How Churches Sell Themselves
“Fundamentalism isn’t about religion. It’s about power.” (Salman Rushdie)
Throughout history the Vatican has tried many tricks to convince, impress, and make money from people. They have employed the world’s best architects, artists and composers to create the impression of their Church’s grandeur with overpowering edifices, music that can move one to tears, and stupendous sculptures and beautiful paintings. These things may be magnificent, and the world would be a poorer place without them, yet they add nothing to the veracity of the Bible, or to validate God’s existence. Some of the world’s most fraudulent fiends own palaces and awesome art collections. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmNbecu1V6I).
Ever since the Middle Ages, the Vatican’s worldwide properties and other investments have surpassed the scale of nearly every other business in the world. Its finances are very complex and not transparent. The Vatican bank is not required to pay tax or fill out a tax return. The money comes in from the world’s share markets, businesses, and government taxes, thousands of dioceses, religious foundations, and fiduciaries linked to the papal state. Some commentators estimate the liquid assets to be worth over 50 billion US dollars. There are also probably hundreds of billions of dollars hoarded away in real estate and works of art. That, in my opinion, is not excusable from an organization preaching charity and humility. (http://www.cai.org/bible-studies/vatican-billions, http://www.chick.com/reading/books/153/153_10.asp, http://www.excatholicsforchrist.com/articles.php?PageURL=finances.htm , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=di04_vKfqNw).
It is a remarkable fact that much of the enormous wealth the Vatican owns today was originally obtained from taxpaying Italian and German citizens in the 1930’s and 40’s. People in those days often listened to priests when they were told how to vote. The Vatican got into bed with Mussolini and Hitler in deals that swapped cash for endorsement. This is one of the reasons the Vatican was loath to criticize Hitler. It has been argued the Second World War may never have happened without the Vatican’s support for these fascist regimes.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichskonkordat, http://historyannex.com/20th-century-Europe/Italy-1920s/lateran-accords.html).
After the war the Vatican helped hundreds of key Nazis escape Germany in return for large cash payments. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratlines_(World_War_II).
Ever since the 1950’s, right up to present times, the Vatican bank has had to fight off accusations of money laundering and deals with shady characters such as men from the Mafia. (http://www.voxfux.com/features/vaticanmurder.html).
Today’s Catholics should be aware of one activity that has rendered much money to the Vatican’s coffers: canonizing saints. Throughout history the grounds for beatification have been theatrical. Kings, queens, the nobility, warlords and soldiers were sanctified as saints whenever it suited the Vatican. Ignacio de Loloya with his army of Jesuits, Dimingo de Guzman and his Dominican friars, and Jose M Escriva, who founded Opus Dei, each started societies that helped prevent Catholicism from financially floundering, and have been beatified for their efforts, as if a hypothetical god could care less about a corporation’s annual profit!
The late Pope John Paul II was history’s greatest saint-maker; 484 new saints appeared during his papacy. All other popes in the twentieth century canonized a total of only ninety-eight. New saints keep the cash registers sizzling hot. Canonization means television rights, free advertising, visits to shrines, book sales, memento sales etc. People like saints, even if they don’t like their priests, bishops, or their pope, and are gullible enough to pay the Vatican for creating them.
John Paul moved a step closer to becoming a saint himself in 2011 when his successor attributed a miracle to him and announced that he’ll be beatified. In centuries past, the Vatican made a fortune trafficking indulgences; today they’re doing the same selling saints.
The true extent of the Vatican’s gravy train will one day be made public, Catholics will be shocked, and the greedy men at the center of one of the world’s longest-running scams will have nowhere to hide.
A Message to the Vatican
Mr. Pope and your colleagues in the Vatican and the CDF,
you have the audacity to claim that the Bible has the answers to the world’s problems, yet your Church used to burn people for reading it. Your book has been debunked and is largely immoral, yet you still promote it, and you rarely publically question your faith. Your ideas, your “truths,” are fossils, nothing more than the remnants of a superstitious, credulous, bygone age. How can you NOT have seen the contradictions, fallacies, the immorality and other baloney in the Bible?
Any cursory study of the verbose bulls and encyclicals published in the name of popes over the last 800 years reveals that your bishops have not cared about anything other than their own power and prestige, yet you still pompously preach to people and disguise your greed with a veneer of benevolent wisdom. 
Your organization’s track record, which reveals repeated flagrant abuses of men, women and children, is appalling, and you should publically acknowledge that, repeatedly, and bear it in mind before you even consider preaching.
When will you stop pushing prayer and attendance in your Churches as the answer to the world’s problems? When will you be real, not pretend, humanists, by genuinely embracing science, women, homosexuals and people of other religions?
You should listen to doctors, psychologists and scientists before attempting to give ethical advice, as it is very obvious you have no credibility of your own. Until you are willing to do that, you should keep your self-promoting, antiquated ideas private, and out of earshot of children. That means putting an end to using schools and the media to poison progressive ideas and ethics. Children and teenagers need to be prepared for real life, and to learn to think. They deserve only good sources of information, and to be shown how to solve problems rationally. You undermine that by trying to create clones who recite dogma without question, bow down to you, subsidize you, and turn to your imaginary god for help. That is immoral. All of you were probably victims of Catholic indoctrination in your own childhoods, but that does not give you the right to impose the same spin on today’s children.
Your wealth is obscene. When will too much money be enough? Why don’t you follow parts of your own script and share some of that money with people who are genuinely in need?
I am not alone in calling your hierarchy out for your immoral practices, for still spreading lies and for feathering your own nests.
Your regime has defied the odds by surviving so long, but a day of reckoning is coming.
You could be proactive and start to reinvent it now.
There are many obstacles to peace and happiness in today’s world, but atheism is not one of them, nor is pre-marital sex, contraception, feminism, homosexuality, science, modernism, not going to Church or not praying. One of the world’s biggest problems is, in fact, YOUR CHURCH.
What about Protestant Churches?
Evangelical Protestant churches, an eclectic group, sell themselves using modern marketing techniques to attract the person with a wallet, the contributing customer.
Many have become media-savvy, owning television and radio stations. They open their doors to everyone and greet people with smiles. They have live music and choreographed sermons from charismatic, energetic, confident preachers. They want the people to feel there’s something vibrant and special going on, so there is often a manufactured buzz in the air. There is a lot of talk about Jesus, who is sold as a package that is the generic default solution to everyone’s search for meaning. That package contains some false and rather tired old ideas.
“Jesus loves you…”
“Jesus sacrificed himself for you…”
What patronising claptrap! It is not Jesus, but common sense, that has been sacrificed. Anyone familiar with Jesus’ real history and Paul’s prejudices knows these beliefs are utter nonsense. They are nothing more than part of an intricate scam to get people enrolled as financial members of the Jesus fan club.
Consumers often believe the spiel, particularly if they are impressionable or vulnerable. They have usually heard much of it before throughout their childhood, commonly from their parents, so it has a familiar ring to it. If they buy the spiel, they gain immediate acceptance and an instant circle of friends. Their social life gets a shot in the arm, but there is a heavy price to be paid. They have less money in their pockets, and, more importantly, are bombarded with a raft of superstitious and prejudiced ideas that put their mental health at considerable risk.