Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Confession: Friend or Foe?

So, those of you who have been keeping up with me know that I am quite the fan of StumbleUpon, an incredible online resource for wasting time. I recently wrote a Top Five post highlighting some quirky little websites I have found whilst using it, but oh there is more!

A perfect example of why I love PostSecret.
I too hope they are still this happy.
Whilst going blind staring at my laptop for too long, I 'stumbled' upon PostSecrets, which describes itself as an 'ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard' Sounds good, eh? I myself adore it, having always been an admirer of any kind of project that includes the charm and mystery of a strangers input. Postcards range from cute little messages written on lost and found pictures, to cheeky pieces of revenge that the victim will never be aware of.

But it got me thinking, there are other online confession sights right? Yeah, type it into Google, you'll have a ball. To be quite honest with you, I think they are the most bizarre creations. Some have religious tones, others are just a means for people to get something off their chest. is one of those I can just about cope with; little messages of hopeless romantics expressing their feelings of long lost love. 'I held your hand 4 years ago and I think it will be the last time. This makes me sad.' The only thing I feel for these people is a smidgen of pity, because they have no one else to tell other than faceless cyberspace. (I however do not feel sorry for whoever wrote 'The black people on Twitter are really grossing up the place.' Something best kept to yourself maybe?!)

I could be being a touch cynical here; many of these websites declare how liberating it is for people to just let out a secret they have been holding to for too long. Whether it be to a person or letters on a screen, it still feels like you're confiding in someone and you are not alone. Harbouring a secret you feel like you cannot possibly tell anyone in the world for fear of judgement or ridicule can be incredibly hard.

But the internet...really?!

What pains me even more is the idea that people use confession websites to confess to their God. Why create a middle man? (Don't even get me started on confessing to a priest...) Sites like list hundreds of confessions from people wishing to tell the Lord their sins. Granted, writing things down is therapeutic (first hand experience), but when it comes to asking for forgiveness from the Lord, speaking to Him like you truly believe He's a real being is probably the best way to go about it. Could writing it on a website not be deemed trying to avoid going through with the real deal and attempting the find someone human to bypass it onto? Perhaps even to get some kind of approval from a more tangible resource?

Maybe it's the church's way of trying to keep up with new technology: confession for the masses whenever and wherever possible. I strayed from the church a few years ago, things seemed to have evolved since then. Hey, call me traditional, but I always thought confessing the the quiet of your own heart was the best way to find peace as a Christian. I don't think it's possible on the devilishly cruel world wide web.

Let's not forget the real reason why confession websites are a good topic of conversation; they are incredibly entertaining. A new-age version of those teen problem pages or people seeking people ads in the papers. In some ways, you wonder if people write such fantasticly juicy gossip about themselves on the internet because they know a strnager will read it, therefore no repercussions. A way for people to put themselves out there, guilt-free. Is this how people get their kicks these days?

I couldn't resist adding this PostSecret.

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