Separation of Church and Software

Warning: If you’re easily offended, don’t bother reading below this paragraph.

I saw in my distrowatch feed that Ubuntu Christian Edition has a new release. Last I’d heard — and I openly admit I haven’t paid close attention — the project was dead. So it’s kind of like Lazarus rising from the dead.

After seeing the screenshots, I can see that my blog is likely unreachable by people using UCE because of my profanities. Fuck. That’s reason enough for me to recommend others stay the hell away from UCE!

ucewtf01

My bad words no doubt trigger such filters, but I bet embedded video of or even links to Fox News Channel hotties (un)crossing their legs and showing panties won’t. Don’t whine to me about the link. Would you want O’Reilly over that? I’m only making a point about the ineffectiveness of filtering software and how relative things — some of the content on “safe” sites (the above link is pretty tame compared to what else I could’ve linked) can be more offensive to some people than a few bad words– are.

I’m not against parents taking steps to protect their kids from things they shouldn’t hear or see (we do that, too). I think the effectiveness of filtering software is very debatable and not a replacement for supervision. To make it a central part of a “remix” or operating system under any guise is a bit flimsy. Ultimately it restricts the user(s) from desired data. The famous example of blocked searches for breast cancer because of the word breast is the tip of the iceberg. And, ultimately, it can be defeated by using more clever search terms.

Filtering software is no match for a fourteen year-old boy’s impulses no matter how devout he and his family are. He will find the content he wants whether it’s sexually arousing or instructive in the manufacture of small explosives. A filter is but a speed bump, a minor obstacle.

How does use of such software make anything Christian or Muslim or Jewish or even Satanic? It just makes life a bit restrictive and cumbersome. That’s all.

I’m also not against people believing whatever they want. I think there’s a disservice to humanity when people join together over axioms, things they can’t prove or measure, particularly when those axioms have been used throughout history as reasons to separate humanity (which seems anti-thetical to Ubuntu’s raison d’être, which is a wider and more humanist view of the world) through war and oppression. Jihad is crusade is jihad. It doesn’t really matter which religion is being pushed if it’s at the end of a blade or the barrel of a gun. You can’t separate the good from the bad in history; it’s patently dishonest to brush aside inconvenient parts of the story to paint only a rosy picture. With every religion comes fundamentalism, and with fundamentalism comes crimes against humanity — it’s historically inseparable whether the religion is Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, or anything else.

One more thing about history. The ugly brown wallpaper shown in the UCE screenshots I saw had a common (mis)representation of Jesus. Such art, whether painting or statue, makes Jesus to be WASPy, much the goyim. For its Son of God series, the BBC commissioned an artist to come up with a more historically and culturally accurate portrait. Somehow, even if there were no copyright issues I don’t think the UCE people would use such a representation. Even if they’ve never seen him to know the difference.

I don’t know how many people use religious-oriented versions of any operating system. I don’t know if the people drawn to things like UCE or Islamic remixes are up to no good. I presume most of them are devout and sincere, fine and upstanding members of the wider community of man. Hopefully these things aren’t being used to further divide people, beguiling the weak and impressionable with promises of another, better world if only they make this one hell for any who oppose them.

I’d like to think that with technology and the Internet the world is growing closer together rather than further apart. Just as science and technology have dispelled many myths and legends, science and technology can do what most religions have promised but none has delivered: a better world for all people, in the here and now.

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