Monday, April 6, 2015

The exponential cost long con; why monotheistic religions exaggerate.

"Gateway Church 114 Campus" by Jared Stump - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

This post explains a fraud perpetrated as the victim is made to propose the  solution beneficial to the con artist. This was the plot of a movie called "The Sting"  and an episode of "Lost" called "The Long Con".

If I was a priest and I wanted to make you believe in god, I might start by telling you about this wondrous deity that lives in the heavens above.

Ok that might draw some mild interest, but who's going to get upset about celestial neighbors?

Now to get you interested, I tell you that not only does he live up above but he created the universe.

Ok that might draw in the gullible because it might impress people looking for a higher power on their side.

But that still doesn't get many followers.

So I amp up my claims by saying do as god says and you can go to heaven when you die.

Ok now people are promised an extra life after  this one, seems like a good deal.

Now I have people hooked.

Then I say that you can see all your loved ones when you die because if they were good they are in heaven too.

Now you have a vested interest in expanding the ponzi scheme to include influencing your loved ones because otherwise they don't get in on this deal as well. The more people affected the greater the risk and reward. Like Pascal's wager but the cost is not infinite but grows exponentially the more people you affect. It's not just about your life alone, you care for and are cared for in return that cost is part of the equation.

Wait, that still isn't enough pressure, so now I tell you that if you do the bad things then you will go to hell and the your loved ones won't see you in heaven.  Now you really don't want to mess up the deal for your wife and kids, you' re really stuck.

Now someone comes up to you and says there is no god.

Now what?

The problem you face is the same one as a lottery ticket buyer and a  100 million powerball lottery.
You know the chance a ticket will payoff is so small it isn't worth the 1 dollar. But there is that slight chance you're going to win and not having a ticket means you don't even have a faint hope to get there.

It isn't a fair game either way.  Religious leaders make it the long con, the exponential penalty long con to force you into a no win situation. The stakes are so high that even if the chance its right is next to nothing how can you afford to not go along?

The only way to insure your obedience is to exaggerate the costs and benefits so greatly that even if you have doubt you can't afford not to play along.

That's how you know it's a con.