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Why Are People So Gullible?


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#1 franklyorange

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 04:51 PM

I had to move back into the bible belt for economic reasons. Although I don't own a tv, the place where I am staying has one. One evening, I was taking a break from job hunting, and there was a televangelist on who has been around for decades upon decades (by his own admission, he's been in "ministry" for over 50 years).

His half hour informercial follows the same formula used by most of these hucksters. They offer a free book. His was titled "Seven steps to financial freedom" - A common topic among these faith formula preachers. The book is absolutely free, but you know you are going to be put on the ministry's mailing list the moment you are gullible enough to call in and they will hit you up for donations for the word getgo. Side note: Don't you know these prosperity preachers are making a killing during these economic hard times?

Let me add that I was once just as gullible as all these poor fools calling in nowadays. I had to learn the hard way that it is the biggest and most successful scam operation ever conceived in the mind of man, but back to the formula. Once he introduces the book, and emphasizes that it is absolutely free, you find testimonies of people interjected into the program telling how their lives were turned upside down by reading this book and applying it. Many of these gung ho adherents tell of making a contribution to the ministry as a springboard to receiving financial blessings.

Here are some of the buzz words he uses in his sales pitch:

1. Sowing a seed (money of course)

2. Making a connection with him in the spirit by calling in. His ministry is special after all...above all others.

3. Make a vow (payment plan for your cash donations)

4. All your problems are caused by the devil, and to get him off your back, follow the formula.

5. Interjection of bible verses to support the formula.

It still makes me sad that many, many people even as I was watching were calling in and falling for it. They're desperate. Unemployment is at an all time high. Many are losing homes, jobs, bank accounts, you name it. The minister is preying on people's weaknesses, just like any slick corporate america exec or CEO would do. That his marketing skills are impeccable, goes without saying. That the man is rich, goes without saying. That he promises the same results for all people? Yes he does, and qualifies it as a promise of a "limitless lifestyle" - his direct quote, mind you. Limitless lifestyle....let that sink in for a few minutes..the absurdity...the absolute gaul and utter contempt of this man. I'm sure if this minister could speak he would say that Haiti's only problem is reading this book and applying it by calling in. All the world's problems are solved by reading his book, sowing a seed of cash, and making a "connection with him in the spirit."

And even today, in 2010, people, educated people, are falling for it. The solution is so simple to put an end to these predators - - STOP GIVING!!! STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP giving ladies and gentlemen!! Just stop it.
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#2 kimsland

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 09:36 AM

Actually the act of giving is not a bad thing. But I do know what you mean.

I'm new here, and happened to see your post without reply. So if you don't mind at all, I thought I'd read through and then reply.

Upfront I'm certainly not "religious", far from it actually, but I still feel that I'd like to give some of my thoughts to your concern of the church's economics and how they capture the poor (and young and naive)

Firstly you state that "you had to move back into the bible belt for economic reasons" (for poor present financial needs, as many do, especially around xmas time?)
Certainly, if the church has provided food or even financial help (as in vouchers etc) then don't look a gift horse in the mouth. You may want to mention what else (other than the financial guide) you were given or helped with, by being in the "bible belt"

Then you watched a televangelist on TV, giving information on "Seven steps to financial freedom" (of which you may not need, but decided to write down all the steps anyhow)
I appreciate that in anyone's tough times, that many (including myself as a family with children) do need support from time to time. And sometimes this may mean going to your local church. It can't be denied that the church services (although may and does have other motives) Can provide help to the needy. I know because I too have received food from them myself, in times of desperation.


But, I feel that your topic is not exactly about you deciding to go to the church to receive help. It is the concern of the church's financial (and membership) motives, especially with how their guide is written (and possibly also what you know of priests/pastors/ministers etc and other ones in charge, of how they are, well, financially well off.
Your concern seems to be (and certainly correct me if I'm wrong) The words that were stated in that guide are Not to help the needy, but to receive financial gain themselves, plus also to get a possible regular church member out of you (or anyone watching)

I'd like to add that your beliefs are just that. No one but you can change or alter how you feel about religion. I'm positive about that, because I'm totally upfront to anyone (including those that have helped me) I am just not religious, and don't expect to be ever inclined to be. Basically I feel that all religions are based on fairy tails (which children and weak minded individuals can relate to)

So this 7 step guide thingy, is just not for me (as much as seemingly you as well) It is to help others who require this contact and giving. Generally religious people, or those that are too weak to know any better (both being exactly the same by the way)

So we come to the end where you state to these possible weak and needy viewers to STOP and not go along with this clear act of business partnership and don't be gullible to giving them (the church) money, whether they can afford to (or not)
This is the issue itself, how do we stop ignorant people joining the church, and giving away all they have, to better the church.

