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The Atheist
17th August 2007, 02:02 AM
Somewhere on the axis of intelligence vs religion lies another graph - religion vs poverty.

I guess it's easy to swallow the sky-daddy stuff when you're at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, but it saddens me that the people least able to afford to tithe to a church are the ones who spend the most money doing just that.

I have a classic example just 2 km down the road from my house. We're fortunate not to live in this particular part of Auckland:

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s97/TheAtheist/otarahouse.jpg

In New Zealand parlance, these are "state houses"; low-cost, low-rent housing provided by the government for people who are deservingly poor. The street which this one is in is made up entirely of this type of dwelling. The one in the picture is a block of four units. [I think, bit hard to tell for sure]

What do we have directly opposite this unlovely monument to New Zealand poverty?

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s97/TheAtheist/otarachurch.jpg

No, not a low-cost shopping centre, nor a block of modern units, and definitely not a free community centre. Yes, it's a mega-church.

The congregation will come almost exclusively from the housing project across the road - the lowest-decile area in New Zealand. The congregation will also be close to 100% Polynesian people, as almost all of these Kiwi-style mega-churches are.

Evangelical churches have a horror record of fleecing the vulnerable in this country - Benny Hinn sucked about 4 mio out during one Auckland "show" recently and even Pacific Islanders will relate stories of crass spending by pastors.

How on earth do we tackle the kind of ignorance which allows this to happen? The congregation are mostly naive types who work in lowly-paid manual occupations and they bleed themselves dry keeping their pastors in SUVs and beach houses. Even burning the churches down wouldn't work, because it would be the poor suckers putting their hands in their pockets to rebuild it.

I look at it, shake my head and accept that this is a battle which is lost before it starts. Because religion is subject to no accountability for performance or action, there's nothing to stop these charlatans preying on the weakest link.

Is there a battle to be fought here, or am I right and it's a lost cause?

This Guy
17th August 2007, 04:57 AM
I suspect that other than perhaps, some door to door atheist evangelizing, there isn't much to be done to stop it.

I suspect most of your statements/predictions are true. And I agree that it is sad.

tsg
17th August 2007, 09:22 AM
Somewhere on the axis of intelligence vs religion lies another graph - religion vs poverty.

I guess it's easy to swallow the sky-daddy stuff when you're at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, but it saddens me that the people least able to afford to tithe to a church are the ones who spend the most money doing just that.

They also tend to buy the most lottery tickets.

The Atheist
17th August 2007, 12:37 PM
They also tend to buy the most lottery tickets.

Yep, and that area also has the highest person/slot machine ratio in the country.

The Atheist
17th August 2007, 12:40 PM
I suspect that other than perhaps, some door to door atheist evangelizing, there isn't much to be done to stop it.

That's actually a very bad option. The residents are almost all Samoan or Tongan and they combine a very proprietorial attitude to their religion and god with large physical stature and very short fuses.

If you're keen to explain to a couple of dozen 120-kg Tongan blokes why their god's a load of rubbish, I could sell a lot of tickets to it!

:bgrin:

This Guy
17th August 2007, 12:49 PM
That's actually a very bad option. The residents are almost all Samoan or Tongan and they combine a very proprietorial attitude to their religion and god with large physical stature and very short fuses.

If you're keen to explain to a couple of dozen 120-kg Tongan blokes why their god's a load of rubbish, I could sell a lot of tickets to it!

:bgrin:

hehe wouldn't be much of a show I'm afraid. I'd probably last only a few seconds :)

I didn't think anyone would try the door to door atheist idea, and didn't mean it as a serious solution :)

The Atheist
17th August 2007, 01:02 PM
I didn't think anyone would try the door to door atheist idea, and didn't mean it as a serious solution :)

I know. I've always wondered how it would turn out if we tried the JW tactic of door-to-door selling.

Rather badly, I expect.

joobz
17th August 2007, 01:03 PM
hehe wouldn't be much of a show I'm afraid. I'd probably last only a few seconds :)

I didn't think anyone would try the door to door atheist idea, and didn't mean it as a serious solution :)
[Ding Dong]
Homeowner(HO): Yes?
Atheist(A): Hello, I would like to talk to you about nothing.
HO: what?
A: yes, I would like for the chance to bring nothing into your heart.
HO: is this a joke?
A: No, I'm very serious. I think the moment you started to really open up to and started believing in nothing...
HO: That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
A: If I was to tell you that there was something that let bad things happen, wouldn't you think that that something a jerk?
HO: Who are you with?
A: I'm with nobody. I'm a nothing's witness.
HO: I'm going to punch you now.

Dunstan
17th August 2007, 04:18 PM
[Ding Dong]
Homeowner(HO): Yes?
Atheist(A): Hello, I would like to talk to you about nothing.
HO: what?
A: yes, I would like for the chance to bring nothing into your heart.
HO: is this a joke?
A: No, I'm very serious. I think the moment you started to really open up to and started believing in nothing...
HO: That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
A: If I was to tell you that there was something that let bad things happen, wouldn't you think that that something a jerk?
HO: Who are you with?
A: I'm with nobody. I'm a nothing's witness.
HO: I'm going to punch you now.


Somewhere on YouTube there's a video of some atheists going door-to-door in Salt Lake City to proselytize atheism. It was less funny than your post, which is why I can't be bothered to look for it.

On the other hand, look up Captain Awesome's video of preaching the gospel of the FSM on a college campus, because it's rather amusing, especially when some fellow pastafarians start giving him support.