1. Gringoamericano
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    Gringoamericano New Member

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    How realistic is this plot,and how would someone get followers for a religion?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Gringoamericano, Oct 21, 2011.

    Well, I had this idea when I was looking up weird religions. The book is called "Religion inc: Exploiting Miracles for Profit". It's a satirical comedy and it revolves around a businessman who's life is going to hell as his business is declining, and his wife took half of his money during their divorce.
    He encounters an old friend of his who has turned into a conman, who tells him that people are often willing to blindly throw their money at any religious group. They then start their own church\religion and somehow get enough followers to become a very powerful organization.
    The problem is, I don't know how someone starts their own religion or church, or how someone gets followers for said religion.
     
  2. walshy12238
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    walshy12238 Senior Member

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    The problem I have with it is that I don't understand why people would blindy give away money, without having a good (reasonable) cause. You should focus on making sure that the religion is believable, or that the conning is well thought out.
    I don't really have any other advice apart from that though, so best of luck to you
     
  3. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    You'd be surprised how gullible people can be about religion. I'm pretty sure that somewhere around where I live some guy has managed to convince a group of people he can get them into heaven so they willingly act as his slaves.
     
  4. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    The best way is to do or say things that appeals to a person's nature. Naturally, the majority of people aren't actually that Good. <-- with a capital 'G'
    Look at the basis of Christianity: among other ideas, it comes with the idea that God's plan is a predestined one. This means that if something good happens to you, God decided that, so he must like you. This makes it a LOT easier to ignore bad things, and at those times you turn to God. It's a coping mechanism for bad things and it has a huge following because that appeals to the ignorant nature of man, and it appeals to all sorts of other sides.

    If you understand how a flock mind works, or even individual minds work, then you'll have no problem finding a way to do it.
    Look at the Anglicans. "I want to remain a devout Christian, but I want to be able to divorce my wife and get a new one." There you go. Think of the metric shit-tonne of men who jumped on that at the time (women having had less rights then, of course).

    Christian religions and Islam and such all conquer the fear of death via the idea of the soul, which will live on with consciousness.
    Buddhism goes one step further and tells you that not only will you get more chances at life with the potential to become the greatest beings to ever walk the face of the Earth just by being good, but that you've already lived before, which means that as a human, you probably weren't that terrible in previous lives.

    This is all not to mention that most things in life boil down to a fear of consequence: basically, risks. Is jumping off a cliff fun enough to outweigh death? Yes. Yes, it is.
    To quote a recent XKCD (The Corliss Resolution #962): The Fermi Paradox: Planets are so common that life should be too. So where is it?
    Well, now we know. It's not that life inevitably destroys itself with war. It's just that it takes longer to develop space colonisation than it does to invent an activity more fun than survival.


    The same goes for Religion. Appeals to logic and common sense require work and effort, but appealing to the baser natures of man are easier. Why do you think it took so long for people to associate soap (some 8,000 years old now) with sanitation (some 200 years old, I believe)?


    Now this post is really long and I've gotten distracted by the Lasagna Paradox, in which I can feel the happy effects of Lasagna before having made Lasagna. Hopefully some of this made sense.

    Make a cool religion that people will like or whatever. :p
     
  5. walshy12238
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    walshy12238 Senior Member

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    Ah, you're probably right. I know a lot of gullible people, but I still don't get why you'd blindly pay money.
    But I guess that's kind of a small deal in terms of Gringo's idea anyway.
     
  6. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    Like any business model. Offer people something they want, and have them pay for it.
     
  7. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    You have to take into consideration the world you are creating and the needs of the people who live in it. What is it that they need most? Hope? Employment? To defeat a common enemy? Escapism? Religion, as well as ideology, picks on the needs of people. There would be no jihadists if there wasn't a feeling among many Islamic people that they are being oppressed by a Western enemy. Nazism wouldn't have gotten huge support if Hitler didn't create jobs by fueling Germany's war industry. Christian fundamentalists wouldn't exist if there weren't people who were obsessed about certain Christian values and the fear of modern society. Marxism wouldn't have taken off if there weren't so many people under abusive working periods and loads during the time Marx wrote his works.

    What you should do is to create a "need" in your world and work from there. For example, IMO what unites Christians is the idea of salvation. People need to ensure that they will be saved when they die. How salvation is achieved is what split Christianity into many ramifications: Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodox church, Kardecism (who are Christians since they believe in Christ as the son of God), and so on.
     
  8. Bazmann
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    Bazmann New Member

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    If you want to make it mildly satirical, I think the two guys should come up with a religion with a far more permissive attitude, selling it to a much more consumer/ease of live driven society - an 'easy route' into Heaven, or whatever their equivalent is. People are happy to pay for convenience. If they are presented with a Religion that allows them to continue to enjoy their vices, but promises absolution from sins regardless, there are plenty of people around who will pay away their guilt if it means minimum impact to their current existence. The two guys could spread the word via a contemporary 'viral marketing' campaign, leaving symbols and hints around their community about this new religion, much like building buzz around a new product, leaving people desperate to find out what exactly it is that they are missing.
     
  9. Loopstah
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    Loopstah New Member

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    If they have people working with them to fabricate miracles then people will be more likely to believe in their religion. The ability to demonstrate measurable benefits from your religion will draw people in by giving them hope.

    A few cripples walking, or blind men seeing would be a good start. Utilising children would probably be more effective, though they would be more likely to let slip the truth.

    Nothing like a good miracle to draw in the masses. Look at all the people who apply for televised talent shows like X Factor. Only one person will win but even the chance they might get 3 minutes of fame is enough to draw even the tone deaf to apply.
     
  10. tragblack
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    tragblack New Member

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    Sounds like a Carl Hiassen novel...

    Stranger in a Strange Land deals with starting a wildly profitable and popular religion, but it is not satire... could be satireized, though!
     
  11. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Oh it has happened. Look up the Pastafarians. Or swing the glorified atheist thing that demon worshipers do, they don't believe in anything so worshiping the villain has no real significance to them.
     
  12. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Charasma. That's the key. I bet Derren Brown could start a successful religion, much more successfu than Sai Baba. Same with Criss Angel.
     

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