Here's what I say, don't read such material, that can not help you.
Keep your own personal beliefs, but continue to learn from others who have been in similar circumstances.
Question why others may want to help you, and if you even need that type of help.
Once you have gained your strength again, thank them for the help that did help you. and move on.

A financial planner is not a religion. Always keep this separate in your mind, even if the church cannot.

I hope this helps, it is my first reply on the forum as well :)
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#3 Citsonga

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 11:46 AM

My grandmother used to watch a bunch of the televangelists. She may still watch them, but her living arrangement has changed and I'm not sure if she does. Anyway, she's a sweet, caring lady, but she's easily swayed by bible-thumping preachers, including those on TV. I wouldn't be surprised if she's sent money to some of them.

I remember when I was younger and still a firm believer, even then I didn't like most of the televangelists. The only one I remember watching with any regularity was Charles Stanley; he wasn't one to beg for money or promise personal gain for sending donations, and I did like him. But those blab-it-grab-it types and the fake-healers (er, I mean faith-healers) never set well with me.

And I'm very damn pissed at Pat Robertson right now. I never paid much attention to the 700 Club before, but his comments about the Haitians were so callous and mean spirited that if there were a hell, Pat would be one of the first ones thrown in.

Edited by Citsonga, 24 January 2010 - 11:49 AM.

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#4 franklyorange

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:43 PM

So this 7 step guide thingy, is just not for me (as much as seemingly you as well) It is to help others who require this contact and giving. Generally religious people, or those that are too weak.

I reserve the right to rant about these criminals called televangelists who are neither helping people nor are they the local church. They're by and large evil men and women. I probably will rant again when I feel the need coming on. Sorry, but that is what floats my boat and cathartic as well! Have a good day.
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#5 Franko47

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 04:32 AM

I reserve the right to rant about these criminals called televangelists who are neither helping people nor are they the local church. They're by and large evil men and women. I probably will rant again when I feel the need coming on. Sorry, but that is what floats my boat and cathartic as well! Have a good day.



You're absolutely right about this being quite a different thing from merely receiving help from one's local or community church. What you described are parts of the intricate mass-marketing techniques used for years now by techno-ministries and those who see a good opportunity through selling massive amounts of Christian commodity items.

Seldom do Christian viewers wonder about where all this money goes, or who benefits. In fact, they're really not troubled at all even if these books and things are for profit margins. The way in which modern TV ministries have gotten everyone believing that "making money" is a big part of Christian faith is likely the biggest laugh of all.

When you add the fact that by merely sending money for anything to these people, you might get "blessings" from the Lord is all part of the scam. It's all got this atmosphere of "investment" and "spiritual reward" and so on to it, which makes it very alluring even to many of the not-so-gullible.

Yes, Jesus will ignore starving kids in Africa and other places so that he can get "right on it" and help you move from five figures a year to six. Heck, make it seven. The rest of the world who are starving are all part of God's Plan anyway, so don't worry about it. Just ask Jesus to stuff another pillow under your bloated comfortable existence (compared to how others in the world live) and don't worry about it. That's for losers. And in the meantime let's make some money. Let's be winners.

You have every right to be outraged at this kind of arrogance; even when I was a Christian it made me cringe.
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#6 Jedah

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 04:42 AM

Part of me wants to write a long winded post, but really it just boils down to one fact:

Most people are gullible, because most people are stupid. I know that sounds arrogant, and I won't defend that it isn't...but I can't see things any other way. The vast majority of the population are foolish and it will likely always be this way.
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#7 Vigile

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 04:58 AM

Part of me wants to write a long winded post, but really it just boils down to one fact:

Most people are gullible, because most people are stupid. I know that sounds arrogant, and I won't defend that it isn't...but I can't see things any other way. The vast majority of the population are foolish and it will likely always be this way.


I pretty much find myself in this camp as well. Most people seem incapable of managing more than the simplest of logic and most people are prone to accepting the most retarded of arguments. Stupid is probably relative. Average is smarter than jelly fish I guess.
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#8 TedGresham

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 10:50 AM

Part of me wants to write a long winded post, but really it just boils down to one fact:

Most people are gullible, because most people are stupid. I know that sounds arrogant, and I won't defend that it isn't...but I can't see things any other way. The vast majority of the population are foolish and it will likely always be this way.


