The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Jesus' Lubricant

Here's something I don't like about religion that isn't mentioned often enough: its dishonesty.

I was talking with my father the other day and mentioned my lack of interest in getting involved with a multi-level marketing business. My explanation included the fact that in order to be any good at all in MLM, you have to enjoy recruiting your friends and family and aquaintances into the business. You have to sell the opportunity to as many people as you can so you reap the maximum amount of downline kick-ups.

The problem I have is the same one that Danny DeVito's character in the movie The Big Kahuna explains to the young fundie salesman. If you haven't seen the movie, it's worth renting (or buying, in my opinion). The situation in the film is this: Three generations of salesmen are at a trade show to get a Big Client (BC). They sell industrial lubricants. There is a newbie kid, a guy at the peak of his career (played perfectly by Kevin Spacey), and an old hand ready to retire (played by DeVito). The kid meets the BC but doesn't know it was him and, because the guy's dog just died, talks to him all night about things unrelated to lubricants. Specifically, religion. The BC likes the kid and invites him to a party the next night.

The DeVito and Spacey characters want to take over but they know they'll never get into the party, so they have to send the kid. They prep him as best they can and send him off to set up a meeting the next day with the older two. When the kid returns later in the night he is grilled with questions but only says that he had to talk about "more important" things. Specifically, Jesus.

Spacey's character asks, fantastically, "Did you happen to mention what brand of industrial lubricant Jesus would have endorsed?"

There is a big discussion/fight between the kid and Spacey about what was more important - Jesus or the job - which ends with some punching and Spacey leaving the room. DeVito takes the kid aside and explains what is happening, explains what the kid doesn't see.

He says something to the effect of, "(T)he second you take control of a conversation to steer it towards a desired result, you're not a person anymore - you're a salesman - and it's no longer a conversation - it's a pitch." This is true whether you are selling lubricant or salvation, the product doesn't matter.

This is the inherent dishonesty of religion. People often say, "but religion does so much good - why don't you like it?" Well, yes, religion does do a lot of good, but why? When a person who has no supernatural beliefs does something good (helps a person who has fallen, for example), she does it because it makes her feel good about herself - selfish reasons - and because of a genuine desire to see that person be ok.

A religious person would help the fallen individual for both of the above reasons, but beyond those there is the "scoring points for the afterlife" angle. There is also the "I'm doing something good because religious people (and in particular MY religious cohorts) are moral, decent people and this unfortunate lad needs to be 'saved' and should become one of US. My doing good shall, in part, convince this person that he should join" aspect.

No matter what good comes out of religion, there is always the underlying goal of gaining more members to their club. That's why they do good, why they help, why the missionaries go to foreign lands and teach people to read English. It is the reason that when the Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door, you don't want to talk to them. They are not being honest in their intentions. If they just came out and said, "We want you to join our group", you'd say no and that would be that. They have to fake being concerned about you, about your salvation and your "soul" (the same as missionaries and fundies) so you will think they are nice. All along, all they want is for you to join them. It's dishonest marketing.

Sort of like the Borg, only with less personality and not so good with machinery.

13 Barbaric Yawps:

At 28/7/06 4:29 am, Blogger 01 said...

I see your point here, but that's not the problem I have with it.

Although my Christian days are long behind me, I spent enough years as a true believer to have experienced this phenomenon from the other side. Yes, they are trying to add members to their club, but they're doing it out of a misguided desire to help. They believe that by converting someone to Christianity (I use that specific example as opposed to Islam since that's my own experience) they are saving their soul... a largely selfless act akin to helping up a fallen stranger.

In other words, they think they're doing something nice... even if they aren't.

My problem with religious recruiting is when the recruiter is a member of one of those fundamentalist mega-churches. In Johannesburg we have several: Rhema, Christian Family and a few branches of the UCKG.

Their message is even more detestable than that of the little neighborhood Methodist parish. In addition to the "saving your immortal soul" angle, there's the "give us all your money and Jesus will bless you" line.

Even as a true-believer, those "churches" disgusted me. In a four-hour long youth service I was once dragged to, no less than one and a half hours was spent being lectured by a "pastor" (dressed in a very expensive suit, after having driven up in a top-of-the-line Mercedes) that giving our money to the church would guarantee our passage into Heaven. Bear in mind that the congregation was almost exclusively teenagers... kids with no source of income.

Converting someone to your religion is one thing, but selling a saviour as if it were Amway is quite another.

At 28/7/06 11:31 am, Blogger BigHeathenMike said...

Yeah, I can't stand the "give us your money so you'll go to Heaven" breed of preachers. There's a special pair of stomping boots reserved for that kind of scumbag (I'm talking to you, Benny Hinn).

I have a TON of problems with organized religion, but the dishonesty one is near the top. Even if they want to "save a soul", they need something to show that they have made an impact on your life. Because there is no real proof that souls are "saved", the only solid evidence that any effect from the missionary to the heathen has taken place is behavior. Did they join us or didn't they?

