Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Penance for iPhone

No, this isn’t an invitation to confess your lust for all things Apple, it’s a new application for the iPhone. The new Penance app invites you to:
app1Anonymously confess your sins to other users of the app. Give and receive guidance on absolution. The more notable confessors are ranked on a league table, with the foremost being rewarded with titles and the right to issue week-long edicts to the faithful.
A review of the app informs us:
Penance differs from other confession apps in that it is structured to create a self-sustaining community rather than be a simple whiteboard for posting confessions.
app2With Penance, a user will download the app and create Sinner and Saint accounts, credited with five ‘horns’ and five ‘halos’ respectively. A horn allows a Sinner account to make a confession, which is randomly sent out to a dozen Saint accounts who can send back a penance at the cost of a halo. If the Sinner accepts the penance as fair and manageable the Saint is rewarded with TWO halos. The highest ranked Saints are rewarded with titles and may issue edicts to all the Faithful underneath them.

To keep the confessions and penances flowing all users are gifted a horn and halo every Sabbath, though there is the option of using IAP to gain them faster.
I did notice that this app is restricted for download to users over the age of seventeen, which suggests the designers are anticipating some interesting confessions and warns that there will be ‘frequent/intense/mature/suggestive themes’. I think we can all see where this is going.

One thing the app has got right is that it is free. The good news is that we don’t need to to do penance to receive God’s forgiveness, nor do we need an iPhone, as the Bible reminds us:
If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. 1 John 1:8,9 The Message

h/t @liminalspace


Dreaming beneath the Spires said...

That's amazing. I guess believer and non-believer alike have a deep psychological need to confess, and be forgiven. I wonder what inspired the developer!

Charlie said...

Let me just check I've got this. I post what I've done, specifically under one of these seven headings, to a dozen complete strangers, who then post back an appropriate punishment?
OK. I can see where it's going too, and there isn't much overlap with sacramental confession, unless you belong to a sect which favours flagellation of the body...