Thursday, July 26, 2007

This HAS to be a joke, right? Please...

I'm sure this is a fake web-thing, designed to tweak Christians with any sense of propriety at all... Please, someone tell me this is a joke (click start):



Here's the website (and I hate to give it anything that even looks like a plug). Is it possible that people are (1) so hungry for a word from the Lord and (2) so ignorant about the truth that something as obviously silly - and as blasphemous - as this appears even remotely appealing? Here's part of their pitch:

"A history changing event is about to occur. Soon over 2.1 billion Christians worldwide will be able to have private, verbal conversations with virtual Jesus from any phone, anytime, anywhere on a daily basis. TalkToJesus uses advanced speech and AI technology to help millions connect with God personally and hear the Bible read interactively like never before. TalkToJesus will be a personal tool to help those in need...TTJ will have a soothing, caring and inspiring voice. He will learn your name and address you personally. He will read from the Bible, listen to sins and console. Jesus will pray with you interactively, and you will be able to ask Jesus numerous theological questions. TalkToJesus will educate, guide, console, forgive and more. Nothing like this has ever been done before. While millions have heard the word of God and embrace Jesus, TTJ is an extension to help people further in their lives."

Words (almost) fail me. Even if this is a joke, its not funny.

For me at least, I'll just continue to talk to Jesus the old-fashioned way - through reading God's Word, and through the amazing REAL (not virtual) access provided to us into the very presence of God through prayer on the basis of the merit of the shed blood of our Lord Jesus:


Therefore, brothers,since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful Hebrews 10:19-23 (emphasis added)


We don't need a "virtual jesus"... we already have access to the REAL JESUS.

He DOES speak to us, through His revealed Word, the Bible (Hebrews 4:12). He DOES speak to us - through the ministry of His Holy Spirit (John 17, especially vs. 13-14).

*He speaks to the world as well (John 17:8-11).

*He gives us forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9).

*He leads His own into obedience (John 10:27).

*He makes His will and purpose known to us. He provides wisdom and direction to us when we ask believing (James 1:5-6).

*He provides real comfort and peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

*And strength (Ephesians 3:14-19).

*And words to speak at the time we need them (Luke 12:12).


All of this and much more promised to us in the Bible, and without failure to deliver. We DO hear from Jesus... if we listen in faith. And there is no "tech support" or registration required - just this word of instruction:


"You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

I love the legal fine print on the bottom of the site: "Disclaimer: TalkToJesus is intended for entertainment purposes only. It is not the actual Jesus." No kidding! Well, there seems's to be no limit to what men will mock for "entertainment purposes," and no end to man's desire to play to spiritual hunger and ignorance in man. And while there is, in many quarters these days, a "famine of God's Word" (Amos 8:11), thank God that He is a God who listens to, and speaks with His people. May we be a people who listen to, and speak with Him as well.

6 comments:

Shiloh Guy said...

Here's the part that really struck me. "Each time we talk I will have the opportunity to learn more about you..." And all this time I thought he already knew me!

How in the world do you find all this stuff on the internet?

Dave

Anonymous said...

I learned the hard way about this fake Jesus thing. I used to talk to one of his people all the time, never realizing that I was being duped.

Then one day the fake Jesus guy told me that I had to raise my hands to experience "spiritual growth"....

Well, I got out of there just in time, but many of my friends weren't so lucky. From what I hear, one guy lost an arm when it got caught in the spinning lights. Another guy had all of his anonymous notes thrown out. A third guy got his name written in a book that was passed around for all to see. Countless others were just ignored to death... It was a shame.

There are many frauds out there. Some are just more obvious than others. Beware, people.

Curious George said...

I'm missing where this is so apostate. If you read the details of the site, the purpose is that you call, answer some questions, and it reads to you some scriptures that are related topically to your issue/question.

What is the difference between that and opening a Concordance or a reference book and looking for Scriptures under a topical index?

They also make it very clear that this is not a substitute for Jesus, and they really compare themselves to any other search engine or scripture research tool:

Of course you have your own relationship with God, Jesus, the Universe and your spiritual leaders. TalkToJesus will never replace those and wasn’t meant to. TTJ is simply an incredibly unique service, where, if you need to connect with passages from the Bible and don’t know where else to turn, you can call up, talk through the issue, and get a relevant answer from scripture, tailored to your specific need.

