Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hitting the Jesus Jackpot

One of the curses of being up late at night is that, occasionally, I wander to the TV and try to find something to listen to while I learn to knit. The other night, I found this particularly nasty bit of "prosperity gospel" from Todd Coontz. Just sow a "seed of faith" of $1000 and you'll get a real estate miracle.

There is no evidence I'm aware of, either in scripture or in fact, that this "sowing a seed" business works.
I read Coontz's mission statement and saw nothing in it declaring that planting faith seeds (sending him money) would make you wealthier. In fact, the only thing I saw that might be relevant to his main claim is he believes in the "priesthood of the believer." If the believer has his or her own priestly authority, why would s/he need to send money to Coontz? Because he has a special anointing on him to triple your fortune? Prove it!

Late night television is a great place to find lonely, desperate people - the unemployed, the elderly, the disabled - the kind who might give all they have for a miracle they urgently need. And it's not through reason that they are asked to give their last dollar. It's through faith.

That night, Coontz told his audience that 1,189 people had been chosen by God to sow a $1000 "Triple Favor" seed of faith to his ministry. If they did, Coontz promised a real estate miracle, implying that their fortune would turn around and they'd get back more money than they had given. I suspect you'd get better odds from the slot machines trying to hit a triple jackpot. But the odds are definitely in Coontz's favor. Do the math. 1,189 x 1000 = $1,189,000 in tax-free donations.

I'm in the wrong business. Damn the conscience believers keep telling me I don't have.

As the names and cities of the donors began scrolling across the website, I wondered if they were real. It would be a shame if they were fake names but a tragedy if those donor names were real. If people were truly getting wealthy by giving money to this guy, wouldn't we have tens of thousands of believers testifying to that on live TV by now? Wouldn't this be news that would stir all of us?

I think the only miracle going on here is that people in 2013 are still gullible enough to fall for what I see as a con. That's why it's important that we constantly speak out against evil done under the banner of religion and we strive to show faith for the scam it really is. People ask why we fight religion when it hurts no one. Send this preacher your last $1000 and see how much it hurts.