Religion business

Various religious symbols

To some, the title alone of this post may be angering. However, it is not at all intended as an insult or negative connotation. To me, business is not a negative term in any way, it is actually very positive. Some segments of society have spun the term and meaning of “business” or “corporation” in a negative way, but it actually is 100% positive at its core. Organized religions of the world never admit that they are in fact, a business. I see two major reasons for this:

Firstly, the negative feelings a lot of people have when they think of the terms “business” or “corporation” (even though it isn’t warranted) is something that organized religions would rather not associate themselves with. Secondly, and even more importantly, organized religions have a very different marketing strategy and part of that includes selling people on the notion that they are above anything else known to man, including the concept of business.

However, if you look at just about every single aspect or part of them, they are indistinguishable from a business. They have branches (churches, synagogues, etc…), they have managers (Priests, Rabbis, etc…), they have a customer base and they receive payment from those customers (donations, memberships and other terms). They even have headquarters (the Vatican, certain places of worship in Jerusalem, etc…). They also give to charities and have programs for physically going and helping people in need (businesses do this too, although not as much of the programs for going places to help people, but in line in terms of giving money).

Organized religions do practice some tactics that are a bit dirty, such as trying hard to sell people on their religion during the most emotional times like a death in the family. However, it is the members/customers/people of “faith” of these religions that need to come to terms with the fact that their religion is actually a business. There is nothing wrong with accepting that one’s religion is a business and still being content to practice that religion in the church, synagogue, etc… We all have an internet connection that we pay for and accept that we need and want this business service. The same can be said for dozens of other businesses that we subscribe to which are crucial to our daily lives and have an important meaning to us.

Organized religion is not different in this regard. The problem comes when people do not see it for what it really is and think of it as something much greater. This leads people to cross the line of balance and moderation, in to obsessive and life consuming. Other businesses can have a similar effect on people but, they are easier to deal with because there is no doubt about what they actually are and that it is on the person to get a handle on their problem. Religions want everyone to be religious, not because they believe in some divine reasoning (perhaps some of the lower level leaders do but not higher up leaders in the food chain), it is because it is simply good for business. The more religious people there are, the larger the customer base and the more revenue come in to that church, synagogue, etc… These places of worship pass on some payment to the main office and leaders of that sect.

The Catholic Church is the best known of all the organized religions in this respect because they are very centralized. They have a Pope and headquarters at the Vatican and branch churches all over the world. In a previous post I wrote about how they are trying to operate like other businesses at a time when they have a PR issue (click here to read it). Although the Catholic Church is the most open (and I use that term very loosely) about what they are, all organized religions operate in a similar manner, just like every other large business.

This world would be far better off if people would realize that religions are businesses and that is not a bad thing. It does mean however, that they should think about that fact before they act violently or obsessive or overreact in some way because of a religion.