June 20, 2008
Children learn many useful things from television shows and cartoon characters. They learn letters and numbers from the characters on Sesame Street; Dora the Explorer helps them hone their reasoning and problem-solving skills.
Now, a cartoon character is telling them when they should die.
He's a dog in a lab coat named "Professor Schpinkee." He is a creation of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Planet Slayer website.
Kids who visit the website are invited to pay a "game" called "Professor Schpinkee's Greenhouse Calculator." But instead of learning letters or numbers-or even how to take a bite out of crime-they learn "how big a greenhouse pig" they are.
In an age in which, for self-esteem's sake, every kid gets a trophy for everything, it is a bit jarring to see kids being called "pigs." But it gets worse-a lot worse.
The "game" asks kids a series of questions like, "How do you usually get around?" "What size place do you live in?" And, my favorite: "How often do you eat meat?"
After answering all 11 questions, the "player" is instructed to click on a skull and crossbones icon. The next screen will tell them the age "[they] should die at." Those are Professor Schpinkee's words, not mine.
A colleague of mine who does not drive that much, seldom flies, and lives in a smaller-than-average American home, took the test. According to Professor Schpinkee, he used up his "share of the planet" before he was four years old.
Everything he did since then, including caring for his autistic son, has been at the expense of the planet.
Not surprisingly, Professor Schpinkee has created a controversy Down Under. One Australian senator questioned the appropriateness of depicting Australians "as massive overweight ugly pigs." In a supreme example of understatement, he said the creators of Planet Slayer "might be taking it just a little too far."
The New York Post was not as shy as the Australian senator. The paper called the website an "Enviro MENTAL Institution."
Even that play on words misses the point: The creators of Professor Schpinkee obviously are not crazy; nor are they-truth be told-that far from the mainstream.
It is the logical, if unsettling, consequence of the misanthropic worldview of much of the environmental movement. A few months ago, another group of Australians proposed a "carbon tax" for every child beyond two a family had. In both cases, the assumption is that there is nothing wrong with the environment that just fewer people living more wretched lives cannot solve.
In the biblical view, man, made in the image of God, is the glory of creation. He is also the steward of creation. The fact that man has not often lived up to his responsibilities does not negate the truth of the biblical worldview.
And what does the secular worldview give us instead? A cartoon character who tells children they need to die to save the planet.
Do not tell me worldviews don't matter.
Copyright © 2007 Prison Fellowship. Chuck Colson’s daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.