GodTube, or Christian Viral Video

Kelly Baker

For YouTube's popularity, it is not surprising that Chris Wyatt thought that GodTube would also prove to be a popular venture. Wyatt, a student at Dallas Theological Seminary, is the mastermind behind GodTube, which shares videos with Christian content rather than videos of dogs doing silly tricks and a University of Florida student getting tased. CNN reported that in October alone the GodTube had four million unique visitors. According to CNN, "GodTube is among religion-based Web sites that closely copy popular secular models. MyChurch.org is similar to the social networking site MySpace, and Conservapedia.com is the religious right's response to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Similar sites target Muslim and Jewish audiences."

GodTube is one of many, it seems. And according to Wyatt, the site screens objectionable content yet CNN reported that some of the most recently viewed videos were " 'Why Pentecostalism is not of God,' 'Mormonism exposed,' and 'The papacy is NOT biblical.' " Wyatt claims that the site is open to all forms of Christianity and other religious groups are welcome to add content (as long as it is not offensive to Christians). But, it makes one wonder whether this is actually the case. GodTube has a group of editors that view videos to make sure they are acceptable for the site, but there seems to be a certain theological bent.

As I perused the site, the videos ranged from interviews with the Newsboys, a popular Christian music group, to concerns over the film adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass (and the book's/film's promotion of atheism) to an interview with Wyatt on Fox News. The more interesting thing for me about this site is the question of its appeal. Are Christians web surfing to GodTube as a part of their daily practice? Or to get news that concerns Christians in short video format? Or because they want to watch goofy videos of Christians rapping and changing the lyrics to "Baby Got Back"? The question that is key is: Are GodTube users really that different from YouTube users? Do religious folk like silly internet videos as much as other groups of people? Or does the diversity of YouTube present problems? (For instance, one can watch a goat being born or listen to Justin Timberlake's SNL hit song.)

GodTube users might appreciate the ability to get strictly Christian content from skits to raps to biblical exegesis, but what impact does this have on church life? Wyatt told CNN that "GodTube.com users on Sunday mornings outnumber megachurch pastor Joel Osteen's congregation in Houston." Does this suggest church members will use GodTube as a substitute for a religious service or just some folks have? Will church members chose to stay at home and watch amateur video over their internet connection? The more pressing question is: Will I now receive viral video with Christian content instead of a dog skateboarding from distant relatives?


j at: November 5, 2007 at 5:59 AM said...

fyi... www.FaithTube.com is the Muslim version of YouTube. I like what they are doing with it.

Anonymous at: November 6, 2007 at 7:25 PM said...

Like comparing apples to oranges - I think it is obsurd for GodTube to compare their website to a physical church. The website is open to at least 5.5 billion around the world - hello?? compared to a mere 30 some thousand who have to get in their cars and drive to a stadium in Houston. Call me crazy...

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