Understanding the iWorld

by John Hayward

Jeep’s new advertising campaign has the tagline “i live. i ride. i am.” Assuming the final assertion alludes to the Cartesian claims of René Descartes, rather than the divine claims of Jesus, this offers yet another interesting insight into how the world of advertising is exploiting iWorld imagery – a world in which the immediate desires of the individual have been deemed paramount. This barrage of me-centred ‘My life, my card’ adverts begs the question, as posed by pastor and politics professor Dale Kuehne in his ground-breaking book Sex and the iWorld: Rethinking relationship beyond an age of individualism, ‘What kind of world are we creating?’

One new indicator comes from a poll conducted in Canada which asked people to indicate whether they personally believe a range of issues are morally acceptable or morally wrong (regardless of whether or not they thought each of the issues should be legal). Overall, the pollsters concluded that those from higher-income households tend to be more accepting of things than those from lower-income households – which would correlate with suggestions that ethical lifestyle choices bearing a personal financial cost are luxuries that can only be afforded by the well-off.

Perhaps of greater interest, however, is to see which kinds of issues most concern people. One observation that stands out is that iWorlders seem more likely to moralise about the treatment of animals than about the lives of their fellow humans. Thus although 41 percent disapproved of medical testing on animals, only 17 percent disapproved of medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos. And while 31 percent were opposed to buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur, only 22 percent were against abortion or doctor-assisted suicide. That said, more were opposed to the cloning of humans than to the cloning of animals … but perhaps that was skewed by those who would be inclined to clone their pets if they had the chance.

Issue ���Approved ���Disapproved
Contraception 93% 3%
Sexual relations between an unmarried man and woman 87% 10%
Divorce 84% 8%
Having a baby outside of marriage 79% 16%
Medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos 69% 17%
Abortion 66% 22%
Sexual relations between two people of the same sex 66% 26%
Doctor-assisted suicide 65% 22%
Gambling 62% 27%
Buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur 53% 31%
Death penalty 53% 34%
Medical testing on animals 44% 41%
Prostitution 42% 45%
Pornography 41% 48%
Suicide 28% 53%
Cloning animals 27% 55%
Using illegal drugs 25% 62%
Married men and/or women having an affair 15% 75%
Polygamy 12% 81%
Cloning humans 11% 78%
Paedophilia 1% 91%

The alternative rWorld presented by Dale Kuehne suggests that because God created people for relationships, then we find our deepest fulfillment in relationship with Him and in living a life rich in self-giving, rather than self-satisfying relationships. If we consciously chose to live in a way so as to create such a world, perhaps we would learn to value the lives of other people just a little more…

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Category: Blogs

December, 2009

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