It’s an innovative way to search for answers from the Bible that’s never been done before. There are several good Bible lookup sites on the Internet, including www.biblegateway.com — we’re just taking it to the next level.


You can cry foul that this is blasphemous, but the truth is that Christians do this all the time. We buy CD's because the songs relate to our specific issues, we buy books that deal with our specific issues. Heck, we cherry pick verses all the time to suit our needs. This doesn't really sound all that different.

If the site is real, then it's biggest mistake is calling it Virtual Jesus. If they called it MobilePrayer, PrayerAssistant, or ScriptureVoice, or iPhoneBible, then you wouldn't have a problem with it.

Personally, I think the portion about a way to get some topical Scriptures on the fly is a great idea, so that part sounds great. But they had to know that calling it Virtual Jesus was going to make waves.

Doulos Christou said...

Welcome George... thanks for dropping by!

I'm not sure we were looking at the same website. You said

"If you read the details of the site, the purpose is that you call, answer some questions, and it reads to you some scriptures that are related topically to your issue/question....they really compare themselves to any other search engine or scripture research tool."

I thought it said something like this:

"...He will learn your name and address you personally. He will read from the Bible, listen to sins and console. Jesus will pray with you interactively, and you will be able to ask Jesus numerous theological questions. TalkToJesus will educate, guide, console, forgive and more. Nothing like this has ever been done before."

Nothing? Note even a concordance? :)

No, George, this goes FAR beyond http:www.biblegateway.com. This is a marketing ploy which (at least for "entertainment purposes") pretends to substitute Jesus.

You might consider the first 4 words of the video, which says:

"Hi. This is Jesus."

No, it isn't. BTW, that's a pretty big difference between this thing and a Bible search tool.

As for my use of the term "blasphemous," I'm using it within its general meaning - with regard to something which is "grossly irreverent toward what is held to be sacred."

I'm calling this blasphemeous precisely because it is, IMO, grossly irreverent towards the Real Jesus. The whole schtick here is that you can call to talk to Jesus... to pray to him, seek guidance from him, hear from him... in its words "its up to you." Feels more like going to a fortune teller to me than Strongs Concordance. Let's also leave aside the substitution of some search engine to answer questions as opposed to the direction of the Holy Spirit.

George, how would you stack this up in compliance with the 3rd commandment (Exodus 20:4)? I'd say it's in trouble there, too.

I would have compared this "thing" to "bobble-head Jesus" or "action-figure Jesus" but this is actually worse because - on its face - it proports to be able to converse with those who call, and to even have the ability to answer, forgive, comfort and bless them.

Concordances don't "hear confessions" and "forgive sins." They don't pretend to talk to you, to "comfort you." There's a big difference, my curious friend, between a resource and an imposter - even an "entertainment" imposter.

So, I'll stick with my conclusion, which is that this is yet another trashy, ignorant, profane - blasphemous - attempt for the unscrupulous to fleece the ignorant.

You're welcome to your opinion. Even though I think you're wrong.

Feel free and straighten me out if you still think I'm missing your point. BTW, it looks like you're in a house church in Cleveland... I've got a great friend from that part of the world, so I'm disposed towards listening!

dovestar said...

This is the reply I posted on their website.

Dear Talk to Jesus team,

After prayerful consideration of your idea, it occurs to me that this is an example of a “false Christ” mentioned by Jesus (the Real One). To prove this to you, please permit me to answer you point by point from your original ad:

1. "A history changing event is about to occur. Soon over 2.1 billion Christians worldwide will be able to have private, verbal conversations with virtual Jesus from any phone, anytime, anywhere on a daily basis."

There is nothing history changing about this. Any Christian worth his or her salt knows that we have been able to talk to Jesus for free anytime we want to. And we don’t even need a phone.
If you know anything about the Christian faith, you already should know we don’t need a phone to talk to Jesus. He’s always available-24/7 even if you’re in a hard-to-reach area.
O, I see you said VIRTUAL Jesus. Is there something wrong with the Real One that He needs a little help? Careful…

2. "TalkToJesus uses advanced speech and AI technology to help millions connect with God personally and hear the Bible read interactively like never before."

Interesting. In your disclaimer (the small print that almost nobody notices) you say that your techno-Jesus is not the real Jesus and further claim that your techno-Jesus is for "entertainment purposes only". But in your ad you say you’re, “helping millions connect with God…” OK, which is it?
Incidentally, the Real Jesus has already found a way to help millions connect with God.
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:26.
You see, we don’t need any help to connect with God. We already have the Holy Spirit.

