Monday, September 20, 2010

A Christian Google, or Raising Your Turtle-Woman Hybrid

The Atlantic Monthly's Andrew Sullivan blogged yesterday about the minor but real proliferation of, shall we say, "orthodox" competitors to Google: search engines that deliver results filtered according to their compatibility with various faith systems.

Hence, there is imhalal.com for Muslims, jewogle.com for Jews, and seekfind.org for Christians.

Not surprisingly, all three are works in progress. Jewogle seems devoted only to providing information on famous Jews. An enigmatic line on its homepage simply reads, "Did you know that ________ is Jewish?" However, that space remains blank no matter how you click on it--I tried all sorts of creative tactics. And I can't quite figure out how the site will help me if I don't already know any famous Jews. Am I supposed to fill in the blank with my own wishful thinking? "Did you know that Pat Robertson is Jewish?" Or am I supposed to be provocative? "Did you know that Jesus is Jewish?"

I'mhalal, by contrast, is properly devoted to providing "Islamic" searches, but it doesn't significantly alter the results. An I'mhalal search for "jihad" turned out sources similar to those produced by Google. (Notably missing from imhalal.com's list is a link to jihadwatch.com, an increasingly popular--and alarmist--web site devoted to "bringing public attention to the role that jihad theology and ideology play in the modern world.") Links on the side of the results page send you to a Qur'an search or to Al Jazeera's web site.

But if you're looking for a kooky at-work diversion, seekfind definitely takes the cake. Seekfind promises "to provide God-honoring, biblically based, and theologically sound Christian search engine results." However, it significantly filters results, and it produces site lists with an obviously ideological bent. NPR's Habiba Nosheen notes that a search for "gay marriage" sends you to sites devoted to abolishing it. Further, if you search "Democratic Party, you will be sent to sites on Marxism. (Really, seekfind.org? That's a Christian belief?)

It's worth noting that a majority of seekfind's material seems to come from two sites: Probe Ministries, a conservative Christian news outlet, and christiananswers.net. This narrowness notwithstanding, I still wanted to see what else seekfind could turn up, besides slurs against progressives and homosexuals.

So I looked up "Marxism." Seekfind's first result was an essay called "Marxism and Science" that supposedly demonstrates Darwin's reliance on Marxist philosophy in developing his evolutionary theories. I knew that Darwin was a damn commie!

Then I searched "Bill Clinton," only to find a film review for the Tarentino film Kill Bill 2. Sneaky.

Then, to be edgy, I searched "bestiality." The fourth result was a piece called "Animal/Human Hybrids" that takes very seriously the possibility of mad goat-men roving the land. The author writes, "The formation of an entity that is both animal and human raises questions of personhood and challenges our definition of humanness. These beings will inevitably be met with challenges that go beyond identification with a minority group." To say the least!

If my sister produces a turtle-daughter after experiencing the love that really dare not speak its name, the least of my hybrid niece's problems will be minority group identification ... we'd have to be so careful that she didn't accidentally flip onto her back!

Seekfind's not-so-cleverly-hidden message dovetails nicely with an old saw of gay-bashers everywhere--the slippery slope argument. If we allow men to marry men, what's next? Men marrying snakes? Or dogs? And if we allow men to marry dogs, and the dogs have kids, what will we do with the hybrids?

These are weighty matters, but seekfind is here to help you out.

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