Monday, September 28, 2009

Right End Wrong Means?

This video is currently quite popular with many, especially proponents of God and those who want to prove God exists. I am a follower of Christ. I believe in God. However, I do feel that sometimes, our over-enthusiasm to 'prove' God can unwittingly prod us toward behaviour that is questionable or even unethical.

This video is said to be backed by the Government of Macedonia to inform the masses that religion ought to be considered part of the classroom. After all, why should atheists be the ones who have the only say about public education? Considering that Macedonia is part of that great European continent where Christendom was prominent in the early 3rd Century till the 16th-17th Century, it should not be strange that religion be included in any curriculum.

My personal opinion is that this video lies within the domain of 'questionable ethics.' Can we use a false story, adopt a false name in order to propagate truth? If for example, the video openly states that it is a fictional story and uses a fictional character.  Then people will know that the story is as good as the director's cut. Instead, we see a supposedly dramatization of a real character called Albert Einstein, dated (1879-1955). There are a couple of other reasons why I am not certain of the authenticity of this video.

Firstly, there is no proof that Einstein actually said that, or had that conversation with the Professor. The popular email that has been circulated depicts a smart student with an atheist professor. Secondly, this email has been classified as a hoax by Snopes,Urban-Legends, and others. There was even a claim that Einstein himself does not believe in a personal God. In fact, the first few seconds of this video remind me of another widely circulated email of the same theme. I remember the first time I read it, I was absolutely awed. Only later, I discovered that it was a hoax. (For more on learning how to detect email hoaxes, click here.) Thirdly, even though the arguments in the video may sound convincing, in a real court of law, it can be dismissed on the basis of a technicality, which is attributing false names to a story. For that matter, the proponents of the video may even be charged for misrepresentation. I will be more at ease if the video is more upfront about it, by not naming Einstein at all, or perhaps state that it is a 'fictional' work. Maybe that is how commercials work in the first place. Have we not seen commercials where a family appears happy when they are sitting smiling in a brand new family van? The viewer will typically know that this is a marketing gimmick. If the "Does God Exist" commercial becomes a marketing gimmick for God-proponents, I think it not only discredits the arguments per se, it taints the righteousness of God's people. Finally, I have not been successful in finding out the source of the video, about the "New Moment New Ideas Company," the Government of Macedonia websites, about the Creative director, Dusan Drakalski; and the Art director, Nikola Vojnov. They are still mysteriously quiet making me wonder if the names were liberally used as much as the way "Albert Einstein's" name were used in the video? If you know of any authenticity in these names, do let me know and clear my doubts.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for supporting efforts to share the good news of God's presence in the world. I am just not keen on using wrong means to justify ends, no matter how right they are. If there is a tendency for anything to mislead people from truth, it is ethically wrong. As much as we accuse the Da Vinci Code of misusing facts, likewise we should not use the "Does God Exist" video as a way to vindicate truth.  Indeed, the Internet is full of information and lots of misinformation. How do we tell the difference? One way is to check the sources and do some personal research on it. Another way is simpler, though a little more radical and counter-cultural: Unplug your computer. Sigh. Easier said then done.


1 comment:

km chung said...

Thank you for taking the trouble to check the video out. I didn't think to check the origin and after some thought and reading your comments have decided it's best to simply remove it from my facebook as a precaution till clearer facts on this can be established.

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