Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cyber Communication (email, IM’s, etc) (11/04/10)
TITLE: The Monsignor of Silicon Valley
By Gregory Kane
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My name? In the past I was known as Mephistopheles but too many people these days have read Faust. So now I opt for the simple epithet of Monsignor. Goes with the purple trim on the cassock. Not that I'm a true believer of course; more like a snake in the grass. But it permits me to check on our ecclesiastical adversaries that they remain blissfully ignorant of our machinations.
Did you notice our outdated computer terminal? This is where we started back in the good old days. Brin and Page had just taken Google public when his unholy Highness summoned me to his office. He anticipated where things were going long before the spooks or the marketeers ever did. They were only ever interested in looting man's pocket change; his Excellency saw an opportunity to wreak havoc on man's immortal soul.
People are so amazed when Amazon recommends the very books that they're thinking of buying. It's the same reaction when Google Ads invites them to learn about products that seemed tailor picked. It hardly occurs to anyone the amount of data collection that has to go on behind the scenes to make this possible. Every time Joe Public swipes his debit card or hands over a retail loyalty card, our global database sucks in the information. We know what television programmes he enjoys, where he downloads his pirated music from, which YouTube videos he watches when he is all alone. When it comes to the information age, we are omniscient, we are God.
I want to start you off here in our Seduction Division. Email spam continues to be one of our most productive tools. You wouldn't believe the number of people who will click on a hyper-link that promises unlimited entry into the tantalizing worlds of pornography or gambling or enhancement drugs. We have a virtual army of cyber-daemons who patrol chat rooms and bulletin boards, preying on the weak and vulnerable. And it's amazing what a man will agree to when he foolishly believes that he is surfing anonymously. In reality we know everything about him: his name, his credit rating, the car he drives, how close his wretched soul is to perdition.
Every so often I like to stop at this workstation and beguile a few pathetic Christians, especially those who are gaining something of a reputation in their communities. You see this screen here? It allows us to modify the recommended videos on YouTube. You wouldn't believe how many otherwise godly men will respond to an invitation to ogle some hot girl in a bikini. Or how about inviting some weary, demoralized pastor to embark on an international preaching tour of India? You would think this would be counter-productive to our diabolical purposes. But the poor deluded soul ends up completely disenchanted with the work of God in his own parish. He spends his days dreaming about when he can fly off in search of his next fix. It's pure magic, straight from the pit.
Ultimately I want you working over here with me. Time is short and Apollyon will soon be unleashed upon the world. That's why it's crucial that we keep track of the Christians. We need to know who they are, where they are worshipping, and which sinners they are witnessing to. Once we go live with iChip666®, we'll need to round up every born-again believer before they can mount an effective challenge. That's why we're monitoring every email, every instant message, every Skype call, every thread on a bulletin board. We're confident that we've identified 99.8% of all genuine Christians in America and Europe and 91% of those in Asia. What we're unclear about is who the next generation of converts are going to be. Once all Hell breaks loose, our execrable overlord doesn't want to lose a single soul.
What's that you say? Doesn't anyone suspect? It's all a matter of marketing and public perception. Google's "Do no evil" trips off the tongue and everyone takes it as gospel. Mankind naively imagines that the Internet is morally neutral, if not indeed a force for good. Anyone who suggests to the contrary is dismissed as a Luddite or an imbecile. Hah! No one perceives that the Web has spreads its nefarious threads through every stratum of society. No one suspects that an insatiable Beast lurks at its dark, infernal core.
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