Organized Religion = Disguised Mafia

I am so fed up with the Christian conspiracy to get me into their oppressive fold, so they can control my thoughts and my spirit to live life instead of fearing death. Not to mention their greedy shake down of my hard earned dollars.

Tell me what the difference is between the following two statements?

  1. Pay us protection money or we’ll burn your store.
  2. Pay us a donation or you’ll burn in hell.

Any way you turn it, it looks like extortion to me.

When I make donations, I make donations to the Red Cross, UNICEF, and other worthy causes where I know my money will do good.

The donations you make to your ministry are spent on enriching their “Business”. When I see the stuff they spend the money on I just get so pissed off. I remember seeing one of those TV evangelist shows with some famous preacher I can’t remember the name of. He had built this “Crystal Cathedral” which was just an amazing building. I lost my lunch. The place must have cost millions to construct, and those millions came out of the pockets of the victims who were threatened to burn in hell. All that money would have been so much better spent on worthy causes, be it feeding hungry children, medical research, or to save the environment.

If you are a Christian or a Jew or any other religion, please stop wasting your extra money on your religious organization of choice. Send it instead to a true worthy cause, and if you are still worried of burning in hell, send your money on behalf of your ministry and tell them you did so. If they are truly pious, they will “Bless you” for it. If they complain and still threaten you with hell fire, then it’s just a Mafia gang in sheep’s clothing.



Have you truly seen shows that say “Pay us or burn??” Or have you heard shows that said "Giving charity helps you in the afterlife (and you interpreted that as “Pay or burn”)?


And that’s fine. I don’t think any religion will tell you that you’re going to Hell for giving to UNICEF or the Red Cross.


So you found a rotten apple. You think that there are no embezzlers at UNICEF, the Red Cross or any other worthy nonreligious charity?

I think it is wrong to simply make the generalization that all religious charities are frauds based on the one example you saw.


Well, I can tell you that my local synagouge helps run a local Senior Citizen center, sees to the religious needs of members of the community (without accepting money for it in return) and provides food for local people who cannot afford it.

BTW, is it OK according to you for a Muslim, Bhuddist, IPU worshipper, etc. to give to a religious charity, but not a Jew or Christian?


I agree with you here. But, I have yet to hear any religious organization say “Give (only) to us, or go to hell.”

Instead of throwing this anti-religious tirade out, find out who the “Crystal Cathedral” organization is and start a Pit thread about them.


Zev Steinhardt

How about adding a third one?
3. Pay us taxes or we’ll put you in jail.

I might be going somewhere with this so hang on. We pay taxes for a reason, sure they might be too high and the results mostly unnoticed for some people but they are there to provide for us. The same is with tithes. I go to a small church that has no large orginazation to back it up if we withhold our tithes. I am paying what the Bible says is Gods part, 10%. That 10% pays the bills and helps support my pastor. In return I get someone who preaches to me and in doing so will help me make heaven my home. I am in effect getting a service for my tithes. That is the way Christains look at it for the most part. Well, I didn’t go all that far after all. It’s my 2 cents anyway.

Zev made a few good points.

I did a search and found the “Crystal Cathedral” founded by Rev. Schuller.

Going over my OP again, I realized I may have been ranting a bit and perhaps this thread does belong in the Pit. Still, I think I have made some valid points worthy of a debate. It was a mistake to include all organizations, although if you ever walk around an ancient European Cathedral perhaps it isn’t so far off the mark, it’s been going on for some time. I don’t deny that some organizations do things to help in their community, but I think it’s just a little of the wealth they are sharing, they would need to do something for the community to show they’re doing the right thing.
Also if you read my OP, I did mention any other religions.

