Marketing Religion

It’s 1000 BCE and the tribe living across the mountains is considering its future. It was a simple village that lived in harmony with the seasons and each other. Everyone in the village took responsibility for themselves but was also generous in their support of others. They knew that life had meaning when it was lived in connection to the ‘all.’ An onlooker would have called this balance between the practical and energetic elements a ‘religious way of life.’

But change was afoot…

The executive team over in hut number one felt the responsibility for the survival of the tribe and were wanting to earn some extra cash to support the tribe. They already had corn, fabrics and sheep that they sold to other tribes, but this was dependent on the weather and seasons. They had no control over the seasons, so they looked for something with a more consistent stream of income.

As they looked around, they noticed that some of the tribe were a superstitious bunch, feeling at the mercy of the weather and given to pleading to the gods for their good fortune.

The new product was clear – if they could SELL safety they would be on to a winner, if they could sell external salvation, they would have struck gold.

They dispatched an ox to hut number six, asking the marketing team to find out how to sell salvation in a new form of religion. The team thought it strange to try to replace something that worked, but nonetheless set to crafting a plan…

Stage One – Fear and doubt

The team came up with ways to show the tribe that they didn’t know as much about life as they thought. They played up the fragility of life and the tribe’s lack of security, both now, in the future and of course in the ‘afterlife.’

The focus group testing showed that instilling fear was actually easy because people were innately sensitive, so a big enough outer threat to their security could destabilise people. Add to that the threat of eternal damnation of their Soul in the afterlife and they had people eating out of their hands.

Stage Two – Redirect Responsibility

Everyone knew that whilst working together delivered important dividends, each individual was ultimately responsible for their own lives. Generations had shown them that there is a cause and effect relationship with life. This meant salvation would be trickier to sell if the ultimate responsibility was within.

You can’t sell something someone already owns.

They then got a consultant from hut seven to help them workshop the problem and found their answer – what they needed were experts. If they created experts, their message would be beyond critique. The experts, of course, needed to be skilled at making others feel like they did not know enough.

Interestingly enough, the concept of ‘priesthood’ tested well. Many people were surprisingly keen to hand over the responsibility for their spiritual wellbeing to the direction of others.

Stage Three – Exclusivity and Belonging 

Of course being a tribe, they knew that sticking together was important so they needed to look at how to get people to join this new group.

The subtle approach would be to invent or appropriate holidays and rituals that already existed and assign them importance in this new ‘religion.’ The less subtle but very effective way was to shun, shame and even torture anyone that didn’t want to join.

They knew that someone scared for their own survival would be easily ‘converted’ at the threat of being rejected. Some would just need more convincing than others.

Stage Four – Distribution Channels

This was trickier, as the product would only have a limited financial benefit in this tribe, so they needed to spread the ‘message’ to other tribes. The answer was to develop an emissary programme, where missionaries would be given power to convert, cajole and if need be torture others into ‘believing.’

Proud of their plan, the marketing team despatched the ox back to hut number one and awaited the response.

The executive team looked at the proposal carefully and though they were uncomfortable with the suggestions of force and even torture, they knew they had to pursue it for the benefit of the whole.

Little did they know that the tribe over the mountain had been hatching much the same plan.

For the next few centuries both tribes battled in often bloodied wars to prove whose religion was best at offering salvation.

Some in the tribes preached tolerance, encouraging co-existence of both religions; some got turned off religion altogether. Some felt there had to be more; they felt there was a connection to something within that was more innate and required less external control.

This group was rediscovering the original expression of religion, one which was based on a simple way of living that fostered an inner connection. They worked hard to explore the possibility that the religion that had been sold was very different to what they could feel religion truly was.

Of course this approach of feeling what true religion was, was an inherent threat to the existing powers. Many of this ‘new,’ but in reality, ‘old’ group suffered at the hands of both dominant religions. However they persisted, and whilst their numbers fluctuated, it was the years of bloodshed, abuse, cruelty and killing carried out in the name of ‘salvation’ that led others to ask the same questions and then also explore if there was a simpler ‘way.’

However, there would be no missionaries, and no conversion programs, it could only be a choice. All they needed to do was live The Way they had rediscovered and allow time for others to also remember that being religious was not the problem.

