This week seemed to be a milestone in email frustration. On a personal level, my email server crashed, giving me 24 hours without email. If you sent me an email on Wednesday, then you now know why it bounced.

Yet this was not all. My outbound emails were bounced back due to some servers blocking certain Optusnet mail servers. But since Optusnet block Port 25, I can’t use another SMTP server to send my mail and avoid the problem. I’d be interested to hear what the ACCC would say about an ISP forbidding use of a competitor’s mail server… mmm…

Clearly we have become very dependent on email. For me, this is really my primary form of electronic communication. I typically receive up to 40 emails a day, not to mention the 70 odd SPAM that also clog my system. I’ve been able to get on top of the SPAM problem by using a clever filter (thanks to Chris at Trend Micro).

But there is a hidden cost to SPAM. Speaking to Hamish, the Sys Admin at the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, the unwanted emails generate enormous amounts of extra bandwidth… which costs money. Some spineless spammer mightn’t care how much it costs others, as long as he or she gets a couple of orders of Viagra. Yet it costs others!

This is a classic example of our sin. We think that it won’t effect anyone else if we disobey God. Yet, when we serve ourselves, it is inevitable that others pay the cost.

Bill Gates has boldly claimed to have the solution to Spam. He says that by 2006 we will have rid the world of this problem. Like many others, I am sceptical. It is impossible to create a world without sin, even if it is in cyberspace. Humans will always work out a way to be selfish and unlawful.

The answer to sin is to deal with the root problem. Only Jesus’ death can deal with sin. Yet, fortunately, the cost is borne by him, not us. There is a new world which will be free from SPAM… but it won’t be ruled by Bill, it will be ruled by Jesus.

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