Don’t get me started on taxes.
As for the bible, who wrote it? Excuse me for answering my own question, but I believe it was God’s self-proclaimed representatives.
I’m certain they would have made sure they could get wealthy on your average peasant’s hard work.
Still, your particular pastor may not be in the league with some of the others, and if you feel he has performed a service for your benefit, then by all means do what you think is best. I for one feel better sending a check to a charity I know is doing something to improve the quality of life for all of us.

the disguise isn’t very good

Dal Timgar

Glad to read your second post, Jack.

Quite simply, it’s not a monolithic effort to drag you in and remove your money under the guise of “saving your soul.”

A large number of conservative Christians are firmly convinced that if you have not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior by the time you die, you can expect to burn. And they’re sincerely, and essentially altruistically, concerned enough to make nuisances of themselves warning you about it. A consequence of that acceptance of Him means you become part of a local church and worship there. And, presumably, give as you feel appropriate to its continued work.

A lot of us more liberal Christians see God as far more loving than that. And get involved in church because it’s the appropriate response to make to a God who loves us that much – to work together through an organization He founded towards the ends He wants us to pursue. Like equal justice for all. Like making sure the hungry have food, the homeless have places to live, and so on.

Typically, a televangelist is awestruck by his own ego, and is convinced that he (and, more or less, he alone) has been called to save the world from its own sinful folly. And rationalizes his way to the building of an empire of “ministries” and merchandising operations underwritten by the contributions of those who listen to him, and combatting the evil people who are out to destroy Our Godly Way of Life (e.g., Esprix and Hastur, David B. and other intelligent skeptics, us liberal heretics, etc.)

It’s this last, truly evil group toward whom your venom ought to be directed, not at Christians as a lump.

Where does it say that? Didn’t Jesus complain on and on about the Pharisees who only gave ten percent?

Actually, in Acts 2:42 and Acts 5, the Bible states that the early Christians lived a communal life, and even that God struck down a man and his wife who had lied about selling some belongings and pocketing the cash.

In line with Zev’s comments, my local parish runs one of the local food banks, several counseling centers, a place where parents can get their children innoculated for free, and various other services funded by my donations.

Also, wasn’t there a big scandal about United Way or some similar organization embezzling a large chunk of the donations they received?

And to comment about the old European Cathedrals, no one forced the people to fund and construct them. It was a total town effort that often took upwards of 200 years. They didn’t do it for fear of going to hell(for the most part, although I’m sure there were exceptions, there always are), they did it as a way of giving glory to God, as religion was especially central in their lives.

By the by, I live near the Crystal Cathedral, it is an exceptionally marvelous building. However, they use it quite often as a place to stage charity concerts, plays, and other large-scale events due to its excellent acoustics and other qualities. Of course, this isn’t to say that the Rev. Schuller hasn’t made a nice little nest egg off of it, but even with that, the Cathedral is still used to help the poor. To consider whether or not money would have been better spent just handing it out or using it to build a magnificent Cathedral, one would have to compare the costs of the construction against the amount that the institution has raised on behalf of many charities.

Jeepers. I can’t believe nobody has mentioned this yet. Am I just skimming too fast?

Um, Jack? You ask, “What’s the difference?” The difference is that Statement #2 would seem to imply that you believe in Hell, that you believe “lack of donation” equals “burning in Hell”. Right? Right? Or am I missing something here? Polycarp? :confused:

You believe that the Mafia can burn your store if you don’t pay them, because you’ve seen them do it, but when was the last time you saw somebody actually burning in Hell?

So, why not just not believe in Hell? Then you’re off the hook. This–

–sounds like you’re halfway there anyway.

If the concept of Hell comes from the Bible, and you don’t believe the Bible is God’s Word, i.e. is The Truth, and that the things in it are true, then isn’t all this kinda like worrying that if you don’t send money to the Wiccan Church, they’ll put a hex on you?

Maybe you should start worrying about the Wiccans. What happens if you come up against some Wiccans who decide that forcing you to donate to their church would be “the just thing to do”? :wink:
[is it just me or was that too easy?]

You nailed it, O Triune Waterfowl!