Indeed. Whoever wrote the Bible got one thing right. They use the word "sheep" to represent followers. The metaphor "shepherd and sheep" is a sweet one, the shepherd protecting the sheep, although it has never been the case, has it? When has the "Good Shepherd" protected a single sheep from any real harm? Even so, the sheep still follow the shepherd. From what I hear sheep are dumb animals and always defenseless and always follow the person they've been trained to follow. They are completely dependent upon the shepherd. Is this not the way of humankind? They pegged it. Whatever their agenda, and it was not benevolent, they who crafted Christianity out of a very Buddhist type religion understood people. They also gave the "sheep" or followers a back-handed insult by dubbing them sheep. Hardly anybody brings up the thought, though, that the shepherd is not protecting the sheep because he loves them but because they give him what he wants. They get sheered regularly for his benefit and once in a while they wind up on a spit.

Towards the end of my struggle to be Christian I looked closer at the "sheep and goats" metaphors in the Bible. I realized that if I as anything I am a goat. Goats are bad, they are obstinate, they think for themselves, they refuse to go along just because. Why are goats bad? Because they don't need a shepherd, they do not need to be led around by the nose, they have more sense, can fend for themselves, and make their own way.

I think a more important question than "why are people so gullible" is the one that resides at the top of my list all the time: "why are we NOT gullible?" What makes us goats? Why are we different? Religious people, Christians and so forth, will quickly respond that we've been influenced by "evil" or "the devil." But we know that's bullshit because we understand their whole good/bad god/devil world view is a crock. So what is it that led us to the point where a light went off in our head and we suddenly woke up to reality?

Is it an evolutionary process? Are we moving beyond our ancestors? Is it a quirk of genetics, a defect maybe? Why are we NOT sheep and why do we refuse to be sheep and why do we now recognize we were sheep and so many humans still are? The answer to these questions could very well be the answer to the survival of the human race. Ya think?
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#9 Shyone

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 11:49 AM

Is it an evolutionary process? Are we moving beyond our ancestors? Is it a quirk of genetics, a defect maybe? Why are we NOT sheep and why do we refuse to be sheep and why do we now recognize we were sheep and so many humans still are? The answer to these questions could very well be the answer to the survival of the human race. Ya think?

Tricky question. I'll say that anatomically we are no different. I could be wrong (we are apparently taller...). If there is any "evolution" it is in the realm of paradigms. We think differently. We are no longer confined to our own little corner of the world, and we can see with satellites or cameras around (and outside of) the world.

Although most of us are unable to "do the math" regarding relativity and other breakthroughs, we can get some hints about what it means, and it shakes up the common sense world view. We have better education with broader vistas across many cultures.

So that's a type of evolution, but not the type that you may have been thinking about.
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#10 Snakefoot

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 09:27 PM

Part of me wants to write a long winded post, but really it just boils down to one fact:

Most people are gullible, because most people are stupid. I know that sounds arrogant, and I won't defend that it isn't...but I can't see things any other way. The vast majority of the population are foolish and it will likely always be this way.

I concur. Those of us in the 10 percent make life possible for the 90 percent too stupid to pour piss out of a boot that has instructions written on the heel.
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#11 Vigile

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 11:38 PM


Part of me wants to write a long winded post, but really it just boils down to one fact:

Most people are gullible, because most people are stupid. I know that sounds arrogant, and I won't defend that it isn't...but I can't see things any other way. The vast majority of the population are foolish and it will likely always be this way.

I concur. Those of us in the 10 percent make life possible for the 90 percent too stupid to pour piss out of a boot that has instructions written on the heel.


That's the thing about intelligence though, it comes in many forms. Personally, I can handle logic pretty well, but I know super gullible people who have 'won' in life where it hasn't been such an easy road for me. My old business partner, for e.g., isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer but he knows how to make money and life comes pretty easy for him. I'm not so sure it's the top 10% making things smooth for others. Seems to me we all have various areas where we excel and where we are weak.
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#12 Snakefoot

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 12:00 AM



Part of me wants to write a long winded post, but really it just boils down to one fact:

Most people are gullible, because most people are stupid. I know that sounds arrogant, and I won't defend that it isn't...but I can't see things any other way. The vast majority of the population are foolish and it will likely always be this way.

I concur. Those of us in the 10 percent make life possible for the 90 percent too stupid to pour piss out of a boot that has instructions written on the heel.


That's the thing about intelligence though, it comes in many forms.

That's the deal right there. Just because someone is intelligent does not mean they are competent or not a total douche mostly useless in society. I think it is a combination of intellect, knowledge, and experience--plus an acted-on continuing desire to learn. And knowledge is the proverbial.
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#13 franklyorange

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 11:48 PM

When you add the fact that by merely sending money for anything to these people, you might get "blessings" from the Lord is all part of the scam.

