Home News Controversial The Business side of Religion in the 21st Century

The Business side of Religion in the 21st Century

The business side of religion - top view of rosary beads on euro bills
top view of rosary beads on euro bills

An American Author Andrew Smith is known to have coined the popular phrase “people fear what they don’t understand”.

Fear can be defined as an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined.

This feeling has been taken advantage to build the biggest and most efficient business model the world has seen in the name of Christianity.

In 2012, according to the Economist, the expenditure of the Catholic Church in the US was $170 BILLION.

By comparison, GM, Apple, and Daimler generated LESS revenue worldwide in the same year.

This shows that religion is a viable business for anyone looking to get rich (or “blow” as we call it) quickly.

The business of religion basically has a model attached to it, the “business model for religion”:

  • Punish those not purchasing products
  • Attach supernatural benefits to the purchase of products.
  • Hold bi or tri-weekly consumer meetings wherein products were worshipped.
  • Convince large swaths of academia to argue for the logical, philosophical, theological, and scientific necessity of purchasing products.

What is the product being sold?

Peace, enlightenment, security, happiness (all these come with terms and conditions of course).

How is the product being sold? – The promised goods are sold through packages of scriptures, videos, mp3 files, literature, clothing, merch, etc.

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There is no limit to the package the good can be sold in (an umbrella with a cross on it, a pen with that white guy that’s supposed to be Jesus on it, a football with Bible quotes on it) anything at all.

Once you can think it then money can be made. Your imagination is the only limiting factor in packaging the product.

What is the price of the product?

Here’s the beautiful part; anything the consumer has. Preferably everything the consumer has but there’s no need to hurry. Small donations can be accepted today.

The beautiful part about the product is that since it requires almost 0 manufacturing costs, you can sell it for whatever you want without losing.

What are the payment and delivery methods— Pay before delivery obviously. Cash, cheque, real estate, vehicles, assets and services are all accepted methods of payment.

When will the product be delivered?

Tomorrow unfailingly (just ensure that tomorrow never comes).

What is the cost of production?

Absolutely nothing. The society eliminates the need for advertisement too because religion is advertised literally everywhere-at home, school, work, in the streets, literally everywhere.

The business side of religion - Nigerian Naira notes in the Bible
Nigerian Naira notes in the Bible

Where is the market for your product?

Anywhere humans can be found. Every breathing human is a potential customer but if you can figure out a way to get the good news across to animals then rest assured that the number 1 spot on Forbes list is waiting for you.

What is the risk factor?

It may dawn on the gullible customer that ‘tomorrow comes never’ in this deal.

All of a sudden, it will also dawn on the gullible persona, that he already has enough of the product, within himself. It dawned on him just at the moment he threw his mind out through his window.

Now he becomes your competitor, selling the peace to other gullible around, everywhere, endless queue waiting, eager to take, consume the…Oh God! it is too much cycling.

Go round and round, beating about the bushes (techniques associated with the product sale).

How long will the business keep yielding profits?

Forever. This business takes on a life of its own once it starts up and it can be passed down from generation to generation.

(Thinking of leaving something lucrative for your kids, take a moment to consider this).

What is the most important thing to know before embarking on this?

You have to realize that the product is not actually being given to consumers/customers.

Where’s the fun in that? You’re selling the promise of the product, if you actually give the consumer the product today then why should he come back tomorrow?

Tell him he’ll get it tomorrow when tomorrow comes, tell him the next day unfailingly and continue till the end of time.

Admittedly there’s the risk the customer will figure out that he’s never getting the product from you but hey, it is what it is.

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What is the support system?

As you grow in the business, mastering the nitty-gritty of the successful business model, the reach and support system will grow many fold and all connected and unconnected will integrate successfully.

What is the growth rate, rate of return, yield, net worth, annual income etc.?

Exponential CAGR, splendid ROR, endless addition to net worth, growing annual income, sales growth etc.

Plagiarism is highly encouraged here, feel free to copy any techniques from people in the same line of work.

What is the marketing technique for the product?

The agents preaching in poor third world countries before the poor gathering always decorate and appear (present) themselves with foreign names and costly 3 piece suits, neckties, and many times with caps also, to promise future of heaven (and hell if you don’t fall in line).

So also, for the elite intellectual rational scientific audience in rich nations, the mystic ‘enlightened’ should appear in scanty clothes and keep chanting glorifying past. ‘Opposite dresses’ attract.

Recital with good body language must. The flow of compassion, sympathy, and empathy are prerequisites.

Each customer you gain also plays the role of marketer so by chasing customers you aim to kill two birds with one stone.

An enlightened reader might find it difficult to take this article seriously so let me drop some real-life examples of successful people in this line of work.

According to Forbes the richest pastor in the world is the founder and General Overseer of Living Faith with a net worth of $150 million, followed closely by Bishop T.D Jakes with a net worth of $147 million.

This is proof that religion is indeed good business. A popular pastor was alleged to have told his congregation to donate according to the number of years they want to live.

