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Who Benefits?


Bedouin
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I've been doing a lot of reading about religions in general and Christianity in particular, both pro and con. I was raised in various forms of Pentecostal, apostolic and church of god-in-Christ type of indoctrination. Have also been exposed to Catholicism. Still working on my extimony, so will flesh this out more there.

 

Here's my question: Who actually benefits from the perpetuation of the christian faith?

 

Obviously popes, cardinals, bishops have access to lots of wealth, as do some of the more prominent "prosperity gospel" televangelists here in the US (T.D. Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, et al).

 

But what about the little guys and ladies? What possible benefits can average everyday folks reasonably expect to get from so obvious a fraudulent teaching?

 

Would appreciate any insight from you all.

 

PS: I'm absolutely ecstatic about having found this wonderful board!

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Answers to the unanswerable questions = peace of mind, happiness. Especially when it comes to death. Plus it gives the appearance of giving "life a purpose". I never understood that mentality. Your life can still have a purpose without eternal reward. 

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Some of the mega church "leaders" preach a prosperity "gospel." One of the tenets is having to do with reciprocity. That if you tithe "x" dollars, "the lord" will reward you exponentially. Let's pretend we believe in the Bible for a minute. There is nothing about reciprocity in there. Some loosely tied passages will be used as "proof," but it's not a common Christian teaching. It is common in churches where the leaders are millionaires.

 

So fear and reward are powerful motivators to keeping people locked in the faith.

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Nothing of actual value. Xtianity pretty much benefits the clergy, not much more

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Pat Robertson, very secretive, but worth way over 100 million, possibly a billion. Kenneth Copeland, worth over 700 million. Basically all the evangelical celebrities. Most clergy are pretty well paid and have great benefits. TBN, what a scam.  And for any Christians reading this, just keep in mind, these jack off preachers are asking for money from the elderly on fixed incomes.

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For me, my conversion meant safety from demons. It was a childish fear of monsters that drove me to Jesus.

 

What did it profit me otherwise? Church gave me a place to grow up socially. After being an extremely shy wallflower picked on constantly in school, I found a place where people smiled at me (even pretty girls) and shook my hand and greeted me warmly. But that was people doing that. The religion itself gave me a framework for reality, and interpreting politics and world events. It was pure bullshit, but during the nuclear scare time of the 80s (remember Phil Donahue's Spacebridge?) it gave me hope that there would not be a nuclear war, but instead a rapture.

 

Others I knew converted to get a "real relationship" with their higher power in various 12-step programs.

 

Money all went to the church and to radio shows I devoured. I think a lot of believers really don't know what to do with themselves so they pursue ministry. I thought about becoming a preacher, though I didn't want to be a pastor (people... bah).

 

In retrospect, the most valuable part was the relationships with other people. Some of them became kinda jerks later, much more doctrinaire than when I knew them in the 80s. Others found their way out.

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It's not about who benefits, but who has the *illusion* of benefit. Millions of Xtians who are powerless in their lives get a (false) sense of power by allying with God. It makes them feel in control when they're not. They can say "it's God's will" and absolve themselves of responsibility and anxiety. It's very powerful psychologically.

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To me, it's a social thing.  "We believe [insert as appropriate]" is a way of asserting your communal identity and raising the defences against "outsiders".  I suspect that's why religious, social and political conservatism seem to go hand in hand.

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Thanks for all of the replies. So, to sum up:

 

Some do religion for monetary gain. Some to fulfill a need to belong. Some to feel powerful. Or perhaps it's a "software glitch" in the abstract human mind.

 

However, given all of the information available, literally at our fingertips, I honestly don't understand why religion generally, and Christianity particularly still have such a strong hold on the majority of our species. I just don't get it.:-*

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Because "our way is right"; everyone else is a foreigner, a criminal or a fool (depending on at whom you are pointing the finger and why).

 

It's the same attitude as nationalism or gang mentality.  It's another way of saying "who we are" and asserting superiority.

 

To my mind it seems horribly commonplace and unsurprising to the point of inevitability.

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Starting from young adulthood, my a-mum has wrapped up her entire life in Christianity and is completely devoted to perpetuating it.  What she gains from it is a sense of importance.  Her life is not just important, it is cosmically, infinitely, important.  In her mind, she is saving people's eternal lives and she is racking up mansions and jewels in heaven.  You can see how the Christian worldview is so very appealing to someone like my a-mum that comes from an impoverished and abusive background.  In her life before Christianity she didn't matter.  People ignored her because she wasn't pretty and smart.  Her parents mistreated her.  Her life was going nowhere.  But that all changed with Christianity.  They were sending buses into the poor inner-city places looking for vulnerable and emotionally needy people like my a-mum.  From her eyes, it was a gift from god.  A bus full of people that "loved" her literally showed up on her doorstep and not only that but they brought her into a new life where she would be important and loved forever. 

 

The Christian teaching is so gripping to people in poverty.  I have been poor all my life and I fell so hard for Christianity.  When you are destitute and you are a nobody in this world, it takes something like God and Christianity to make you feel like you could be a Somebody, and you could have a "family" of Christians to love you, and if that's not enough, you can have an almighty God to care for you and love you like a father forever.  It also gives you a job which is that your job is to become like Christ and make disciples for Christ.  Now your life has gone from scrubbing toilets to being a Child of God. 

 

It really is a tragic mind trap for the down-and-outs of the world.  I can see how a well-off, well-educated person could easily walk away from the claims and promises of Christianity but when you are in serious need and see no other way out, it is so irresistible.  You think you've found "the answer"

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Some of the mega church "leaders" preach a prosperity "gospel." One of the tenets is having to do with reciprocity. That if you tithe "x" dollars, "the lord" will reward you exponentially. Let's pretend we believe in the Bible for a minute. There is nothing about reciprocity in there. Some loosely tied passages will be used as "proof," but it's not a common Christian teaching. It is common in churches where the leaders are millionaires.

So fear and reward are powerful motivators to keeping people locked in the faith.

I can attest to this. A lot of giving and receiving, "blessings coming from the windows of heaven" (paraphrased scripture in the OT). Hopes of financial security if you're in that category.
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I've been doing a lot of reading about religions in general and Christianity in particular, both pro and con. I was raised in various forms of Pentecostal, apostolic and church of god-in-Christ type of indoctrination. Have also been exposed to Catholicism. Still working on my extimony, so will flesh this out more there.

 

Here's my question: Who actually benefits from the perpetuation of the christian faith?

 

Obviously popes, cardinals, bishops have access to lots of wealth, as do some of the more prominent "prosperity gospel" televangelists here in the US (T.D. Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, et al).

 

But what about the little guys and ladies? What possible benefits can average everyday folks reasonably expect to get from so obvious a fraudulent teaching?

 

Would appreciate any insight from you all.

 

PS: I'm absolutely ecstatic about having found this wonderful board!

 

I'm not sure who benefits economically on a large scale other than the large corporate entities like the Catholics and their major organized spinoffs. When you get down to the mom and pop denominations I think the only thing keeping things afloat is some us vs them kind of thinking. None of the denominations get along with each other but they sure wouldn't want to be a non-believer! Maybe shared delusion is the glue that binds?

 

That is a great question though. I also have wondered what keeps it rolling along? Maybe continual splintering into more and more groups actually give it life? I don't know. Cant wait to read the replies and get some insight. :-)

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