Some of them guarantee it - how can anybody guarantee something like that? And yes, you hit the key concept..."investment" These contributors have been hooked by a desire to get a return on their passive style of investing - throw the money at the man of god and let him conjure up a miracle.

And it doesn't matter when it becomes revealed how the ponzi scheme is benefitting the leader, with his 7 figure income, 12,000 sq. ft. house, and his mercedes in the garage. A misaligned faith is what is driving these people - astronomically risky investing.
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#14 Vigile

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 01:36 AM

When you add the fact that by merely sending money for anything to these people, you might get "blessings" from the Lord is all part of the scam.

Some of them guarantee it - how can anybody guarantee something like that? And yes, you hit the key concept..."investment" These contributors have been hooked by a desire to get a return on their passive style of investing - throw the money at the man of god and let him conjure up a miracle.

And it doesn't matter when it becomes revealed how the ponzi scheme is benefitting the leader, with his 7 figure income, 12,000 sq. ft. house, and his mercedes in the garage. A misaligned faith is what is driving these people - astronomically risky investing.


I recall years ago listening to one of these guys. I was in financial trouble at the time and I admit it was tempting to want to let god sort it all out for me. IIRC, I figured the guy on tv had enough money and it didn't matter to god where I sent it, so I gave some to the local church instead.

Local pastors must love those televangelists for the residual effect.
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#15 Bobby

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 10:27 AM

From reading all the responses above, I guess all the hype and expectation of Christianity isn’t what people have gotten and so they are angry, upset and bitter. They feel like they were lied to and got a raw deal, and I can understand, I’ve felt that way regularly. And with all the complexities that characterize life on this planet earth, with all it's dysfunctional relationships and challenges, most people have looked for hope, something to cling to, to make sense of it all, and all the promises that Christianity "apparently" offers, to solve ALL our problems, has fallen far,far short of our/their expectations. I can understand that, because I have been there. BUT wait, are we all saying that there is NOTHING that Chrisitanity has brought to the lives of those we know? Are we all saying that there is NO ONE in your life, a person who having decided to follow steadfastly the Christian way, as we observe the quality of their life, their actions, their tone, and compare that from where they CAME from, and where GOD has brought them, are we saying that in our lives there is NO ONE? I simply cannot believe that there is NO ONE at ALL whose life has been evidently, and physically (i mean, each of us can testify that truly, this person is a changed individual) transformed by being a Christian (and i mean, the REAL DEAL of Christianity). And for me, in anything, if there is even the slightest grain of error in a theory, the slightest slant to half-truth, or mislead, or a bais, of an argument, then it is wholly untrue. I have seen individuals whose lives have been transformed, and I cannot deny it, i have seen them, and they are the REAL DEAL, you just cannot avoid them! They have an air of calmness, peace, serenity, truth, wisdom, and love. And these, who were prostitutes, drunkards, wife beaters, even worse! And they admit to what they were before, they cannot deny, I saw them as such! If it can work for them, then Christianity is the REAL DEAL! The question that I must then ask is: Why is it NOT working out for so many others?
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#16 Snakefoot

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 10:35 AM

From reading all the responses above, I guess all the hype and expectation of Christianity isn’t what people have gotten and so they are angry, upset and bitter. They feel like they were lied to and got a raw deal, and I can understand, I’ve felt that way regularly. And with all the complexities that characterize life on this planet earth, with all it's dysfunctional relationships and challenges, most people have looked for hope, something to cling to, to make sense of it all, and all the promises that Christianity "apparently" offers, to solve ALL our problems, has fallen far,far short of our/their expectations. I can understand that, because I have been there. BUT wait, are we all saying that there is NOTHING that Chrisitanity has brought to the lives of those we know? Are we all saying that there is NO ONE in your life, a person who having decided to follow steadfastly the Christian way, as we observe the quality of their life, their actions, their tone, and compare that from where they CAME from, and where GOD has brought them, are we saying that in our lives there is NO ONE? I simply cannot believe that there is NO ONE at ALL whose life has been evidently, and physically (i mean, each of us can testify that truly, this person is a changed individual) transformed by being a Christian (and i mean, the REAL DEAL of Christianity). And for me, in anything, if there is even the slightest grain of error in a theory, the slightest slant to half-truth, or mislead, or a bais, of an argument, then it is wholly untrue. I have seen individuals whose lives have been transformed, and I cannot deny it, i have seen them, and they are the REAL DEAL, you just cannot avoid them! They have an air of calmness, peace, serenity, truth, wisdom, and love. And these, who were prostitutes, drunkards, wife beaters, even worse! And they admit to what they were before, they cannot deny, I saw them as such! If it can work for them, then Christianity is the REAL DEAL! The question that I must then ask is: Why is it NOT working out for so many others?

