Friday, October 26, 2007
The God Con (LUXURY TRIP TO HEAVEN and all that)
In Bloem right now they are a building ginormous cathedral - it looks more like a Hypermarket - in Langenhovenpark, a stone's throw from another Monolithic superstore - er, church, the Baptist church.
It seems that in the same way that people want to worship celebrities for their wealth and good looks, or just because they're celebrities, we want to vote for people with big glossy cars, and when it comes to men of the cloth; it's no different.
It took me a while to realise:"Wow, when you give money to the church, although they may say it's for the poor and quote some awesome verses, it's really going to the preacher's salary." Given this convenient overlap, it makes sense that your preacher, who must be wanting to earn top dollar, will say wjhat is most MOST APPROPRIATE, most conducive to a collective opening of purse strings. Is he going to berate you for being stupid, for your own indulgences? No; he's going to congratulate you on your blessings.
I realised the facile nature of this whole thing - let's call it a CON - when I was in Korea. There they don't even go to the trouble or the pretence of building churches (you know, tall, atmiospheric buildings with steeple, stained glass windows and such). They just plonk a cross on a part of a square mausoleum, and churches do their thing beside massage parlours, schools, internet cafes, restaurants and all the rest. Some go even future and demand a 10% tithe - where workers give back that fraction of their salaries to their bosses. It's got something to do with the boss doing the work of God, so a tithe to the boss is just like a direct donation to God.
If that sounds ridiculous, it's really not a much longer walk than what you're doing in church. If churches didn't care about money - beyond subsistence - I wonder how many church men we would see. It's been rumored that the ginormous church in Bloem is used to bankrool a shopping mall. When I confront Christians there about this they are completely unsurprised. They bravely say: Even if they are using their money for that, I dopn't care. I'm giving it to God. Meanwhile some people are laughing, chuckling, giggling on their way to another sizable dank deposit.