want to go back to the one I missed and then watch the next one in one sitting, before the next next one comes out tomorrow or the next day. I give up, because keeping up to speed becomes like a chore.
It’s too “in-your-face” to be dishing up content to your subscribers too often. You want your videos to be a nice, welcome arrival on your subs’ Youtube pages. A nice surprise. “Oh, there’s that guy again, let’s see what he’s come up with now.” Not “Oh, shit, I didn’t watch the one he did yesterday yet,…”
If you’re still getting established and popular, people are not going to give you their attention every day. Don’t expect it of them, and don’t even request that they do by dishing up new content. I’ve unsubbed in such circumstances because it just gets too much. “Oh, another one from him.” “Oh, it’s up to ‘Part 6’ already, and I think I’ve only watched parts 1 and 2. Shit, I don’t have 40 minutes to get back up to speed right now,…”
And - you’ll burn out if you make too many!!! Go ahead and make all the videos in your series if you’ve got the time this week. But then sit on them, and slowly release them over the course of three months, not a fortnight! Let the audience grow at a realistic pace. Let the videos get shared, picked up on blogs, commented on, featured by Youtube,… slow down.
You’re not going to be an overnight sensation, so grow things gradually by putting out consistently good content at a reasonable pace that isn’t intrusive on your viewers’ time, but rather something they look forward to, and wait for.
SO - there’s my four cents’ worth. 2c each.
There are many many more things to say, but these seem the most pressing for now, because as I say, I’m seeing good content go to waste, and I’m on the lookout for good new stuff.
Tell me what you think.
BRACE YOURSELVES: Relentless talk of Noah and his ark is coming.
Glenn Beck, the other day, said that the new Noah movie is "dangerous disinformation". Correct once again, Glenn. And here's your antidote.
Purely as a community service, I've set up a URL and some posters, to help us all assist those who may need a dose of reality, by bringing them to a scholarly documentary containing actual footage from within Noah's office in the immediate lead-up to the flood.
Note: Those who followed my previous blog may recognise this as an edited, re-worked version of something they read in late-2012.
Further note: it contains plenty of f-bombs and even a c-bomb.
I once got a message from someone who wanted to take me to task for having continually cherry-picked the bible, seeking out all of its ugly bits. “After all,” he (she?) said, and I quote, “you have to admit that the vast majority of the contents of the Bible is of love, forgiveness and justice”...
Well. Here is an expanded version of my response. Consider it an open letter. And buckle in: it’s around 2000 words in length. (Not everything I post here will be!!)