Soul saved or not, they want you in the club. Sell Jesus (or Muhammad or whoever) to the others, push the product. Take control of conversations and lead your friends and family towards the "light". That is dishonest relationships and was my, probably poorly made, point. :)

At 28/7/06 1:32 pm, Anonymous modusoperandi said...

I think that part of the problem is that only the "push" theists show up on the radar.

The good kind of theist (that is, the kind that behaves in a "christian manner" vice "xian") looks and acts like a good person.

A good atheist and good theist look and act the same.

For example I don't know whether my grandmother was or was not a believer; theist or atheist, she was just a good person. Meanwhile I have a great-aunt who was "born agin" and has replaced doing good deeds with talking about JC.

It's the dinks that stick out (figuratively, in this case).

At 28/7/06 5:04 pm, Blogger BigHeathenMike said...

Haha...true enough.

At 28/7/06 7:11 pm, Blogger Ralph said...

I wonder if its really a matter of dishonesty or if its just something we all do naturally and should just expect it of others. I'm reminded of something I read on a chruch announcment sign, "God has a plan for everything, but we wonder what mosquitos are for." Christian humor I guess. Do I, as an athiest, help up the fallen man for any more honest of a reason, or did I do it so I can tell myself and through my actions tell others " See, I am a good and moral person but do not need a god to be one, won't you come join me." The answer to the church sign is obvious, the purpose of mosquitos is to make more mosquitos. Maybe it is always the purpose, usually unstate, of all of us, and all groups, religious and athiest. Hmmm I wonder. Don't know, but Mike, you've got me thinking.

At 28/7/06 9:43 pm, Blogger BigHeathenMike said...

That's all I aim for, Ralph. :)

At 30/7/06 7:44 pm, Blogger Thursday said...

I'll stick with enlightened self interest, thank you very much.

The one aspect that keeps coming up among the god-botherers is that life is horrible, worse than it's ever been, and Gosh, don't you want to surrender responsibility for everything in your life RIGHT NOW? I can't be converted bacause I'm an essentially happy, contented person who actuall enjoys talking to proselytizers; whereas their targets are the sad, the dissatisfied, the scared, and the perpetually disappointed.

Speaking as someone who has played in the S/M and B&D worlds, I can see the joy that surrendering can bring: it's a damn sight more work being a top than a bottom! So in the sense that some people can't handle the responsibility of their own lives, it could be said that religion helps those people: but that's no reason for the religious to gloat. Quite the opposite, I would think. At least in sex, a bottom is more honest with themselves and their needs.

At 31/7/06 5:20 am, Blogger Theo said...

As George Costanza said, "It's not really a lie if you believe it."

At 3/8/06 4:31 pm, Anonymous Danny Haszard said...

-A heads up on the Jehovah Witness-

There is no Armageddon that will annihilate 6.5 billion people,and install Watchtower leaders as world rulers.

The core dogma of the Watchtower organization is that Jesus had his second coming 'invisibly' in the year 1914.Their entire doctrinal superstructure is built on this falsehood.

Jehovah's Witnesses door to door recruitment is by their own admission an ineffective tactic. They have lost membership in all countries with major Internet access because their false doctrines and harmful practices are exposed on the modern information superhighway.

There is good and valid reasons why there is such an outrage against the Watchtower for misleading millions of followers.Many have invested everything in the 'imminent' apocalyptic promises of the Jehovah's Witnesses and have died broken and beaten.

Every Jehovah's Witness member will grow old and die just like everyone else.
Danny Haszard Bangor Maine 'expert witness on the Jehovah's Witness'

At 15/8/06 10:32 am, Blogger Andrew said...

Just a couple of quick notes. Jehova's Whitnesses should never be confused with Christians as they have totally different beliefs. I'm not sure this was stated, but I felt as though there was a kind of lumping going on here.

I agree that many times Christians can be far too pushy about their religion. However, as a Christian I can tell you that many times when commiting an act of charity and kindness, the thought of God doesn't even enter my mind. In Christianity as it was designed to be, you would react to each and every person with kindness and charity, no matter whether you are thinking about a witness or not. The effect that a true belief in Christ would have would be so dramatic that a concious thought wouldn't have to enter a person's head for them to do anything charitable. It would be a part of their character and their being to act that way. St. Frances once said, "Share the Gospel always, if necessary, use words." This quote speaks as to the power of your actions in affecting the perception others take of your values and beliefs. Overall, Christians are just people who do nice things, and they shouldn't always be assumed to have an agenda behind their actions.