The problem was HOW people had been taught to be religious in life.

By Joel Levin

Further Reading:
Life is religion. What does that mean?
Religion & Religious Re-Defined
Religion is a living connection

363 thoughts on “Marketing Religion

  1. It’s a great way to get anyone to question what they know by giving them something that throws them into fear and doubt. It’s a manipulative way of getting people to buy into whatever is being sold.

  2. Still we are living amongst the dark aftermath of man’s reinterpretation of religion and yet the spark within is forever there to be activated, expressed and moved, the simple in-spiration of true salvation.

  3. What a great sharing with the truth of all that has gone on in history shown so playfully, a joy to read and see the simplicity of it all when really all was known in truth and always has been with the magical religious way of life and living for us all.

  4. A beautiful confirmation that we teach by reflection and lived example, not by preaching. And it is definitely my experience that when I have learnt or realised something if I start zealously espousing about it, it tends to overwhelm or put people off.

  5. Such an amazing parable Joel, if we didn’t give our power away in the first instance we would never have fallen for the lies and fear of organised religion.

  6. It feels very important that, from whichever angle we take it, a different perspective is gathered for how religion has come to be the way it is.

  7. We are lost as soon as we “think” we can bring a fix to alleviate any problem as our body feels more than we are currently aware of. So how we are using our body and mind together makes life simpler as our body is a receiver of energy. Could it be possible when we are aware of how energy works in our body we would all say that that would be the religion for me?? Energy first has always been the tenants of The Way of The Livingness!

  8. It is through the bastardization of the word religion that many are simply put-off for the falsity and cruelty that man-made institutions have caused in the world always looking outside the self for something grander, but we can always find that which is truth within ourselves if we so choose and it is only then that we understand religion starts from within and is always in connection with the all.

  9. Its quite incredible how something outside of ourselves, can take us so much further away – not only from ourselves but our fellow brothers as well. Finding that… ‘…instilling fear was actually easy because people were innately sensitive, so a big enough outer threat to their security could destabilise people.” And yet, if we remain connected within, to that innate knowing within, none of the outer has any influence or impact on us… we can read if something is true or not – we know through our bodies, not through any words or actions offered by another.

  10. The question is why would you have to market something we already have. How can something that is absolute be made new and improved? It is that free will thing again, isn’t it!

    1. “why would you have to market something we already have”, this is a great question to ask, but then many things we do do not make sense and yet we do them because, as you say, we can.

  11. Fear and shame are two of the most powerful weapons the church uses to have man eating out of its hands…fear of damnation and shame at being born a sinner….

  12. ‘instilling fear was actually easy because people were innately sensitive, so a big enough outer threat to their security could destabilise people. Add to that the threat of eternal damnation of their Soul in the afterlife and they had people eating out of their hands.’ Beautifully dissected Joel, mainstream religion is fear based on all accounts.

  13. You have exposed how strange and unatural the organized religions feel when we return to our innate knowing which is true religion. What we know as the different religions existing seems to be nothing else than groups with individual interests and who are identified with certain concsiousnesses, having different images of God but lack of connection to truth and love.

  14. “You can’t sell something someone already owns.” to me this says everything, it confirms what i know in truth and exposes the level of manipulation we have to got to in order to get someone to buy into a version of truth that is not truth as the real truth is already with each person.

  15. And just like ice cream, it was marketed in many different flavours, all with aspects of the truth that were tantalising, but not whole and therefore easier to swallow alongside that which we know not to be true.

  16. I find it fascinating to tell people I’m religious and see the look on their face when I tell them I don’t follow any organised religion. It is so unheard of yet the most rewarding way of living.

  17. This is happening in present every day life and not just in organized religions. Any person who condemns the livingness and clairsentience of oneself and others is doing the same. And yet if we know there is a way within us that works, we can see things as they are and continue living who we are.

  18. ‘The experts, of course, needed to be skilled at making others feel like they did not know enough.’ – Haha, hit the nail on the head Joel – and these skills, married with our own skills to make ourselves feel we are not enough, we were all an easy match.

