Branding Religion: How To Gain In Belief Systems
Published: Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 02:12
Every day, students on campus are bombarded by solicitors working to sell them something. The spectrum ranges from energy drinks to religion. Yes, religion—that's the price we pay for an open campus.
The specific religion being promoted doesn't matter for this piece. What matters is the fact that religion is being positioned as a brand, or a method of capital gain. Some people quickly recognized the personal advantage they could gain from belief systems and capitalized on it.
The people that open their own churches, or promote already existing ones, are doing so not in the interest of their beliefs, but their pockets. The more people they can drag into their church, the more donations they can expect. And do you honestly think that all of this money is spent on the real needs of the church?
In addition, if the majority of these people really were so religious, then why are some churches involved in scandals?
As sad as it is, sex crimes and child molestation cases often appear in the news. The most famous case involved Tony Alamo, who was convicted and sentenced to 175 years in prison.
His violations, among others, included rape and transportation of minors for sexual purposes. Moreover, there is not a single-standing case of religious leaders abusing people and societies as a whole. There is no other brand or organization that would stand through so many scandals and crimes and still be relatively popular in a society.
Of course, there are some fanatics who are completely obsessed with their beliefs, like the ones screaming on the corner of the Auraria Library. I once witnessed a whole debate between one of them and a student who happened to walk by.
They were arguing over the definition of a sin and what happens to sinners. It was quite amusing to listen to two individuals screaming and throwing their hands around over a matter, the truth to which they will never find out.
They were blindly pushing their ideas on other people, potentially provoking negativity, judgment, and even violence. Furthermore, religion should remain something peaceful and beautiful, not violent and aggressive, as these people's words were. Would aggressive words and actions be considered sinful? I believe they would.
In both cases of preaching, whether for ideals or personal gain, people voice very extremist opinions. They speak like they are the only ones who are right and there is no one else that can give you the right rules to this life. Listen to these people for five minutes and look at their body language. Their motions are very aggressive and, with hands flying towards you, the language is very strong,
extremist, and filled with black-and-white opinions.
Students become a perfect target for both sets of preaching. Historically, young people were viewed as idealists with strong personal beliefs and the desire to change the world for the better. Rest assured that promoters will draw you a colorful picture of a better world with absolute morals. Furthermore, young people are just learning about the world and looking for answers. So natually, they are the best kind of people to push some artificial answers onward.
Having said all that, churches don't have to be omitted altogether. As long as some belief system, whether religious or not, teaches people tolerance, it's great.
These days, people are in desperate need of tolerance for each other. Politics and finances already separate societies, dividing them in classes and making them fight for the same piece of a cake. There are more than 300,000 officially registered churches in the United States alone, creating even more gaps among people. Are we that different in our morals to need 300,000 churches?
Every religion promotes harmony, peace, and tolerance. Keep that in mind next time somebody is throwing fists up for some religion they supposedly believe in. Bottom line, college teaches students to have think critically, so remember that when approached by preachers.