Sunday, March 07, 2010

Dial 'G' For God

i am a very strong theist. i believe in the omnipresence and omnipotence of God.i think i know what needs to be done to attain salvation. but there are many who question His existence. they are the doubters and naysayers. the agnostics and atheists. unlike my generation, the younger generation is sceptical about religion. this is more true in europe than in our country.

a recent survey in france has come out with the startling statistics that less than 2% of those in the 18-29 age group of catholics make it to the church every sunday. the young do not find time to go to church, busy as they are in their virtual world of video games, internet and cellphones. social,moral and religious values have taken a backseat.

we are now in an age of the 'instant God'.technology is now at the service of those spiritually inclined-a simple phone call.a group of catholics in france have found an ingenious way of communicating with Him.the name of the company is 'aabas interactive'.mr hautier and his wife camille thought of this service keeping in mind those people who are not able to confess because of immmobility due to age or illness or disabilities. just dial a number. 0 892 46 GOD. it is a pay telephone line called 'le fil du seigneur' which means the line of the Lord. the caller can directly confess his sins to God. the service providers are a bit cautious and circumspect. they say it is only for minor sins. the answerer asks you to press 1,2 or 3. 1 is for advice on confessing,2 to confes and 3 to listen to others' confessions. there is no priest and there is no absolution. it is only a service to help you take the burden of sins off your chest and an aid to prayer and meditation.the cost of the phonecall is quite stiff. 0.34euro/min (rs 22/min), 40% of which would be donated to could also leave your confession and also decide to grant its replay to other users.

the church of france has understandably denounced it. according to the church, the actual presence of the priest is required at the time of confession. confessions cannot be done by phone or internet,they say. on the other hand 'aabas interactive' say that "confession is not the exclusive exercise of a priest. we may confess by meditation and prayer and receive God's grace".

'aabas interactive' are clever marketeers. they have chosen the period of "lent" (the period of fasting and confessions before easter) for this initiative. for a start, they are expected to make money. but in the long run whether it is a viable business model, time and faith alone will tell.

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