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Products, Promises, and Politics – How Religion Sells Everything and Takes You for a Ride

daily alternative | alternative news - Products, Promises, and Politics – How Religion Sells Everything and Takes You for a Ride

Religion is all around you. It’s in everything you do, every thought you have, and in everything you buy. Religion sells everything and the longer you blindly follow along, the weaker and more compliant you become. And that, my friends, is the idea. After all, if you weren’t hooked, how could religion sell you more of its product?

If you’ve never thought of religion as a marketing campaign, you’re not alone. When you go to a church, temple, or mosque, you’re intention is to commune with friends and family, hear the word of God, and be absolved of any sins you may or may not have committed during the week.

But how do you feel when if you skip a week? Guilty? You’re programmed to feel that way. How do you feel when a friend or family member decides to stop attending? Angry? Fearful for their soul? You were programmed to feel that way.

Marketing companies have known for hundreds of years that the fastest way to sell a product is to influence your emotions. First, they present a problem, evoking feelings of fear, guilt, frustration, etc. Then, they provide a solution in the form of whatever product they’re trying to sell.

You can see an example of this anytime by watching late-night television. Let’s pretend for a moment the product is a new shampoo. You see a woman, perhaps 40, with dull, limp lifeless hair wearing no make-up and expression so pathetic it borders on clinical depression. In the next clip, she has supposedly used the new shampoo and her hair is full and lustrous, she’s smiling brilliantly, and her make-up, teeth, and clothing are flawless.

This marketing technique is very easy to implement and almost foolproof based on human psychology. We are pleasure-seeking, pain-avoiding people. It’s at the very core of who we are and we can’t change that. It’s in our genetics. People selling religion are aware of this and use it to their best advantage.

For example, if you have a strong religious belief, you are likely to fear going to Hell and not being reconnected with God. If an established smooth-talking pastor preaches about sin, hellfire, and damnation and tells you that the way to avoid all that is to invest in his church and his ideals, you’ll be motivated to do it.

Your feelings of fear and guilt will prompt you to send in a donation or buy a product to “balance the equation” and alleviate your anxiety. With the single click of a button or the writing of a check, you’ve gone from the woman with the dull, lifeless hair to the happier, more attractive woman who has used the product.

You didn’t even realize how anxious you felt until that feeling of blissful relief washes over you. You’re okay. You’re safe. It’s a delicious illusion.


It Takes Nothing to Become a Religion

Nearly every religion comes from sacred ideals and peaceful teachings. Its original intent was to bring people closer together while helping them to evolve in deep and profound ways. Over the centuries, something got lost in translation. Starting a religion used to be a painful and bloody process.

Now, all you have to do is fill out a form! Within a few short weeks, you are free to frighten, control, swindle, and use as many people as possible with reckless abandon. You’re allowed to do all of this without having a pay a dime in taxes. Does that sound more like a cult?

There is no difference between a cult and a religion except for how society views it.


Why You Hunger for a Leader

You, right now, are starving. You were born hungry and you continue to be. Why? You’re not allowed to feed that hunger.

Food is not food anymore. What you eat now are a bunch of processed, food-like products filled with neurotoxic chemicals designed to make you sick, docile, and easy to control. Sex isn’t even sex anymore. Millions of men struggle with erectile dysfunction and millions of women find sex too painful to bear. You’re allowed to watch all the sex you want on TV but you’re not allowed to actually have it

If we can’t get the nutrients we need and sex is no longer an option, we are left with an empty and desperate feeling we may not even be fully aware exists. This creates in us an intense desire to be “saved”, which religious leaders take full advantage of.

Since you’re filled with doubt and confusion, you’ll seek a leader. Someone who will take you from the darkness you’re in now and pull you into the light.

Psychologist, Abraham Maslow (1970) explained the order of human need in his famous “Malsow’s Hierarchy of Needs”.

