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3 Bumps

Selling God...thoughts?

im watching a documentary with the above title (its on Netflix). they are talking about how modern Christianity has grown by focusing on using God at every turn. it used examples from commercials to war propaganda to, of course, Christmas.

one thing that struct me was when they looked at Christianity in terms of Marketing Theory. i know some of you will find this offensive, but please, read it all & remember its from a movie, it is not my personal views. yes, there are stereotypes & assumptions, but the show encompassed all Christian denominations, so your personal views may be different.

1. Create a Need.
all ppl are sinners, we are born sinners, you can never be "good enough" on your own, etc.

2. Offer a Product or Service
Jesus died for your sins so you can be good enough, however, you must attend my church, follow my rules. Jesus will fill the void, remove your guilt, fix your problems, etc.

3. Rewards and Consequences
Heaven (if you obey us) and Hell (if you dont obey us)

4. Create Urgency
Do it now b/c Jesus is going to return, the rapture/armageddon is coming, the world is ending, the signs of the end times are everywhere, etc.

it talks about how ministers are raking in lots of money on books & merchandise by following this theory. it claims that governments have been using this theory to control their ppl for centuries (medieval Europe, 1600s England, current America). and that groups like the shakers & snake-handlers are dying out simply b/c they dont "sell" themselves right (no sex at all & letting poisonous snakes bite you).

so what do you think? do you agree or disagree with the Marketing Theory idea? do you see this in some churches, but not all? is this what Jesus had in mind when he said spread to spread the word?


Asked by okmanders at 10:20 PM on Sep. 13, 2012 in Religious Debate

Level 42 (152,217 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (16)

  • I'd say the marketing theory is working quite well in some congregations.  Others could probably use a little more of it - like some of the churches that have closed their doors around here lately, to be replaced by branch congregations of Osteen like mega-churches (see above).

    The big churches around here do massive marketing.  They bring in guest speakers and take out radio ads and billboards.  Tons of youth parties, with as many free invitations as the kids want to hand out to all their friends - preferably ones that don't go to church.  Most of their campaigns and parties hit on one or all of those 4 themes.


    Answer by NotPanicking at 10:42 PM on Sep. 13, 2012

  • I work closely for a marketing team, and this comes as no surprise at all.

    Do they mention another big marketing ploy Christianity uses of personal testimonials? This is like gold in the marketing world, and with the biblical call to testify, they get a huge amount of self-promotion done for free by millions of its followers.

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 8:17 AM on Sep. 14, 2012

  • Churchs' have been doing this forever. Church leaders have just learned how to truly monopolize on it for themselves.

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 7:33 AM on Sep. 14, 2012

  • This has gone on for a long time and I don't think this is the way to attract people to God. For me, it's a big turn off. I don't need to be sold on my beliefs.
    It's amazing how much money some of these churches and ministers have brought in. Sinful, just ask Tammy Faye Baker and her now ex Jim Baker. Oh wait, we can't, she passed away.

    Answer by PMSMom10 at 11:23 PM on Sep. 13, 2012

  • IMO, every Christian I've ever come in contact with has succumb to this very marketing concept whether they want to admit it or not.


    Answer by IhartU at 12:04 PM on Sep. 14, 2012

  • MamaK88

    Answer by MamaK88 at 8:32 AM on Sep. 15, 2012

  • Whatever adnilm. lol. You don't believe any of that in the list? None of that is part of your beliefs?

    Answer by IhartU at 9:28 AM on Sep. 15, 2012

  • Forget Churches, we see this in Politics!

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 12:06 PM on Sep. 15, 2012

  • Like Snake Oil, religion sells.  If there's a way to make a profit, for many people anything is fair game.  Religious beliefs have been used for centuries as a way for some entrepreneur to make money.  Think about the pilgrimages that people would make to "holy" sites, where they'd be greeted by vendors selling Mary's tears or a bone from Jesus' finger.  People believe, so they spend.  Capitalists will take advantage of that.


    Answer by jsbenkert at 11:56 AM on Sep. 16, 2012

  • I know a ministry that gives all their stuff away for free. Why because they actually give a damn.  1. Yes I believe we are all sinners, 2. yes Jesus died for our sins, however I don't believe anyone NEEDS or HAS to do anything.  You either seek after him or you don't.  I don't go to church, would like too, but the church that I would like ot attend is states away. Not because I have to but because I want to.  3.  There are natural rewards and consequences in life, we choose to do things based on those things.  4.  Urgancy, well I believe we are very close however I don't share my opinion about that with just anyone.  I see it this way you are either interested in God or your not.  It is all based on personal experiences anyone.  If someone is asking me questions about my faith I will gladly share it with them. 


    Answer by Anonymous at 5:35 PM on Sep. 14, 2012