Unless you happen to subscribe to the idea of a God who serves as the Hit Man, err Hit Divinity, for the Holy Mafiosi. :frowning: And I have very little use for that sort of mockery of my faith, even when it alleges itself to have the support of the Pious Plurality :wink:

In that spirit, why is it then wrong for me to try to help you free yourself of the life of lies you’re living. The fear of what comes after is what keeps you in the grip of these people. They may not threaten hell fire, instead they may offer hope of a continued existence on a different plain. It still amounts to the same thing, which is the fear of death. Of course you must be loyal to them for the rest of your life. You are their income. If you were to stray and look sideways at a different religion, they preach intolerance and hatred. If two such religions happen to collide at a greater level, it results in war. Don’t you see? It is a business, and to protect that business, they will go to any means. Fear is a powerful weapon.
You may think I will be burning in hell for my blasphemy, but my belief in the great blank of nothingness gives me the spirit of life and I wish to share that with you. It is unfortunate that the intolerance that you have been taught gives you the right to hate me for trying to show you the truth. Oh, they are good at protecting their interests.

The Crown and/or Church funded these constructions. They got their funds from tithes and taxes and spoils of war for which the poor peasants were forced to pay, (sometimes with their lives for war). Prisoners of war and poor peasants often did the backbreaking construction work. Hardly any free will there.

It certainly sounds like a business to me. And like all “Non-profit” organizations, they need to show that they are doing something good in the community in order to enjoy tax benefits.
As to where the money is better spent. Who said it has to be handouts? I can think of numerous things that could have been constructed instead of the Crystal Cathedral. How about a research facility to develop pollution free, safe, hydrogen fuel that can be used in cars? As water costs practically nothing, the cost of transporting food to the hungry would be greatly reduced and we help preserve the environment for our future off springs. (By the way, it is the improved lives of our off spring we should be thinking about, not our selfish selves in the ever after).
Or perhaps, that money could have been spent on a “free” university, to help the poor educate themselves in order to get them out of that vicious circle that is poverty.

Can’t you see? All this money wasted on some faint hope that there is something after death, when all this money could be spent on enriching the now of life and the life of our future generations.

You missed my point completely. My point was that the Mafia and organized religion peddle in fear. One is the fear of ruining your business, the other is the fear of the unknown. As you have directed the question to me on a personal basis, let me just emphasize that I don’t fear death. The great blank of nothingness is not hell or heaven, it just isn’t. Knowing that, what is the point of wasting half your life in the hope of an ever after, and in so doing being lorded or taxed by the ones who pretend to be a representative of this fantastic place. You are being manipulated, I only wish you could see the truth and break your shackles of this brainwash. I agree with you that it is important to be good in life. Unfortunately the representatives of this myth called “God” have done a very good job in painting themselves as “good”. So obviously, you will feel you have done “good” by giving them your money.

Looks like your religious organization has taught you well. If my belief counters what you have been taught and may even threaten what your organization stands for, your reflex is immediate intolerance and hatred. They are so powerful.

Another religious organization peddling in fear? What’s the difference?

It was just you.

Stop being afraid.


Hmm, let me see here- the OP compares all organized religion to a crime syndicate which deals in drugs, murder-for-hire, and other crimes. He makes a complete misrepresentation of most faiths, as few “require” donations- and not all even believe in a “Hell”, per se. How can they “peddle in fear” if there is no “eternal punishment”? How is this not “trolling”?

Hey- I could say the GOP says: “Give us money or we’ll enact laws you won’t like”- hmm, maybe I should start a thread with the title “GOP=disguised Nazis”. But you know what that would be? Trolling.

Am I saying that the person who started the thread is a “troll”? No. That would be impolite and a “personal attack”. But, still, IMHO this THREAD could be encased in a clear block of lucite as an example of a “perfect troll”. But that is just my opinion, and my opinion is only about the thread content- nothing about the person who started it should be implied. The OP is 100% fact free- he even thinks that UNICEF $ goes 100% to the kids.

