This is an email i received, it had been forwarded to dozens of people before me, mostly Bible believing evangelical Christians who kept sending it on. An interesting opportunity to probe the psychology of junk.
Note the implicit threat for those who do not send it on. To think the reformation occurred several centuries ago and was supposed to do away with this talismanic, fear induced religiosity. It does raise a number of questions. If you are one of the senders, tell me :
- when you send this, do you really believe that this image has secret powers and that unless you send it on you will die, or that some other misfortune will befall you ?
- is it that you are not too sure, you just don’t want to have to find out?
- or it’s just easier to send it than to think about it, you prefer to shift the responsibility to someone else?
For once I replied the email, as follows :
“It is most unfortunate that persons will make mockery of the gospel by turning it into some superstitious talismanic junk. We are saved and delivered by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross and in His resurrection, not by images of dubious origin. This sort of thing preys on primaeval fear, superstition and an inadequate revelation of the Son of God and is akin to the peddling of symbols and images as a means to salvation that partly triggered the reformation. I would say it is time charismatic Christians echoed anew the cry of the reformation – sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria”
Okay, so perhaps that was a bit heavy. But i was truly riled up. The above is only one example among others. There are other types of junk email. For instance,
- My girlfriends send me unsolicited poems and stories, which admittedly, are, on the odd occasion, heart-warming
- My family members send dire health warnings and warnings about locking your door at night and not talking to strangers, etc.
- Sundry individuals send superstitious threatening ones like the one above.
- There are also the ones that appeal to your religious zeal, you know the ones about a new film coming our depicting Jesus as a homosexual. That one gets Christians huffing and puffing.
- Then there are ones that appeal to greed, like the one that triggered this post, Bill Gates is sharing his fortune and all you need to do is forward this email and you will get some of the stash. So everyone forwards it, never mind that this scam has been going for 11 years now, never mind that Bill Gates no longer runs Microsoft, never mind that a quick google search will immediately show that it’s an old hoax, no class action suit has been or can be filed by pepsi cola as is claimed
So, if you get an email you are not sure about – don’t sent it straight away to your friends, – do google it, – do check the facts; don’t believe the final line of the Bill Gates email that you have nothing to lose, yes, you do, your reputation, who wants to come across as a gullible and greedy nitwit; whatever you do,
DON’T SEND IT TO ME.
Oh by the way Bill Gates is sharing his fortune, it’s called the Gates Foundation, possibly the largest charity in the world but the people that get the money are not junk mailers, most probably don’t have email, they are the poorest of the poor.