I have a pretty eclectic collection of apps on my iPhone, ranging from a pedometer to Domino’s Pizza (which probably explains the need for a pedometer) to Walgreens (who knew you could refill a prescription simply by taking a picture of the barcode?) to a graphing calculator to … well, you get the idea.
The idea that there’s a Bible application, however, would never have occurred to me had I not heard about Edifi, an Android-based tablet that will hopefully “spread God’s word through a tablet”, according to Brian Honorable of Family Christian, the company behind the Edifi.
Family Christian is evidently trying to address the “inevitable intersection of technology and religion.”
Just for kicks and giggles, I searched “Bible” in my iPhone’s App Store, and there were scores of free downloads (and, for .99, I could go for the “Daily Audio Bible” should I so desire).
So why would anyone, even the most devout of Christians, opt for the Edifi, which sells for around $150 and is designed to be similar to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, when there are so many varieties of tablets?
The Christian tablet is more than just an e-reader. It also comes with movie-watching capabilities, Christian radio stations, and even a web browser with built-in “safe search,” so the tablet is safe for the whole family. “We put that on there just in case it was given as a gift to a child, so they wouldn’t have access to things they shouldn’t have access to,” said Honorable. “We definitely had to tailor it to our customers.”
Ah, so there’s the crux of it. Basically, religious radicals are accepting that technology can’t be ignored forever, particularly by teens and tweens, so here’s a great way to control the situation, to micromanage the message that people are hearing in the hopes that they …
… might follow wherever you lead.
Or, of course, you could argue that Family Christian is cashing in on those that do whatever they’re told by loud voices screaming, “This is God’s will.”
Because, honestly, radio stations and movie streaming (not to mention the Bible) are perfectly accessible on tablets that aren’t Edified (heh). Furthermore, I just checked with my technology expert (also known as my seventeen-year-old daughter), and she assured me that parental controls are available in pretty much any sort of tablet out there, not to mention accessing the internet via a computer.
So what, you may ask (and my daughter did), does this have to do with feminism?
Let’s face it, Christianity has a long history of repression. Whether it’s telling women that God believes that they should basically call their husbands “Master”, banning women from positions of power in churches, or, you know, refusing to let same-sex couples marry because of selective reading of a couple of Bible passages (and those are just the tip of a very large iceberg), there is unquestionably a sense of supremacy that many of the loudest voices shout out in the name of God.
And make no mistake, the tsunami is building. Look at the Tea Party. Consider Mitt Romney’s need for a running mate that will appeal to the radical right. It’s all around us, and the Edifi is just one more symptom of a very large problem.
I don’t mean to bash on Christianity here. I am a Christian myself. I went to Sunday School virtually every Sunday until I was halfway through high school, I have read the Bible extensively, and I try to live in a way that Jesus Christ (you know, the guy who famously silenced a mob ready to stone a woman for committing adultery by saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”) would approve of.
It just makes me very uneasy to hear the increasingly loud voices of people backsliding into serious repression in the name of God. I can’t help but view the Edifi as a vehicle to perpetuate this.