This thread and this “person” who started it should be ignored. Be nice billy goats folks- pay no attention to what is under the bridge.

True, I used the Mafia as an example for their business of extortion. In no way have I even implied any of the other crimes the mafia is involved in as a comparison to religion. If that is what you understood from reading the OP, then my apologies. I should have been clearer.

I would truly be interested to know which organized religions do not require funding from their followers. I can’t think of a single one. As for Hell, I think I have answered this in a previous post in that a faith can also promise Heaven or its alternatives. Either way, it is the hope of continuing after the big D. Or to put it another way, the fear of death.

I have admitted already that I ranted in the OP, but I think I clarified my points in subsequent posts.

Thank you! Here is a perfect example of an indoctrinated reaction to a belief contrary and unacceptable to the faith of the above writer. Notice the intolerance and hostility?
Prime example. I have seen this so many times when I admit my lack of faith. Another common reaction I get is pity.

I don’t think I actually said that 100% of UNICEF donations goes to kids. They do a lot more than that and I encourage you to take a look at what they actually do with the funds.
There are no Crystal Cathedrals here.

I guess I just wasted my efforts in replying to your post as you will be ignoring this thread. C’est la vie.

OK, by your definition, how is government different from organized religion or the Mafia? I can guarantee you that if you don’t pay your taxes the government will cause some harm to you.

So the answer, as many, many people have tried to point out to you is that organized crime and the government will do something to you in the here and now. Religions can only threaten an assumed after life. If you don’t believe in it, there’s nothing you have to worry about.

Also, another point I’d like to point out is that I don’t recall anyone saying that you will go to hell if you don’t tithe. I’m a Catholic, so maybe it’s different in other religons, but I have never been told to give or I go to hell. Rather, our Pastor, and all the pastors of all the other parishes I have gone to have simply asked for donations so they can put a new roof on, or retrofit to protect from earthquakes.

Quite frankly, the only one here making illogical and knee-jerk reactions to things people post is you, NiceGuyJack.

Jack, I’m a liberal Christian and less than thrilled by the Jesus-or-Hell form of evangelism espoused by the evangelicals, and dead disgusted by televangelists who will “save your soul for $29.95 a month.”

You clearly did not read my whole post, but stopped short at the paragraph suggesting that there is such a thing as a sincere evangelical who is trying to “save you,” not for money, but because he cares whether or not you go to Hell. Whether or not you buy into their view is irrelevant; you ought to respect the personal caring involved. As a parallel, the paranoid who is convinced if you board that plane it will crash may be crazy, but his trying to keep you from flying is done from good intentions.

My point, which you failed to address, is that Christianity is not a monolithic effort to separate you from your money to enable its leaders to live in luxury – though, granted, some elements of it certainly are operating that way.

Wanna take a fresh shot, with your weapon more tightly focused this time? I’d appreciate it. Because the Falwells and Robertsons of this world deserve it.

Sorry, Jack, I still don’t think your analogy holds. You say, “The Church uses the threat of the unknown to blackmail us into giving them money.” I dunno about you, but when somebody blackmails me, if it’s with something “unknown”, I’m sure not gonna give him any money. What, “I might have incriminating photos, pay up”? No way.

I’d have to see some kind of proof. Otherwise, it’s just all blowin’ smoke. It’s like a voodoo curse: “Give me money or you’re going to Hell.” “Oh, yeah?” I say. “Prove it. Show me.”

When was the last time the Church showed you that it could back up its threats? Ever see someone go to Hell? No, because it’s all “unknown”. They’re blackmailing you with the fear of something “unknown”–and you’re paying up? Sheesh, then, buddy, you’d better send me all your money, and the keys to your car, too, otherwise I’ll do something really bad to you

The way it works with the Mafia, they send legbreakers around to give you a hint, before they actually burn down your store. You’re saying, “The Church might have legbreakers to send around, so I’d better pay up.”

