Religion adapts to modern market

Any sort of religion is fundamentally philosophy. It is metaphysics. Metaphysics requires a certain type of mind to understand it, and many people cannot. They may understand a writer or two, but the more abstract idea of philosophy evades them.

Those who understand it talk about it. It fascinates people who don’t understand it, and as people realize they can get something out of it they start to charge others. The guy who understands says, "Hey, you really like this, huh? Well, why don’t you give me five bucks and I’ll keep talking." So the people who don’t get it pay up. As this guy gets more people to listen to him, he makes more money.

Money is power. Other people who get philosophy begin to want money, and when the first guy has people willing to acknowledge that he is smart and he gets it, he begins to have power. Having followers is having power. That’s why the American Automobile Association gives you such good benefits for joining – your membership makes them more powerful.

So the second guy decides to take up teaching religion for money and power. The only problem is that they are both going by the same sources. So to differentiate, one guy says, "Hey, let’s wear those little hat things. That way, everyone who sees you will know you are with me." The other guy says, "Hey we’ll all meet on Sunday, and we will wear our best clothes, that way everyone will know you are with me."

So this is how customs and habits develop. They develop to show the teachings one follows. Of course, it is all different interpretations of the same source, so it is like looking at politics and seeing things through a Republican lens while another sees it through a Democratic lens.

We all inflict our personal values on the source. These personal values are the divisive factors in religion, not the philosophy of religion itself. Religion is metaphysics.

There are no divisions between people in metaphysics and religion itself is never divisive; people teaching religion are divisive. It helps them garner power and money to be different.

So church has been tailored to suit the needs of the consumer. If people don’t really want to follow all the commandments, a person who gets philosophy and wants money will create a service that allows people to avoid them. In the past, preachers would deride those who hoarded money and never helped their community, but now at churches where the congregation is wealthy, wealth is seen as a blessing from God for good service, and all you really have to do is pray for the poor.

Just a few years ago, saying "Goddamn" was a personal sentence to Hell, as was tithing and not holding all the commandments What happened? Now we can say "Goddamn" all day long without fear of fire and brimstone. When do you think the last time the commandment about the Sabbath was upheld? And now tithing is hoped for, but not a requirement for heaven.

God stays the same. Religion is the same thing it was thousands of years before Jesus was born.The words of the Bible, save translation errors, are the same. All that has changed is how people sell it. Pastor Joel Osteen would have been called a heretic a couple centuries ago, but today he is the greatest. The only things that change in religion are the habits and customs.

Khan, a political science and history junior, can be reached via [email protected]


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