A couple of days ago, I did a search on the iPhone App Store under the keyword of ‘atheism’.
There was a free app a bit of a way’s down, called “No Religion Zone.” I had some reservations about downloading this app, since the creator of this app was credited as “New Life Church” in Sandusky, Ohio.
The description of the app didn’t really give me a sense of what they were about. The description didn’t say much of anything other than exploring the difference between “religion” and “relationship”.
Let me shed some light on the meanings of both terms:
A religion is a community, one which requires adherence to a series of beliefs even in the face of new evidence that directly contradicts those beliefs.
A relationship is any link between two or more people who have some degree of familiarity. There is no requirement of faith, belief, or even maintenance (even if maintenance of the relationship is generally a good idea…)
The reviews were, for the most part, equally unhelpful. Here is the full text of one of the five-star reviews the app has received:
I always wanted to have an app like this for a long time ago.. Cos religion makes me sick!&$@!#%+£€
And here’s another:
Best app ever!! No religion baby!!!
And one more for good measure:
Top quality app A++. Very true and inspiring message!
There’s an adage in the tabloid publishing industry that there’s no such thing as too many exclamation marks. All of the five-star reviews for the app have at least one exclamation mark.
There was a single one-star review that actually made sense: it’s more than a little bit longer than the five-star reviews; the reviewer made a point of arguing that “even a humidor that says ‘no cigars’ can still have cigars in it.”
Since I wouldn’t lose any money in the process, I decided to download the app. It took me about ten minutes of navigating the app, that I knew that this was a lost cause and that this app certainly wasn’t worth it. Here’s the review I wrote, verbatim:
Either the leaders of the church promoted by this app either demonstrate a cognitive dissonance or outright hypocrisy. They say “no religion” yet promote church gatherings in support of their faith.
The degree of disconnect between actions (a faith-based community pledging blind faith in some supernatural power and the associated scriptures) and words (not being a religion) is actually not uncommon in some evangelical Christian circles and is often used to defy the constitutional separation of church and state. Bottom line, if you truly wish to consider yourself not a religion, I’ve got another word to apply to your church: a cult.
It’s glaringly obvious that the five-star reviews came from members. And it’s also glaringly obvious that this is an attempt to proselytize to people who shouldn’t be preached to in the first place.
This app has a total of ten reviews (six of the current version) with an average rating of 2.5 stars. With this high an average, I’m reminded of an old XKCD strip: