I had to drop America Online years ago for spiritual reasons. Every time I would get “kicked off line” at the worst possible moment by AOL I would have a very difficult time applying Ephesians 5:4.
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
I dabbled with instant messaging to communicate with a college-aged son. But my exposure to America Online has been from a distance in recent years. Today I found a story. about my old nemesis. Here is some of that report about a new advertising slogan that some are finding offensive.
“America Online is now acting like God – using what some consider to be His very name in a marketing pitch for e-mail, voice chat, video chat, instant messaging, text messaging and other forms of communication. AIM’s new slogan is “I AM.” A customer interviewed at the site was not happy with the marketing approach. Ian Millar wonders if any of AOL’s marketing and planning directors ever went to Christian Sunday school or attended Jewish services. (they might have but they were probably IM’ing during the service) Miller points out to AOL executives that “I AM” is the English translation of YaHWeH, the self-proclaimed name of God.”
“He is the Creator and Savior of the world,” explains Millar. “He alone is to be worshiped. To take His name in vain, or use as a common thing is blasphemy, a vulgar sin of offense. Perhaps you have not read the Third Commandment, since they have removed it from so many public monuments in the last decade. But breaking it as a means of marketing your products offends the mind of everyone who worships Him.” (http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48585)
I am sure that Mr.Millar is sincere in his convictions. But I am going to go back to one of my core questions on culural issues. Is this a battle worth fighting? I guess we need something to get exorcised over this week. The Book of Daniel is off the air and many have moved on from spearing Every Tribe Entertainment’s decisions concerning End of the Spear. A good midweek dose of righteous indignation might be just the ticket. But I think this early outrage at AOL is a bit of a stretch. Their “I Am” campaign looks to me like a clever (to them) word scramble of AIM.
The ads say things like “I Am Instant Messaging” or “I Am Voice Chat.” I looked up several definitions of idol and idolatry to see if my overwhelming underreaction was out of line. The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry offered the following definitions.
An idol is a representation of something in the heavens or on the earth. It is used in worship and is often worshiped. It is an abomination to God (Exodus 20:4). Idolatry is bowing down before such an idol in adoration, prayer, or worship. Blasphemy means speaking evil of God or denying Him some good which we should attribute to Him. Blasphemy arises out of pride (Psalm 73:9,11), hatred (Psalm 74:18), injustice (Isaiah 52:5), etc. (http://www.carm.org/dictionary)
I think we might to look elsewhere for this week’s outrage. I doubt that anyone will be worshiping the new instant message program or logo. Nor do I see a blasphemous intent in their campaign. But I will continue to pound my drumbeat on this one point. If the culture opens a door, go through it. I refer you, kind readers, once again to the genius of Paul. The apostle was “greatly distressed” by the number of idols he witnessed as he walked around Athens. Did he boycott? Did he put up giant placards or lead chants? Paul walked through the open door of culture with this brilliant opening.
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. (Acts 17 – NIV)
And Paul proceeded to powerfully lay out his message. Christian AOL users can engage others in the real meaning of I AM. Send a message about another one who claimed the I AM name. Here is what Jesus said in the Gospel of John.
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 5 – NIV)
The Jesus campaign packs a little more punch that “I am instant messaging.” His slogan is “I Am Eternal Life” and “I Am Forgiveness.”
Now there is an instant message worth saving to your memory.