He felt that human needs were divided into 5 basic categories. It’s designed in a pyramid as follows:

5. Self-Actualization – A state of well-being where you know your place in the world.

4. Esteem – A state of having few doubts about yourself. You are recognized by others.

3. Belongingness and Love – A feeling of having close friends and family connections.

2. Safety – A feeling of being safe from physical and psychological danger.

1. Physiological – Primary desires are the focus; food, water, shelter, and sex.

Malsow believed that human beings are forever striving to meet one or more of these goals. When lower-level needs go unmet, they become the sole driving-force in your life. Think about that for a moment. You’re not eating nourishing food and you’re not having sex so you stay stuck in the first level of that hierarchy where you’re so desperate, you’ll eat anything (figuratively speaking).


Fear and Guilt – Religion’s Most Powerful Marketing Tools

You’re Being Made to Feel Guilty all the Time

The mark of a good leader is simple; he cares. That’s it. He looks at you with the love, compassion, and understanding you’re not getting at home and pulls you in with dynamic speech and promises of relief.

He tells you he understands that you are a sinner, that you’ve done wrong, that you are not worthy of love at all, but that you can be saved. By both creating and deepening those buried feelings of inadequacy, fear, and guilt, he’s got you. He’s put you in that dark place and you’ll do anything to get out. And there he is, holding out his hand.


Religion and Politics – In Bed and Making Babies

Religious leaders aren’t the only ones who create a feeling of fear only to turn around and relieve it. It’s an old political trick that’s worked for hundreds of years. Politicians get your vote by frightening you. It’s that simple.

They sell themselves as a product to you by scaring you into believing the other guy or the other way is wrong and amoral. There is no such thing as a separation of church and state. When hot-button issues like gay rights or abortion come up in politics, its religion that takes the wheel.

Immediately, you are lead to believe that if gay people are allowed to marry or women are allowed to make choices about their bodies, they will be thrust into the fiery pits of Hell. If that wasn’t bad enough, anyone who does not actively and aggressively try to stop these “evils” from occurring will go right in there with them!


What a great way to start a war and make us all paranoid about each other.

An excellent example of this is the 2012 election campaign video, “Test of Fire”. This thinly-veiled political muck actually has the gall to suggest that if you don’t vote Republican, you’re voting against God!


Beyond the Collection Plate – Megachurches Make Millions

Why Would You Have to Pay God to Love You?

Ditch-digger turned Evangelical Bishop, T.D. Jakes has been quoted as saying, “Jesus is the Product”. He is the founder and owner of a Dallas, Texas megachurch called “The Potter’s House”. He makes millions of dollars every year for preaching and selling his religious products. Does he donate this money to improving the lives of others? No, he drives a Rolls Royce and owns a private jet and makes no apologies for it.

Preacher Joel Osteen, founder of the LakewoodChurch in Texas, not only has his own Christian mini-conglomerate; he also has a company that produces and cells CDs, DVDs, and TV programs. Though he may not personally ask for money during his sermons, he’s rolling it. Does he donate his money to improving the lives of others? No, he spends 20 million a year for TV advertisements so he can suck more money out of you when you buy his products!


Religion Keeps You Dependent – Spirituality Sets You Free

In the 21st century, Jesus and other religious prophets have become products. They are bought and sold with no more respect than that given to a prostitute. Megachurches are tax exempt and make millions of dollars each year, selling salvation and pocketing the change.

As human beings, we strive for spiritual evolvement. We’ve been told countless times by religious groups and the media that we are not okay as we are.

Religion is controlling. It is designed to keep you weak, compliant, and following along in the desperate hope that you’ll find peace in another life by suffering in this one. It is directed by a small group of people who tell you what to do, what to say, how to act, and how much to spend.


Trust Your Intuition and Go Within

Spirituality is a feeling of connectedness to a Higher Power. It needs no middle man and asks nothing but adherence to the natural instinct to better ourselves and the lives of others. It’s all-encompassing and universal.

God is not the problem and never has been. It’s the marketing of God that uses fear and deprivation to control you. Once you awaken and understand you need no middle man to make that connection, you can finally close your wallet, and open your mind.


daily alternative | alternative news – Products, Promises, and Politics – How Religion Sells Everything and Takes You for a Ride

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The Huge Racial Injustice Hidden in Our Credit Scores

Worried about the use of big data for corporate gain? Look not further than the credit scoring system in the US, which has profound impact on our daily lives and is a source and perpetuator of systemic racial injustice.

