December 14, 2004

My Spiritual Pyramid Scheme Theory

Okay, it’s about time I had a rant about organised religion proper. This one concerns Christians – at least Christians who try to convert people. Evangelicals, I suppose.

I think the classic example in terms of denominations is the Jehovah’s Witnesses (“but in the Latin alphabet, Jehovah beginsh with an ‘I’!”), who we get a lot of up here in Newcastle, and I’m guessing elsewhere. The last time they came around all they did was ask casually about my religious beliefs then gave me a pamphlet, which went on about the Kingdom of God (which, for those of you who don’t know, contains many rainbows, and giraffes) without saying anything about who these religious nutjobs were until you got to the last page, where it said: “If you want to learn more about the Jehovah’s Witnesses, come along to…”

“Why do they bother?” you – at any rate I – ask. Well, to get to Heaven, not only do you have to subscribe to the one true religion, which according to Jehovah’s Witlesses/generic American born-again Christians is – surprise – their own one, you’ve got to convert a bunch of non-believers to your faith. This is because there’s only something like 144,000 places in Heaven and to get into that lucky few come the Apocalypse, the more conversions under your belt the better your chances. To convert heathens to one’s puritanical ways is a tough job, especially if you’re a Witness, not being allowed to have blood transfusions, celebrate Christmas, etc. – hey, if I were God I’d let them in on the basis of merely making those sacrifices – who’d give ‘em Hell after such a shitty life as that*?

What’s worse is the fact you’ve got to convince your converts that to get to Heaven they’ve got to convert as many heathens as you, and convince those heathens to do the same. Why, that’s gonna create a fuckload of people who’ve just given up their enjoyable lifestyle for one of chastity, etc., so that they can enjoy all the stuff they’ve missed on Earth in the eternal afterlife (they do fornicate in Heaven, right? If not, then what’s the point? I’d sure get sick of giraffes and rainbows), which far outweighs the 144,000 places that are up for grabs. Sorry, but a lot of pious, God-fearing people are gonna be disappointed at the end of the day (i.e. world).

You know what this reminds me of? In the eighties, I believe it was, there was a fad for these so-called Pyramid Schemes. Say a bloke comes up to you and says he’s got a sure-fire way of making a shedload of cash. All you had to do was hand over your lifesavings (or a fraction of) and then you had to get a bunch of your mates to do the same. You’d get a commission of what you’d collected and then make a veritable packet once you recruited enough people. Too good to be true, no? Correct: only the people who started up the Scheme would get rich; down at the bottom of the ‘Pyramid’, new members of the Scheme would run out of gullible people to ‘sell’ to, they’d lose their life savings and get rather screwed over. Do you see the parallels with Evangelism now? Do ya?

I call it my Spiritual Pyramid Scheme Theory. Or possibly Theorem. And it’s just one of many Evils of Organised Religion. And isn’t it funny how both are associated with the United States?

*If only they didn’t go around annoying people.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Er…that's just wrong on so many levels. So far as I'm aware we don't do pyramid schemes in the Christian church.

    Well, you never know. I might have been missing out. :)

    Sides which, if we didn't believe our religion was the right one, why would we be trying to convince you that we're right?

    I've always stuck with St Frances of Assisi on this one. "Preach the gospel at all times: if necessary, use words." Seemed a sensible plan to me. But what do you do. :)

    23 Dec 2004, 23:20

  2. Dur, I didn't mean it was actually a Pyramid Scheme, but that evangelism resembles one: the way some Christians feel they have to convert people to get into Heaven. By trying to force their beliefs on others they're just creating conflict. Surely it's better to lead by example. By all means, remind people that God loves them now and again, but can you please leave it at that and channel your Christian instincts through some good deeds. That's what society needs.

    Good old St Francis of Assisi – in Mexico they have a supermarket chain called San Fransisco de Asis. Tequila's £5 a litre – yeah!

    29 Dec 2004, 10:51

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