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Big Brother is watching…

June 11, 2013

…but actually he is pretty inept.

One of the classic assumptions is that the “enemy”, the guys we don’t like or trust, are carefully and methodically, with ruthless efficiency, carrying out a sinister plot to dominate the world.  Their every move is calculated; they are following an evil master plan with precision.  Their goal is to steal our freedom, our peace, our money, our lives.  If we don’t wake up and take action our side, the good guys, will be overwhelmed and all will be lost.

This assumption may be nearly universal but the identity of the bad guys is not.  The enemy might be an evil government or evil big business; evil atheists or evil fundamentalists; evil activists for gay rights or abortion or evil activists against those two; evil people trying to snuff out religious freedom or evil people trying to impose a religious theocracy.  While we can’t agree on who is evil we can agree that they are out there and sneaking up on us and the situation is critical.

Right now it is trendy to be talking about evil government.  At first it was just the evil IRS snooping on conservatives or the evil justice department spying on reporters.  We now find the NSA is following all of us; all our phone calls, e-mails, web-surfing, video chats etc.  It’s a great time to be Amish because the evil government hasn’t figured out a way to snoop on their discussions while the family is in the horse-drawn buggy on the way to church.

It is called “data mining.”  The evil other guys are gathering massive amounts of data on us.  They will soon know our every move, every decision, every purchase, every everything.  With this massive amount of information they will soon be able to control us against our will.

Except it appears they don’t.  Even though he was on the terror watch list; though he travelled and called into international hot spots; though he visited radical Islamic websites, the elder Tsarnaev brother escaped the notice on the Feds until he actually set of the Boston bombs.  This actually is not surprising because we all experience something like it.

My supermarket knows everything I buy.  Every trip to the store I scan my customer courtesy card so they have a data base on my every purchase.  They should be able to dictate and steer my every purchase with cleverly targeted ads and coupons.  However, more often than not, coupons printed at the checkout or ads and offers they send by e-mail are for things I’ve never bought and don’t want.

My TV provider has the data on ever program I watch.  They too should be able to target and manipulate me.  But I routinely get promotions for levels of service I already have or “packages” that my current viewing should tell them I have no interest in.  My internet provider is equally inept.  They know my entire web history and can’t figure out what to do with it.  The list could go on and on.

I don’t suppose our passion for the assumption that ruthless enemies are out there will ever go away, it is just a sign of our times.  We Christians pretty much accept the “ruthless enemies” theory completely and wring our hands about them, praying for God’s intervention before it is too late.

Maybe He already has.  Maybe He has made sure that my ruthless enemy is every bit the incompetent bumbler I am.  Maybe my ruthless enemy who is electronically looking over my shoulder as I type this is just as frail and helpless before God as I am.  Maybe he needs my prayers and not my fear.

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From → Christianity

One Comment
  1. I really liked this. You’re right, people a lot of times don’t even know how to use the information they’re gathering. For many people though, that’s not the problem. It’s that we have a right to privacy and it’s being violated. I know what you mean though, and I appreciated this post.
    “It’s a great time to be Amish because the evil government hasn’t figured out a way to snoop on their discussions while the family is in the horse-drawn buggy on the way to church.”
    I loved this line.

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