There is no "real deal" xtianity or any other religion. All of it is bullshit made up (in the case of xtianity/Judaism) by superstitious Bronze Age goat herders to explain the world.

Religion provides hope and comfort to the ignorant and credulous, the "opiate of the masses," so to that extent it is useful, even helpful. Otherwise, it is a con game whereby a few become wealthy preying on the ignorance and gullibility of many.
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#17 Shyone

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 10:42 AM

And for me, in anything, if there is even the slightest grain of error in a theory, the slightest slant to half-truth, or mislead, or a bais, of an argument, then it is wholly untrue. I have seen individuals whose lives have been transformed, and I cannot deny it, i have seen them, and they are the REAL DEAL, you just cannot avoid them! They have an air of calmness, peace, serenity, truth, wisdom, and love. And these, who were prostitutes, drunkards, wife beaters, even worse! And they admit to what they were before, they cannot deny, I saw them as such! If it can work for them, then Christianity is the REAL DEAL! The question that I must then ask is: Why is it NOT working out for so many others?

You have set standards for your beliefs that are pretty high. If you start to examine your beliefs, you will no doubt find things that are slanted, lies and misleading. You will have to decide for yourself however.

The inner peace that people find is just that: Inner. Buddhism and other oriental religions stress the aspect of inner peace, truthful dealing and Right Ways. I'm not a Buddhist, but I know that any religion, including Islam, can be transformative.

It doesn't matter what you believe. The strength to change comes from within.
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#18 Citsonga

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 07:21 PM

From reading all the responses above, I guess all the hype and expectation of Christianity isn’t what people have gotten and so they are angry, upset and bitter. They feel like they were lied to and got a raw deal, and I can understand, I’ve felt that way regularly. And with all the complexities that characterize life on this planet earth, with all it's dysfunctional relationships and challenges, most people have looked for hope, something to cling to, to make sense of it all, and all the promises that Christianity "apparently" offers, to solve ALL our problems, has fallen far,far short of our/their expectations. I can understand that, because I have been there. BUT wait, are we all saying that there is NOTHING that Chrisitanity has brought to the lives of those we know? Are we all saying that there is NO ONE in your life, a person who having decided to follow steadfastly the Christian way, as we observe the quality of their life, their actions, their tone, and compare that from where they CAME from, and where GOD has brought them, are we saying that in our lives there is NO ONE? I simply cannot believe that there is NO ONE at ALL whose life has been evidently, and physically (i mean, each of us can testify that truly, this person is a changed individual) transformed by being a Christian (and i mean, the REAL DEAL of Christianity). And for me, in anything, if there is even the slightest grain of error in a theory, the slightest slant to half-truth, or mislead, or a bais, of an argument, then it is wholly untrue. I have seen individuals whose lives have been transformed, and I cannot deny it, i have seen them, and they are the REAL DEAL, you just cannot avoid them! They have an air of calmness, peace, serenity, truth, wisdom, and love. And these, who were prostitutes, drunkards, wife beaters, even worse! And they admit to what they were before, they cannot deny, I saw them as such! If it can work for them, then Christianity is the REAL DEAL! The question that I must then ask is: Why is it NOT working out for so many others?


First, I believe that proselytizing is forbidden in the "Testimonies" forum, so you're breaking the rules by posting this here.

Second, your presumptuous claims do not describe me at all. My turning away from christianity was NOT based on not getting what I expected from the religion, it was based on serious flaws in the bible.

Third, just because things work out for some christians does NOT prove that christianity is true. There are people in ALL BELIEF SYSTEMS who have things work out for them, yet you wouldn't see that as proof that the nonchristian beliefs are true, would you?

Fourth, if you REALLY believe that "the slightest grain of error in a theory, the slightest slant to half-truth, or mislead, or a bias, of an argument" makes it "wholly untrue," then examine christianity and you'll find that it is "wholly untrue."

Simply put, you're barking up the wrong tree here.
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#19 Ouroboros

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 07:28 PM

Thank you Citisonga for pointing that out.

I also realized that the topic wasn't a testimony anyway, so I moved it.
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#20 Kathlene

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 08:04 PM

I personally cant stand those wild televangelists that prey on people. I abhor it. I hate that prosperity gospel that they spread, and stand up there with their rich lives and take, take and take from all the little people. It is low and definately bad stuff. I always wonder where their money goes, and if it is actually going into some form of ministry for poor people, etc. If its not, I don't give them the time of day. Im so wary of these big superchurches too that have millions of dollars, but very little ministry to show for it.
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