Souls = Cheeseburgers

We saw this odd little list thanks to Church Marketing Sucks. It was originally posted over at the Revitalize Your Church blog. We’re just going to quote the whole thing, since we’re pretty astounded by it.

Percentage of McDonald’s franchises that did not sell a hamburger last year: 0%
Percentage of Ace Hardware Stores that did not sell a hammer last year: 0%
Percentage of Kaybee Toy Stores that did not sell a toy last year: 0%
Percentage of Salvation Army Outlets that did not help a needy person last year: 0%
Percentage of State Universities that did not educate a student last year: 0%
Percentage of airlines that did not fly a plane last year: 0%
Percentage of Wal Mart’s that did not sell merchandise last year: 0%
Percentage of Methodist Churches that did not receive a member by profession of faith last year: 43%

We’re going to beg to differ about the Percentage of State Universities statistic… we’re pretty sure the actual percentage of students who remain uneducated is significantly higher. But that’s beside the point… we just don’t understand guys like this. Asking someone to change their entire belief structure shouldn’t be the same as selling them a cheeseburger, or a hammer, or a Power Ranger toy, nor should you expect it to be.

We’re amazed that we — atheists — have to point out the distinction: souls are precious things. You don’t fucking count them like profit. It really bugs the crap out of us that so many religious people view their own religion so frivolously as to compare it to McDonald’s or think there should be a lesson learned in a successful Rodeo Burger marketing campaign. Numbers shouldn’t count in religion: like in shopping, it should be the individuals who matter, not the aggregate of souls saved.

Sometimes it seems like such a cynical, contemptuous outlook on Christianity could only come from a Christian.

How’s Business? [Revitalize Your Church] (Thanks, Church Marketing Sucks!)


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  1. airship says:

    I think the point is more this: the church is kicking itself in the behind because almost half of its churches didn’t save even ONE soul last year. They’re trying to point out that their primary function is to save people, not sit around in church patting themselves on each others backs about how holy they all are. If they really believe this stuff, they’ll be out there helping other people find the way.

  2. Anabelle says:

    The mainstream Protestant denominations are desperate for members. I grew up in one of them (UCC-Congregational), and in a way, I really feel for these earnest churches. At least up here in the blue Northeast, most of the mainstream Protestants I know are genuinely well intentioned people who take the Christian “love thy neighbor” credo to heart — and into action.

    That being said: BOO to whatever Methodist marketing flack dreamed up that crass list of market-research statistics. So cheesy.

  3. AcidReign says:

    …..Looks like a made-up statistic if I ever saw one! So we’re to believe that there’s a big official worldwide Methodist Church “Who done been Saved, and how’d it happen?” database? Does it include backsliding statistics like me?

    …..These same sorts of numbers get trotted out by church session members every year at pledge time, too. Only it has to do with the 10% tithe, and how many people do or don’t render unto God his fair share. One year, my former church sent along with their fund-raising pack a survey which included a point-blank question asking what your adjusted gross income was. Greedy bastards…

  4. airship says:

    Adjusted gross? That’s gravy. I used to work with a lady who tithed 10% of her adjusted gross income to the Mormon Church, and was visited by the elders who chastised her with the admonition that the MINIMUM allowable tithe was 10% of FULL GROSS!

  5. Grady says:

    Of course the Methodist’s population is aging; They’re not radical enough! People are attracted to intensity of belief, even before the details of that belief are considered.

    The muslim imam’s understand this phenomenon, and that’s why the popular ones are constantly in a struggle to out-radical the others. That’s why Republican has come to mean conservative christian, and is dominating politics.

    Think about it: You’re a little uncertain about your beliefs, but here’s this guy who believes something so strongly. How could he be wrong? If there was even a chance he was wrong, surely he’d have a little doubt, yet he has none. Maybe I should find out what answers he has that I don’t.

    And so it goes… Most people are either too lazy or too busy to decide what to believe for themselves. So in the marketplace of souls, there’s no room for detailed articles of faith and nuanced views. No, the way to get their ear is to take a bold position and make strong statements.

    See if the Methodist church doesn’t become ever more baptist-like.

  6. ValkRaider says:

    They are stupid comparisons.

    I could (despite my good sense) eat a hamburger at McDonalds three times a day every day for a year, making just shy of 1100 hamburger purchases.

    I could buy a new hammer every week at Ace making 52 hammer purchases.

    A needy person could be helped every day at a Salvation Army making 365 helps.

    But really, I only have one soul. So in theory they should only receive my profession of faith once per lifetime…. (Which, if I ate a McDonalds hamburger for every meal would be pretty short).

    Their own comparison makes them look stupid…

  7. GenXCub says:

    Number of airlines that tell potential customers that they’re going to hell for believing in driving instead of flying… 0

    Number of fast food eateries who, in past centuries, stoned their customers to death by daring to praise their competition… 0

    Number of Toys R Us Toystores that proclaim “If you don’t believe Geoffrey the Giraffe died for your sins, you can’t come in.”… 0

  8. Nate says:

    Unfortunately successful churches are the ones that treat souls like cheeseburgers. Evangelical churches are booming. The one down the street from me has a billboard advertising Extreme Makeover – Life Edition. If that isn’t crass commercialization I don’t know what is.

  9. Bubba Barney says:

    ‘Marketplace of Souls’ has a nice ring to it.

  10. Nate says:

    Unfortunately the successful churches are the ones that treat souls like cheeseburgers. Evangelical churches are booming. The one down the street from me has a billboard advertising Extreme Makeover – Life Edition. If that isn’t crass commercialization, I don’t know what is.

  11. AcidReign says:

    …..IF there’s a god, he probably expects us to make good use of the brain in our heads. Free pass for your sins? No blame, saved anyway promise? Hello! If there was ever a magnificent “false prophet” Satan-inspired pitch, this is it!

  12. OkiMike says:

    Of course, it’s funny how a Christian never remembers that God cursed David in 2 Samuel 24 because David insisted on taking a census of the soldiers in Israel.

    The point? God’s people shouldn’t have been concerned with numbers of the “faithful” among them.

    Alas, when will a Christian read his own Bible?