Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Conservapedia

Well, I'm a Christian and maybe, years ago, would have called myself a conservative. But good grief, I'm done. Not with Jesus, no, I'm sticking with him. But that label seems to have been hijacked by a very small but vocal group. Ugg.
The Chicago Tribune ran a story this week about Conservapedia, a new on-line encyclopedia that promises "unbiased" content as an alternative to that wicked Wikipedia. Except that Conservapedia is full of misspellings, absurdities and an strident bias in the opposite direction.
Created by Andrew Schlafly, Phyllis Schlafly's son, it is supposed to be a conservative-oriented version of Wikipedia for home-schoolers and/or (apparently) people also who don't vacinate their children and think global warming is just political hogwash.
The best post about the flap I've read is here
Do the Conservapedia folks not realize that Wikipedia is not meant to be a definitive source? It's a place for everyone to share ideas and information. It never claims to be unbiased or even infallibly accurate.
Jesus said don't hide your light under a bushel, but let it shine. He said we should be like salt, that changes and flavors everything it touches. He told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Would Jesus create his own site, or would he go post his ideas on Wikipedia? Wikipedia is the perfect opportunity for conservatives to be salt and light--but the Conservapedia group doesn't seem to be interested in that anymore, since they're focused on building conservative salt shakers to insulate themselves from the world.
If most people thought conservative Christians were anti-intellectual, this move will confirm it. The sad part is, this small group does not really represent the views of most people who would call themselves conservative. And it makes more rational conservatives want to drop that label to avoid being connected with these wacky folks. This would be funny if it weren't just so sad.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Keri,
I just started reading your blog and i subscribe to your emails. I think I subscribed because I was touched by your article "Deep Breathing for the Soul" on Christianity Today.com.
I have to say though, I understand where you are coming from with this Conservapedia thing, I didn't even know it existed actually. I don't think I'm a conservative Christian at all, but I do have a desire to homeschool my kids and we have decided against vaccinating for ethical reasons, such as some vaccines being made from aborted human cell lines. But anyway, just hoping you don't throw in those words "homeschooling" or "parents who don't decide to vaccinate" lightly, as there are non-conservative Christians who do choose these things for their family. I don't think its fair to label us with the irrational conservatives of the likes of people who run Conservapedia, that's all.

Anyways, just my thoughts.
Nina

Keri Wyatt Kent said...

Nina,
Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I didn't use those words lightly. Conservapedia really was created with homeschoolers in mind, and the man who created it, Mr. Schlafly, I believe also is against vaccination. I respect your choices, because it sounds like you have thought them through carefully--and looked at all sides of the issues. What I object to is the underlying premise of Conservapedia, which appears to be to prevent people from doing just that--looking at a variety of persepctives. Your situation illustrates my point exactly--people who don't consider themselves conservative choose those things, and people who may consider themselves conservative may not agree with the things on Conservapedia. The label doesn't fit either way.
I was trying to suggest that people who want to share their ideas don't need to keep them in a box with a label that may or may not be accurate.
Thanks for commenting and blessings on you and your family!

San said...

I appreciate this post.

We have family members who homeschool and we're all for it. My sis teaches home schooling seminars, but because we have a public school system where 90 percent of the teachers uphold our values, we went the public route. But I agree, there does seem to be a segment of Christendom in which "the fruit of the Spirit is homeschooling, zero shots, herb-gardening, no television and definitely no Disney (for some no movies at all) and absolutely no Harry Potter." I respect all these choices until they become a measuring stick by which to measure others' spirituality. Until around the Scopes trials, there were no Christian stores or evangelical colleges because Christians engaged with the culture. C. S. Lewis published in the mainstream. We have to find a way to be separate/holy but not arrogant, legalistic, or separate to the point where we live sheltered from the people we need to understand and reach.

Keri Wyatt Kent said...

Amen, San!
thanks for visiting. We have our kids in public school also, and have been active volunteers, members of the PTA, etc.
You make some great points.
thanks!
Keri

Dianne said...

I totally agree with you and will only say that, having come out of that very wacky side myself, I finally came to the realization it wasn't doing anything to attract others to the Jesus of the Bible. The scariest thing of all was the almost prohibition on thinking for oneself and trusting the Holy Spirit to convict . . . hence the need for such wacky websites.

You're going to think I'm nuts but I just wrote a review on your book (Garden of the Soul) this morning which I finally posted tonight. And then I happened to see a link to your site on Lisa Samson's blog later today. I was thrilled to put a face and blog to the name! I really do appreciate the practical approach you take to the spiritual disciplines in this book.