3. "TalkToJesus will be a personal tool to help those in need."

How so? Are you going to read soothing Scriptures in a soothing voice of whoever you select to portray virtual Jesus? Are you going to keep those Scriptures in context? And what will you say to the homosexual when that lifestyle is condemned repeatedly throughout Scripture? Will he get the same soothing voice that tells him he can live like that?

4. "TTJ will have a soothing, caring and inspiring voice. He will learn your name and address you personally."

Fascinating. But the REAL Jesus already knows my name. He doesn’t need to learn it. And the REAL Jesus also knows how many hairs are on my head and a lot more things about me. Checkmate.

5. "He will read from the Bible, listen to sins and console."

Will He read things in context? Will he also read from the Mormon Bible or the Jehovah’s Witnesses one? How about the Koran? Will your techno-Jesus speak with authority? And what about listening to sins? Are those conversations recorded? And can hackers listen in? As for the REAL Jesus, I can tell Him whatever is on my heart (and He already knows that better than I do) and there’s not a single hacker in all the universe who can hack in to that conversation. As for console, His Word gives me all the consoling I need.

6. "Jesus will pray with you interactively, and you will be able to ask Jesus numerous theological questions."

He will pray with me? Does that mean I pray TO this pc board thing? Far more advanced than a golden calf, I’ll admit. Speaking of cows, I suppose you’re using this gizmo to milk Christians of their money.

7. "TalkToJesus will educate, guide, console, forgive and more."

Your techno-Jesus will educate? What can he teach me that I can’t learn from the Scriptures seeking the leadership of the Holy Spirit? Guide? More like guide me into iniquity. Any substitute for the REAL Jesus is idolatry. You can disclaim that all you want, but I don’t think disclaimers saved those guys that made the golden calf either.
Forgive? You’ve got to be kidding. How can a blob of wires, diodes, transistors, processors, and RAM forgive anyone? This thing has MEMORY, folks. That means it remembers. The REAL Jesus forgives and forgets. My sins are not remembered against me anymore. Top that, OK.

8. "Nothing like this has ever been done before."

O yes it has. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. “ John 3:16. I could easily offer a number of other Scriptures to prove my point. God took the initiative and reached for us and gave us a line of communication with Him (It’s called prayer, folks) that needs no phone, is not dependent upon our paying a subscription fee, and you don’t need some electronic gizmo that the battery fails when you really need to “Talk to Jesus”. Jesus never fails and He will neither leave us nor forsake us. He don’t need batteries. And I don’t need tech support’s number to be able to pray to Him.

9. "While millions have heard the word of God and embrace Jesus, TTJ is an extension to help people further in their lives."

If you think about it, this techno-Jesus can actually do more harm than good. Imagine a young man who subscribes (at $14/month) and the fees are automatically deducted from his credit card. He loses his job, and after much searching cannot find another. Months pass. He's talked to everyone he can think of for advice and help. His credit card is maxed out. Now he decides to "Talk to Jesus". He dials up the number and hears a recording telling him that his subscription has expired. "Now even Jesus won't talk to me", he wails. He goes into his room and blows his brains out. Far fetched? I don't think so.
Jesus wants you and I involved in people’s lives. And that doesn’t mean charging them a fee to “pray” to some electronic gizmo. We have His Word, the Bible. As for an extension, He already gave us one. It’s called THE CHURCH, folks. I wouldn’t try to replace THAT, because Jesus (the real one not your collection of wires) has promised that the gates of hell wouldn’t prevail against it. Seems to me He might be awfully mad about someone trying to replace the CHURCH with a collection of diodes, transistors, and capacitors. He just might RAM the truth down your throat.

In short, your TTJ (Theological Trash and Junk) is the modern equivalent of the golden calf. People will grow to depend upon what this techno Jesus says, and you just might misquote the REAL One. My advice to you, scrap this nonsense, repent, and ask the REAL Jesus to forgive this cheap trashing of His Name. Go outside your comfort zone and get involved in people’s lives. Jesus doesn’t need a cheap electronic gizmo to give people a buzz. He needs your hands and mine to show the world His love.

Have a nice day.

Indafog said...

Ok... blasphemy definitively... proof that there is a sucker born every minute... DEFINITIVELY... Couldn't help but chuckle... even if it isn't really that funny!!!!