Many friends of my family have become missionaries and gone overseas. From talking to them i have gathered a few things. The first is that they believe they are doing what God wants them to. To them there is no greater thing thatn making a sacrifice for the God that sacrificed His own son for them. There is a pleasure that they obtain through serving Him. The second is that they are going with the hope of changing lives for the better. They are humanitarians first and foremost. If people decide that they want to approach them about their faith and make a commitment of their own, they rejoice, but they are there to improve the human condition in this world. The rest is "up to God."

I am dissapointed in the church of today and its obsession with money. Unfortunately this has ruined far too many churches. Too many churches have abandoned the original teachings and have gone for the legalistic and greedy approach to Christianity. We have abandoned the love and the humanitarian side for far too long and have stood on the side making faces and pointing, judging all those that don't follow our beliefs. I hope that someday the church will come back, but that is a different subject.

Lastly, about the comment that was made about the "targets" of the church being the lonely and needy. This can be a common perception as the church often offers "ministries" or outreach programs to these people to help them out. However, I don't view them as targets. They are just more people who need to be loved. Personally, I really enjoy arguing this stuff with people like you who have taken up a strong hold in the opposite camp. Thanks for your time.

At 13/4/07 8:05 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Danny Haszard Cult now has a few followers.
Danny has adopted the universal cult-leader stance of presenting himself as both a victim, and a type of
savior showing the way to salvation. He is of course successful with only those who reject an honest
investigation and give themselves over to the control and teachings of someone who teaches hate.
These traits, of being a victim and a leader intensely interested in saving others, are of course at the very
essence of Cults and their delusional leaders.
Though offering a pretense of help, however, his offering lacks conciliatory and genuine assistance to
Jehovah's Witnesses, fellow "victims" for whom surely he must hold some kind of good intent.... But, no,
he sadly and pathetically just tries to create separation and anger, tries to divide families, tries to destroy
happiness, and teaches a withdrawing from and a rejection of the accepted freedoms of speech of our
He suppresses the truth in favor of his own vitriolic hate. His efforts are reflective of a perception of
personal grandeur and a fixation on his own self-worth.
Also a trait of Cult leaders, Danny lacks the fortitude and purpose in life to accomplish good for himself
and others without needing the adulation of others he can dupe. Cult leaders need to build their own self
-esteem and to feed their own personal aggrandisement, and to strengthen their own wobbly beliefs by
grasping for the approval of followers. Anger is so often a front for fear and weakness. It is the weak
person, usually accompanied by weak reasoning, who turns from truth and uses anger and fear as a
motivator. Those similarly inclined or susceptible become followers of cult leaders like Danny Haszard.
He has actually made himself more of a slave to the Watchtower than he ever was as a member - he is
addicted to his fears and anger, addicted to attacking, delusional as to the success of his efforts to tear
down the faith of others, and uses hate as a tool to appeal to those similarly lacking in faith, or honesty, or
dignity, or self-worth, or personal esteem.
Remarkably his entire purpose in life in now linked to a preoccupation with the Watchtower.
This cultish behavior includes efforts to drawing off a following for himself....He has set himself up as an
authority figure who works hard to attract followers.
This is the new Danny Haszard Cult.

At 17/4/07 12:47 pm, Anonymous Danny Haszard said...


Who's Danny Haszard?

Stalking Jehovah's Witnesses trolls just eaten up with jealousy over Danny Haszard
Troll flamebaiters--Your notions though many are not worth a penny When it gets down to facts, the apologist does not respond back, everything about the Jehovah's Witnesses troll is deception because you are a supremacist cult who feel no need to be truthful with unbelievers who are all,"gonna die at armageddon anyway".

This is the Jehovah's Witnesses troll IP address
Aurora, CO

At 29/4/07 6:51 pm, Anonymous Danny Haszard said...

Up close and personal Jehovah's Witnesses can be wolves in sheep's clothing.

Think about this-When the devil comes knocking on your door he may not have the 'dark goth look'.They could be smartly dressed and wielding the Christian Bible.

I have Jehovah's Witnesses family in the USA who practice the Watchtower JW enforced ritual shunning that i have not seen or heard from in 15 years.

The central core dogma of the Watchtower is Jesus second coming (invisibly) in 1914 and is a lie.Jehovah's Witnesses are a spin-off of the man made Millerite movement of 1840.

A destructive cult of false teachings, that frequently result in spiritual and psychological abuse, as well as needless deaths (bogus blood transfusion ban).

Yes,you can 'check out anytime you want but you can never leave',because they can and will hold your family hostage.

The world has the Internet now,and there are tens of thousands of pages up from disgruntled ex-Jehovah's Witnesses like myself who have been abused by the Watchtower cult.

Jehovah's Witnesses are often a mouth that prays a hand that kills.The Watchtower is a truly Orwellian world.

10 Million EX-JW now

There are now twice as many former Jehovah's Witnesses as there are active ones with 13,000 leaving every month.

Learn the truth about the "troof"

Danny Haszard Jehovah's Witness X 33 years and 3rd generation


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