For Sale: Religion!!!

hammer

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It struck me in the Airport the other day, watching a Christian evangelist show in the lobby, that in our western world, religion could often be percieved as a commodity. Something that can be sold. This TV "Host" was a PRO salesman...man was he good! (I work in advertising BTW) . The lights, camera crosses, segments.....the whole thing was a beutifully scripted and executed advertisement for the Chrisitan Faith.

I try and live my life believeing that there is no right or wrong but something about this just doesn't sit well with me. Why was this show on TV? Where are all the Islamic, Buddhist, hindu and Taoist infomercials?

I dunno. I guess I feel that one's own belief system is a treasured and beutiful thing - whatever it may be...NOT some commodity to be bought and sold.

How do you guys feel about the promotion of the commodity known as religion?
 

Bandit

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depends on where you live is how much you see it. ALL religions have commercials & have TV stations & radio stations with propaganda. Some to the point of attempt to control an entire nation. it is not just a christian thing.

if you are in the biz, then you know that most ads .Period. like that are loaded with some gimmick & some form of a lie that have nothing to do with religion.

maybe it is the influence from all the other lies on TV & commercials to 'buy or sell' that causes people with a belief to think it is ok.- instead of the way you are looking at it.
:)
 

Saponification

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In Western countries there aren't enough Buddhists to make advertising viable - it would just be a waste of money. And Western Buddhist centres simply don't have the cash to fund that sort of effort - Asian temples do, but not the Western ones. And this is a Western cultural thing, so if it's going to happen it will be done by a Western group.

Of course, not all religions are dogmatic. Not all religions want you to join the ranks of thousands, millions or billions, so to speak. And not all religions are suited to that sort of commercialisation. Books on Zen and washing your car, garden ornaments of the Buddha and so on are a bit different to how Christmas and Easter have been commercialised into oblivion.
 

Artur

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It's no surprise that it seems like religion (or, more specifically, Christianity) seems these days like a commodity being sold. A great many of the techniques used in what is loosely called the "church growth movement" are taken directly from marketing strategies employed by companies everywhere to sell thier products. I have attended several seminars myself where the workshops could be easily interchanged with a sales seminar from any company.



For many, this is a cause for concern. With such emphasis on these techniques, other things are being lost. There have been several studies about the growing theological shallowness of churches emphasizing growth over all other things; even pastoral or other leadership position qualifications are as likely to require things like "team builder" or "proven track record of growth" rather than any theological/spiritual qualifications. It does seem, sometimes, like a simple commodity is being sold.
 

Vajradhara

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Namaste all,

no more clear example of this phenomena exists, in my view, than how Yoga is sold in the Western hemisphere.

and it is sold... through tapes and instructional classes and all that really fancy clothing et al.

of course... this really is just a symptom of an underlying illness, to use a popular metaphor. you regularly here things like "well, i tried Yoga, but it didn't work for me."

what does this mean? "tried Yoga"? this makes it seem as if it is supposed to be a magic pill that one takes and all ones problems are resolved. this is most certainly not the case.

generally speaking, the religions in the Eastern Hemisphere tend to emphasize the necessity of the individual being, putting something into practice, for some time, before they have any particular skill with it. thus, when we see a Yogi that has been practicing for 30 years, it is foolish of us to presume that we could have that same attainment after a month of Saturdays.

*grr...*
 

path_of_one

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I'm with you, Vaj. And everyone. This sort of thing really bothers me. I feel like it cheapens the religions it's peddling. There's no depth to the mass-marketed versions of any religion, at least from what I've seen.

And I don't think that problem with Yoga "not working" for people after they try it a few weeks is limited to Eastern religions. People will try out going to church, or praying, etc. the same way, and drop it just as readily after God doesn't answer after a month goes by. I think it's a symptom of people thinking that spirituality is all about feeling good and an unwillingness to do the work involved. Enlightenment (or salvation) can't be bought or sold, despite what some people want to think.
 

dayaa

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personally i think any attempts to "sell" religion are sure to be counter-productive. these techniques "cheapen" religion. i am interested in learning about and discussing belief systems, but hate to have things "rammed down my throat". i'll find my own way in my own good time, and the more aggressively things are pushed onto me, the more likely i am to back away.
 

radarmark

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Ditto. After Meeting for Worship last weekend someone from outside our Meeting (Quaker for congregation) came in to announce a "flash meditation" at an annual village event with "advertise Quakerism". I do not believe any of the Members will attend.

Pax et amor vincunt omnia, radarmark
 

Snoopy

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I'll bite and take the counter position. When I 've attended a Quaker Meeting House it was sign-posted, had posters outside and leaflets in reception.

There have been Quakers attend the Buddhist Temple. How might they discover the existence of the place?

What is 'advertising'?
 

Paladin

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Ditto. After Meeting for Worship last weekend someone from outside our Meeting (Quaker for congregation) came in to announce a "flash meditation" at an annual village event with "advertise Quakerism". I do not believe any of the Members will attend.

Pax et amor vincunt omnia, radarmark

I don't mean to make light or anything, but this made me smile. I thought of a "flash meditation" like a normal flash mob where at a certain cue everyone starts to do... nothing. :p
 

IowaGuy

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you regularly here things like "well, i tried Yoga, but it didn't work for me."

what does this mean? "tried Yoga"? this makes it seem as if it is supposed to be a magic pill that one takes and all ones problems are resolved. this is most certainly not the case.

generally speaking, the religions in the Eastern Hemisphere tend to emphasize the necessity of the individual being, putting something into practice, for some time, before they have any particular skill with it. thus, when we see a Yogi that has been practicing for 30 years, it is foolish of us to presume that we could have that same attainment after a month of Saturdays.