In response to aggressive marketing by the “big three” multinational credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – employers, landlords and insurance companies now use credit reports and scores to make decisions that have major bearing on our social and economic opportunities. These days, your credit history can make or break whether you get a job or apartment, or access to decent, affordable insurance and loans.

Credit reports and scores are not race neutral. Rather, they embed existing racial inequities in our credit system and economy – to the point that a person’s credit information serves as a proxy for race.

For decades, banks have systematically redlined black and Latino neighborhoods, refusing to make conventional loans or locate branches in non-white and lower-income areas, notwithstanding laws that obligate banks to meet the credit needs of all communities they serve, consistent with safe and sound banking operations. Thanks to financial services deregulation and the advent of asset-backed securitization, a multi-billion dollar “fringe” financial system has filled the void, characterized by high-cost, destabilizing products and services, from payday loans to check-cashers – which banks typically also own or finance.

People and communities of color have been disproportionately targeted for high-cost, predatory loans, intrinsically risky financial products that predictably lead to higher delinquency and default rates than non-predatory loans. As a consequence, black people and Latinos are more likely than their white counterparts to have damaged credit.

This firmly-entrenched two-tiered financial system has had devastating consequences for entire neighborhoods of color. Starting in the 1990s, financial institutions began flooding historically-redlined neighborhoods with predatory mortgages that ultimately led to the meltdown of the global economy. Waves of foreclosures hammered neighborhoods of color for more than a decade before the crash and black and Latino Americans bore the brunt of the ensuing foreclosure crisis, recession and spiking unemployment. Droves of people turned to high-rate credit cards to cover even basic expenses, contributing to the consumer debt crisis and spawning a bottom-feeding debt-buying industry that purchases old debts on the cheap and then uses the courts to extract judgments disproportionately from people and communities of color. These judgments are then listed in their credit reports, which also brings down their credit scores, in turn limiting a whole range of opportunities.

Although Wall Street is no longer pumping toxic mortgages into black and Latino neighborhoods, people and neighborhoods of color continue to reel from the foreclosure crisis, which many predict is far from over. Meanwhile, racially discriminatory and subprime auto lending are on the rise, payday lenders continue to extract billions of dollars from low-wage workers, and student loan debt has surpassed the trillion dollar mark. One in five Americans has unpaid medical debt, with more than half of all African-Americans and Latinos carrying medical debt on their credit cards. By definition, people who take payday loans and have uninsured medical debt are struggling, and are likely to miss payments. Missed payments translate into decreased credit scores.

This information – unpaid medical and credit card debt, student loans, and mortgages, as well as foreclosures, bankruptcies, debt collection judgments, wage garnishments – appears on people’s credit reports and lowers their credit scores. And the credit bureaus make humongous profits by selling this information about all of us.

In New York City, a coalition of labor, community and civil rights groupsrecently won the strongest ban on employment credit checks in the country. It’s a major economic justice victory, but we know it’s just a first step. We knocked down this discriminatory barrier because there is no demonstrated connection between a person’s credit history and his or her likely job performance or character. Credit checks can also block applicants with no or “thin” credit histories, including many students and immigrants. Rather, using credit information to make hiring decisions – or to rent apartments, set insurance terms, or extend credit – is a clear way to perpetuate inequality, poverty and segregation.

Credit reports and scores are mirrors of our manifestly two-tiered financial system, and more broadly our system of racial wealth inequality and unequal opportunity. In our culture, indebtedness – and certainly failure to pay one’s debts – is deeply entwined with concepts of morality. The insidious notion that our credit history speaks to our reliability as human beings is largely taken for granted.

The credit bureaus and the information they sell have out-sized influence over our lives. It’s time to stop these pernicious practices and the systemic injustices that underlie them.


daily alternative | alternative news – The Huge Racial Injustice Hidden in Our Credit Scores

via The Huge Racial Injustice Hidden in Our Credit Scores

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