Organized religion is a business. It is a transnational corporation that thrives and feeds off the insecurities and superstitions of humankind. It is managed by apparently well meaning self appointed guardians of morality that interpret the words of a “man of god” in an insidious manner, twisting truth to present a palatable and surprisingly believable product to seduce people into hoping for a better life in this world and the next.
Salvation is supposedly attained by renunciation of existing beliefs (whatever they may be) and embracing a well packaged brand that gives the consumer a sense of belonging to a tribe with the clothing, symbolism in the form of cheap trinkets hawked at outlets outside places of worship – branches of the corporation; and rituals that create an atmosphere of mindless religiosity, the music adding an emotive aspect to the experience.
Those at organized religion headquarters have been fine tuning the brand over the ages to adjust to changing social patterns and more importantly to stem any exodus of faithful consumers to another brand, new or old.
With the advent of mass electronic media it is now possible to market the product in real time. Images of pomp and pageantry, ceremonies and consumers in deep pray/ obeisance present a convincing USP – unique selling point.
It has been said that organized religion is necessary to keep the consumers occupied with living a good life by faithfully following the specifications of the product. Thus, society becomes civilised and obedient?
Interestingly it is organized religion that has created schisms between consumers. It is organized religion that uses violent methods to promote, inculcate and convert consumers to another brand. Entire civilisations have been either wiped out or converted to another brand through political skullduggery by merchants of death representing organized religion.
So is organized religion a necessary evil and a profitable business?
Promoters of organized religion argue that the system works effectively by keeping consumers in a docile and deluded state of mind. It reaps rich dividends for those that control the brand. It is used successfully in the formation of social circles that offer exclusivity to those that seek to be seen to be a part of the club (a mile high club?).
It generates revenue but doesn’t have to pay taxes. All donations are not accounted for and these usually slip into a few pockets. It helps in real estate by investing in places for consumers to congregate and the ancillary industries that crop up around it….like the manufacture and peddling of religious paraphernalia etc. Some have their own banks while others prey on the faithful for propagating the illusion of the brand. All in all it is a win win situation.
Some established brands occasionally slip in the ratings but these are just hiccups because there is always a wily brand manager who reorients the disillusioned consumers by inventing non existent threats to the brand spiced by sudden miracles. Through the ages spurious brands namely cults have cropped up like abscesses on the established brands and have diverted some of the profits. Many have been dealt with severely without remorse or legality and the faithful consumers reminded of the penalties of digressing.
Others that constitute proprietary firms like gurus etc. are one off brands that have created a niche for themselves, a kind of top end brand meant only for those escaping organized religion and/or their society’s constricting lifestyle. In this instance cash has been the preferred medium for enlightenment.
The mission statement of each organized religion is unique only to its propagators/consumers. For those not in the flock every brand appears to be the same and hence, “new age fallacies” are proliferating at a swift rate much to the consternation of the promoters of leading brands.
Competition between brands continuously ignites wars, creates well meaning terrorism and, in numerous instances, perpetuates subjugation of women and children; the woman is perceived as a vessel for the male libido, production unit for future consumers and an evil influence on man by making him do things he wouldn’t do in the normal course of his insignificant existence.
Organized religion and its side kick, the unorganized sector/small scale industry of proprietary firms, are doing brisk business in reaping souls and rich dividends.
So what is the difference between an international brand of clothing, chocolate, soft drink or religion?
To be continued in Part two…