Hi Vaj, how long do you think one should pursue a particular line of study to decide if it is indeed for them? With the limited lifespans we have on this planet, and the multitude of choices of different religious/spiritual studies to pursue, how is one to choose which one is best if one needs to devote several years to a given pursuit to start to see results?

Or do you think it doesn't matter what path one chooses as long as they give it 100%?

I agree one cannot "try yoga" in the course of a few weeks/months. But do you think yoga is for everyone if they would just devote years instead of months?

Do you agree with the 10,000 hours concept in the book "Outliers" and think it applies to spiritual pursuits as well?
 

A Cup Of Tea

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Hi Vaj, how long do you think one should pursue a particular line of study to decide if it is indeed for them? With the limited lifespans we have on this planet, and the multitude of choices of different religious/spiritual studies to pursue, how is one to choose which one is best if one needs to devote several years to a given pursuit to start to see results?

Or do you think it doesn't matter what path one chooses as long as they give it 100%?
This is where I am, I'm immensely interested in almost every religions and many philosophies, so of course I want to study them all. But at the same time, I want to give a philosophy the time and energy it requires to actually understand it in a fundamental way, to live it.
So I'm forced to choose one over a hundred others, which will always feel like fail.
 

radarmark

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Paladin, you got it. Either a bunch of qiet people or some long-hair (like me) dancing around singing "Witchi-Tae-To" or "Hari Krishna". Either picture gets me going.

Pax et amor vincunt omnia, radarmark
 

Dream

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A Cup of Tea said:
This is where I am, I'm immensely interested in almost every religions and many philosophies, so of course I want to study them all. But at the same time, I want to give a philosophy the time and energy it requires to actually understand it in a fundamental way, to live it.
So I'm forced to choose one over a hundred others, which will always feel like fail.
You should talk to Greymare. She's a frequent member here and has strong opinions, and I've met her in person. She'll tell you she's no scholar, but you will find her to be a worthwhile resource.
 

Vajradhara

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Hi Vaj, how long do you think one should pursue a particular line of study to decide if it is indeed for them? With the limited lifespans we have on this planet, and the multitude of choices of different religious/spiritual studies to pursue, how is one to choose which one is best if one needs to devote several years to a given pursuit to start to see results?

Namaste Iowaguy,

thanks for the post.

that's a good question and i think that the answer is fairly unique to the individual being. it doesn't take long, in many cases, to know something isn't correct whilst i may take longer to find out if something is correct. i suppose that is how i have gone about it and thus i have three basic traditions which i devote my time and attention to whilst ignoring the rest unless and until they directly impact my day to day existence.

it is, i think, a game of time (if such can be considered with a metaphor like that) and there really isn't a short cut that one can take on an experiential level. it is, of course, possible to read the texts and determine if they are logically coherent and make sense or agree with our understanding of reality without spending a great deal of time in the actual praxis advocated by those texts, imo.

Or do you think it doesn't matter what path one chooses as long as they give it 100%?

by and large, yes, this is my view. it may matter in some specific instances depending on the tradition however, from my point of view, the absorption of the discursive intellect into the pursuit of the subject matter is paramount.

I agree one cannot "try yoga" in the course of a few weeks/months. But do you think yoga is for everyone if they would just devote years instead of months?

well... yes and no :) yes, it is since it is a very good form of exercise all other considerations notwithstanding. in terms of a spiritual practice, no, not all beings will benefit from such a practice.

Do you agree with the 10,000 hours concept in the book "Outliers" and think it applies to spiritual pursuits as well?

hmm... i have not read the book so i cannot comment on it in any detail however i am familiar with the idea you've outlined. yes, i think that is a pretty good way to think of it and it seems to fit with most peoples experience thus i'm thinking that even if some specifics are wrong the general principle applies. in athletics, for instance, one finds stories of all sorts who are not as physically gifted in their sport yet through hard work and perseverance become as good as any.

yes, i do think that would apply to spiritual pursuits as well given that, at least in my tradition, we heavily emphasize the practice.

metta,

~v
 

Paladin

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Paladin, you got it. Either a bunch of qiet people or some long-hair (like me) dancing around singing "Witchi-Tae-To" or "Hari Krishna". Either picture gets me going.

Pax et amor vincunt omnia, radarmark

Well, if you ever feel like breaking out into a Kirtan, I'd be happy to join in. :)
 

A Cup Of Tea

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You should talk to Greymare. She's a frequent member here and has strong opinions, and I've met her in person. She'll tell you she's no scholar, but you will find her to be a worthwhile resource.
Really, I have seen her around but never participating in discussions. I'll check her posts and evaluate if I am compatible to her opinions.
Thank you.
 

Snoopy

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I think what we call intuition may be our mind short-cutting to the wisdom-store of our subconscious. So I think it should be given more credence than it often is when making judgments or decisions. Hence, aside from our limited time to choose, I believe we can soon tell if a particular tradition/faith/path/philosophy is for us, as long as we have investigated authorative sources (texts or people).
 

A Cup Of Tea

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I think what we call intuition may be our mind short-cutting to the wisdom-store of our subconscious. So I think it should be given more credence than it often is when making judgments or decisions. Hence, aside from our limited time to choose, I believe we can soon tell if a particular tradition/faith/path/philosophy is for us, as long as we have investigated authorative sources (texts or people).
I agree an all accounts!
But some are similar. Right now I'm in a tug of war between Confucianism (trying to read the analects at the present moment), Taoism, Buddhism (Zen even), Bushido and...Stoicism (figures). They are all connected(well, except one) and echo much of the same while still offering more in separate areas.
The problems the modern men and women face today...
 
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