Twelve Terrible Facebook Jesus Memes – UPDATED

One of the most remarkable religious media phenomena of recent years has been the development of massive Christian Facebook accounts.  They post silly graphics of Jesus comforting children with words like, “LIKE and SHARE if you believe Jesus loves you!”  Or, worse (?), they post videos of kittens or children doing cute things, things that have nothing whatsoever to do with Christ or faith, and say, “LIKE if you thing God makes the most adorable little angels!”

Then, of course, once they’ve reached a couple million Facebook followers, they make money by linking their followers to products or websites that want their traffic.  Most of them don’t tell you that they’re paid to drive traffic to a website.  But they are.

Now, to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with putting together compelling graphics and encouraging people to share them.  There’s also nothing wrong with building an audience and charging advertisers who want to reach that audience.  I’m a capitalist.  And I’ve begun to explore some ways of utilizing some of these techniques, but doing so (I hope) with integrity and theological substance.  So at the Evangelical Portal Facebook page, we’ve begun to share daily Bible passages and quotes from the likes of Spurgeon, Kierkegaard and C.S. Lewis.  I also believe there’s a place for very clear and very simple affirmations of faith, affirmations that Christians across the world can understand and embrace.

What galls, however, are the militantly superficial uses of the image and the name of Jesus, the manipulative ways in which some Facebook accounts encourage/cajole/threaten people to Like and Share the post, and the often-unclarified financial arrangement behind them.  So, for instance, there are images like this one:

This is taken from an actual Facebook account.  And guess what?  It worked.  It got 200,000 Likes.  And when it gets 200,000 Likes, then it spreads the word about that Facebook account — the account grows — and they can charge advertisers more money to reach their audience.  Right after posting this image, the same account posted links to jewelry for sale.  It’s often very hard to find out who is behind these Facebook accounts, in fact.  Is there not something just a tad problematic about this?  At the very least, Christians should understand the media they’re consuming.

So, in an effort to lampoon these sorts of images and techniques, and raise the issue to public consciousness, I decided to make up (TO CLARIFY: THESE ARE NOT ‘FOUND’ MEMES BUT ONES I AM CREATING TO MOCK THE GENRE) Twelve Terrible Facebook Jesus Memes.  I’m going to post one of them here — and at the Evangelical Channel Facebook page — everyday for the next twelve days.  My intention is not to mock Jesus — not in the slightest.  My intention is to mock (and perhaps, just a little bit, to shame) the profound manipulations of Jesus for Facebook gain.  Again, there are right ways of doing this, and wrong ways.  This series is all about the wrong ways.

So, without further ado, here are Twelve Terrible Facebook Jesus Memes, updated daily.

1.  DAY ONE:

DAY TWO (since today is such a big football day!):

Day Three:

Day 4:

Day 5:

Day 6:

 

Day 7:

Day 8:

Day 9:

Day 10:

Day 11:

Day 12:

Come back tomorrow for more.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • John Haas

    Looking forward to the comments!

  • http://www.voluntoldscouter.blogspot.com Eric Larson

    “…the militantly superficial uses of the image and the name of Jesus…”

    In other words, taking the name, image, or person of Jesus in vain. Mormons have a word for this: Priestcraft, defined as setting one’s self up as a light in place of the True Light and/or using the sacred for personal gain.

    By their fruits ye shall know them.

  • http://PoetAndPriest.com Paul Hughes

    Is it odd to criticize you for doing something you probably did to avoid ranting unfair attacks from people who do not read closely enough? I guess we really can’t please everyone.

    That being the case why not ignore possible ranters and not over-apologize for your position? I mean the “nothing wrong with … ” sentences. If the ‘reader’ gets lathered about that, let them — they’re not paying attention. Focus on the ones who can handle good writing and incisive analysis.

    That way, you don’t have to write the equivalent of, “I’m not saying sex is bad, I’m just (!!) saying don’t strip naked in public and pole dance the street sign.”

    I can see arguments for ignoring these people, but if we’re going to go after people insulting Christ, shouldn’t we use the best tools we have, without apology?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I completely hear you. I hate stuffing posts with qualifications. Not only is it onerous, but it makes the post much less punchy. Partly I went ahead with the qualifications and provisos in this case because I’m a blogger but also the managing editor of the Evangelical Channel, and I don’t want people feeling as though I’m disrespecting Christ, and partly because I wanted to explain why we’re going ahead with some FB images (nothing like this!) even as I’m mocking the abuses.

  • http://geezeronthequad.com Dave Swartz

    There is a Christian public mind…and it consists of butterscotch pudding.

  • Sheila Warner

    They just keep getting worse and worse, don’t they? I also hate the stupid little cliches found on church signs, such as “7 Days Without Prayer Makes One Weak”. Arrrggghhhh!


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