Big Bro

For those reading from overseas, the reality show Celebrity Big Brother is causing a huge amount of comment in the UK (and in India) at the moment. The cameras are on the contestants every minute of every day and the producers manipulate the footage to make the nation watch and talk about it. They have done it before and they are doing it spectacularly well this year. The current controversy is over whether one of the contestants, the glam Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty is being racially abused by several of the other contestants.

I might blog about that later, depending on what happens. For the moment though, it is worth thinking about the theological assumptions that are in a good many people, church-going and non church-going alike. God is thought of very often as being like Big Brother. Always watching. Always listening. Catching you out with nasty tricks and surprises. This is a god that too many Christians believe in, but the same god whom a good many atheists love to disbelieve in. The Big Brother god is the one that they know they don’t believe in and they disbelieve in him with a passion.They posit a god who cannot come amongst us, who judges us from afar.

That is not a god I’ve any interest in. If God is that kind of tyrant, we must deal with Him in the way we deal with all tyrants – either the brute force of the masses or by making the masses laugh at Him.

But that is not the God that Christians are supposed to believe in anyway.

For the Word became Flesh and dwelt amongst us.

Became a little brother in fact. Not a Big Brother at all.


  1. Bunny says

    Kelvin – I’m Bunny Slack, hon sec of ACTSA Action of Churches Topgether in St Andrews – acolyte of (or to?) a certain Stuart Holdsworth, who is probably known to you! and we have met briefly in St A. I was looking at your blog about the BIG Brother House and thought it would make an excellent article for “Focus” which is a brief para in our local paper, the St Andrews Citizen, 300 words max, with a religious theme. Expect you have heard about it from the above mentioned S.H. I’m part of the cttee which commissions and prepares material for the slot – we don’t get a fee, of course.
    Would you be willing for it to be submitted to them for publication, if poss for next week – hence need for a fairlyquick reply………. we’d poss need to change a tiny bit so it reads ok for paper instead of blog. Would you be happy for it go out under your name and would you want anything more than Kelvin Holdsworth to appear?
    Can you let me know soonest please. E mail or ‘phone 01334 850669
    I’ll post this on the site too in case you don’t get office sent stuff till Mon.
    Yours with thanks, BUNNY

  2. kelvin says

    No problem Bunny – I’ve sent a revised version to you by e-mail.

  3. Mysterious Stranger says

    I like the way you have taken something so indicitive of our materialistic diposbale,celebrity lifestyle and used it to discuss the nature of the divine.I too value the thought of a God as a little child among us than the tyrant big brother to fear.While reading over Christmas I found the following quote “Be more like God …. be human.”

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