Oh, but the Church is working within the realm of the “unknown”, so, lemme see, it would be, “The Church might have something like legbreakers to send around, before they send me to Hell, if Hell in fact exists, and if the Church in fact has the power to consign people to Hell, so I’d better pay up.” You are a con man’s dream, Jack.

Um. Once again I have the unnerving feeling that there’s something I’m missing here, some fine point of logic that my tiny brain is failing to grasp.

Um, Jack? This whole thread is about “how organized religions extort money from people outside their religion”.

“The Christian conspiracy is trying to get me to join them so they can get my money!” If they’re trying to get you to join them, then that means you aren’t already with them, which makes comments about “which religions do not require funding from their followers” totally irrelevant. The thread isn’t about “tithing” or “not tithing”, or even about “building cathedrals” or “not building cathedrals”. It’s about “the Church threatens to send people to Hell if they don’t join it and give money”.

The Mafia doesn’t threaten to burn down stores belonging to Family members.

“You are all indoctrinated! I, and I alone, have the Entire Truth! Heed my voice!” (For some reason I’m flashing on Michael York up on the balcony, at the end of Logan’s Run. “Listen to me! You must listen! No one has ever been Recycled!”…)

So, the whole purpose of this thread is witnessing? You’re here to proselytize for the Holy Faith of Atheism and/or Nihilism? It’s been done, babe.

And you are so brave. To stand up against Them, the One Lonely Voice Crying In The Wilderness… :rolleyes:

No doubt any moment now They will snuff you out like a candle, but your Message will live on…

[hey polycarp you wanna go out for pizza or ice cream or something]

Can’t think of very many religions then, can you? I’m a Catholic. Am I required to give money? Nope. And if you think I am, I’d really like a cite. When I moved two months ago, I joined my new parish. Was I given a sheet suggesting a tithing method? Yup. Did it give any indication I was required to give? Nope. Did I get my donation envelopes in the mail last week? Yup. Did they give any mention of any requirement? Nope.

Methinks you need to brush up on your study of organized religions outside of the television world. Like Polycarp said, Falwell and Robertson have this rant coming to them. But you have repeatedly not made mention of any specific organization, or given any specific examples, aside from one vague reference to the Crusades, and one mention of Middle Ages cathedrals. I see nothing recent, let alone post-Vatican II here. But of course, my only reference is the RCC, which is such a small organization…

Would the better brain-washer pick up the check? :smiley:

Substantiation, please?

Can you please provide a doctrinal statement from any major denomination which says “Pay us a donation or you’ll burn in hell”?

Sure, there are crooked preachers out there who want to tug at your wallet, but most are nothing like that. Besides, even those crooked preachers don’t go so far as to say “Donate or burn in hell.”

The Confession.

I admit I sometimes go off on a tangent. The OP in this thread is a good example of this.
As you have all so kindly pointed out, it is presumptive, accusative, offensive, vague, and generalizing.
So where did it come from? Let’s just say I recently had another “save my soul” encounter. It irritates me considerably, because I am supposed to be grateful for the concern, when it actually shows a complete lack of respect for me. This basically boiled inside until it erupted into the rant you have all witnessed in the OP. It could and should have been better thought through. My apologies.

The Concession.

As my initial fury dissipated, I tried to counter some of the responses, but it was really not possible. The damage was done in the OP. I had lost this debate before it even started. I certainly know when I have been beaten and as such, I concede this debate.
Thank you all for giving me a jolly good whoopin’.

The Conclusion.

Having said all that, this thread gave me some food for thought and I can’t help but feel I am on to something worthy of an intelligent debate/discussion. So give me a little time to think things through. I’ll be back with an OP with more thought, less venom and a clearer picture for a more constructive debate. I would certainly hope to see all of you there picking it to pieces.