Since the logic here was that the individuals that donate more get to live longer, and considering humanity’s fear for death and the unknown, it should come as no surprise that people were trying their best outdo their neighbor in what can only be described as an attempt to buy immortality.

Churches have devised all sorts of ingenious ways to use guilt and distort scripture to compel people to give, some say.

Opposition to the business of religion call it the “Sunday morning stickup” and it is carried out using these 3 tactics.

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The myth of the mandatory tithe

Any church going individual should know Malachi 3:8-12. This is because it’s basically the slogan for the Christianity business.

Preachers emphasize that Jesus commanded his apostles and followers to give, give and give some more.

They neglect the fact that he didn’t ask for anything to be given to him, nor did he put any disciple in charge of collecting these “donations” but rather instructed that those who do give should actually give to the poor.

You can take advantage of this tactic by convincing the consumers that they are giving to the church (which is you by the way – the owner of the business) and promising those that don’t give a first-class ticket to hell.

Elevating the biggest givers

There is no record of Jesus taking an offering. According to the eighth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus was financially supported by a group of women who were among his earliest disciples.

Yet he did prescribe rules for giving: quietly and anonymously.

In the sixth chapter of Matthew, Jesus told his followers “do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets” when giving to the poor.

He said that people should give “in secret” and should be careful “not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them.”

Go into many churches on a Sunday morning, though, and there’s nothing quiet or secret about the way people give.

The offering time has been transformed into theatre.

The choir stands to sing a rousing hymn. People participate in “wave offerings” by joyously waving their offering envelopes in the air.

Preachers, barking out encouragement from the pulpit, exhort people to give back “God’s money.” The experience is communal and loud — nothing secrets about it.

The pressure to give is enormous, in many churches, smiling ushers beckon people to march up front to deposit their offerings.

Someone who has no money to give is left to sit alone in the pew for all the church to see. It’s “give or be shamed” era.

You can take advantage of this tactic by reserving the first row in churches for the most generous givers, taking time to get to know their lives; you have to basically be very good at pretending here (I mean; they give you a shitload of money, the least you can do is pretend to be interested in their lives.)

Distorting two popular scriptures

2 parts of the scripture are popularly distorted: The “will a man rob God” passage from book of Malachi in the Old Testament; and the story of Jesus and the poor widow.

Consider the “will a man rob God” from the third chapter in Malachi. The prophet declares that withholding tithes and offerings invites divine punishment because the stingy person is robbing God.

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Some scholars argue that Malachi declared that God was angry at Israel’s priests, not ordinary people, for withholding offerings.

The real thieves were greedy priests, but pastors have turned the scripture into a blanket condemnation of people who don’t give enough, he says.

They argue that unless the whole chapter is read this fact cannot be known and that is why preachers isolate only the verses that suit them and repeat it over and over to the congregation in an attempt to guilt trip them into giving more.

Then there is the story of the Widow’s Mite in “Mark 12:41-44”. In this story, Jesus is watching rich people throw large amounts of money into the Temple’s treasury in Jerusalem when he spots a poor widow dropping “two mites,” or a bronze or copper coin into the treasury.

He praises the woman because he says the rich people “gave out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.”

The late televangelist, Oral Roberts, once told followers that God would “call him home” if they didn’t give more money. Orishirishi things.

The message is clear, right? Even if you can’t pay your electric bill, God says give all you have.

Albertson, a Lutheran pastor, says that pastors often miss the story’s meaning. “Jesus wasn’t telling people to give all they have to the church.

He was condemning the financial corruption of the religious system of his day for exploiting the poor widow’s generosity. Consider the context”, he says.

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Just moments earlier in the story, Jesus had scolded religious leaders in Jerusalem for “devouring” widows’ houses to maintain their social status.

As he watches rich people ostentatiously drop money into the treasury, Jesus warns his disciples that the great temple would be torn down.

“Now he watches a widow get devoured – she is giving everything to a religious institution that he has already shown is not worthy of her,” Albertson writes in an essay, “Rethinking the Widow’s Mite.”

“This is not a heartwarming story of a generous giver,” he says. “This is a heartbreaking story of exploitation.”

Some pastors don’t just distort a scriptural passage. They misuse scriptural phrases — such as the “first fruit offering“.

First fruit offerings were agricultural offerings that the Israelites gave to God in the Old Testament, says Lee, of “Sunday Morning Stickup.”

Yet some pastors invoke that phrase to tell people that God commands them to give the “first fruits” of their financial bounty, which could mean someone giving everything from the first check of the year to the first check one received after a job promotion.

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“It’s a misapplication of scripture,” Lee says. “They encourage individuals that before they pay their bills, before they buy their groceries or do anything with their finances, many of them say ‘You have to take care of God first.’ ”

This write-up is not in anyway condemning Christianity or religion in general; it only aims to educate the reader on the ways religion sometimes takes advantage of masses. 

Do with this information what you wish. Comment below if you agree or not.

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