  19. Marketing is designed around meeting a market or consumer demand… It’s great to unpick the falsity in what’s been sold over the years around religion to honesty ask ourselves – why did we buy into it or even call for it in the first place?

    1. Yes Fiona, the truth is we have, unconsciously perhaps, made a call for all these false things by living in our contracted form and not our full essence and expansiveness, not knowing who we truly are, or knowing our equal light in the world, and so these illusions took great advantage of our chosen seemingly lesser state, but who we truly are has never gone anywhere, and we can claim it back again.

  20. We knew that life had meaning when it was lived in connection to the all, we doubted and thought we lost it, and then were sold a lie to be given a false version back? How ludicrous does that sound but it is horrendous how true it is.

  21. A great and apt story on the reinvention of religion. We life in the arrogance that we have to invent and reinvent things all the while all that what we need and are is already there.

    1. Yes, it’s all about thinking we are getting better. The quest for advancement ignores we are already it but don’t want to live or admit this. We play a game of overcoming obstacles that we put there in the first place, and then want to take credit and recognition for being the one able to move them out of the way.

      1. Yes, this describes exactly how we go about life, instead of doing what needs to be done without a big fuss and creating issues where there actually are none.

    2. Yes indeed, how many times have mankind reinvented the wheel…? We keep looking for distractions to not have to see that we are already everything.

      1. “how many times have mankind reinvented the wheel…?” And we obviously know as how else would we have a saying like this.

  22. We willingly give away our power by not listening to our own true way, resonating from within and then we have someone else to blame.

  23. TREMENDOUS! A lot of people failed at what you accomplished, simply because they were busy finding problems while you were busy finding solutions. Well done. I took a lesson. Thanks!

  24. So fear, worry and mistrust I can see are the real evil that undermine such a simple, harmonious way of living that we already have if only we don’t entertain those doubting dividing illusions. Good lessons there for everyday life.

  25. ‘The new product was clear – if they could SELL safety they would be on to a winner, if they could sell external salvation, they would have struck gold.’
    I read this and I can feel I’ve still got the brochures on safety, definitely; external salvation is probably somewhere in the pile too. Great to feel how both I let in through letting go of my connection with God and the wisdom this connection brings. The wisdom to know if the rain doesn’t come for the crops why that is and address my part in this – not carry on being disconnected and trying to solve the issue without addressing the root cause.

  26. A great understanding of how religion has got to be the way it is in dividing up the world and separating us all and a very interesting aspect of life to look at and at the division of truth and the oneness of us all.

  27. Marketing can be done in a way that unites people through the endorsement of offering services and products which truly support or it can endorse services and products to meet what we desire in complete avoidance of stepping into more love and acceptance of ourselves and others.

  28. Religion has become part of ideals and beliefs, and the more we buy into that the easier it is to instil fear into those believers, when true religion is a way of living, that is not upheld by ideals and beliefs, but a true knowing from within.

  29. ‘Many people were surprisingly keen to hand over the responsibility for their spiritual wellbeing to the direction of others.’ – Yes, and all this ‘in the name of God’… when truth is that the Kingdom of God already resides within each and every one of us.

  30. When we lose trust in what we can feel, we are then open to letting in fear and self doubt and so much more eg. comparison, judgment and complication and then how easy it is to be manipulated. We may deviate from the truth but in fact we know it inside out for that is our inherent way of being.

  31. This is a great example of how aspects of life that are pure and true can be taken up and turned into something that is a long way from their original essence. We always have a responsibility to discern the truth of what we engage with.

  32. Wow Joel you have done it again…. You have simply broken down how such a corrupt system has been not only accepted as society’s highest truth and of impeachable morality but has been a system that we have let override our vey own innate truth…..

  33. When religion gets complicated and a way of dominating others, it is clear that it has lost its true meaning, as religion has nothing to do with any external force that suppresses others to ‘represent’ any official truth. This is not religion at all, this is just imposition. Why should something that is inherent in every one of us be dictated?

  34. From a simple life to a more and more complex life. An apt description of the complications we create and then live by.

  35. It is clear to see just how modern day religion is a marketing product, compared to the simplicity of life long ago that lived in and with respect of natural cycles and rhythms, both within man and in nature.

  36. Whenever we step away from living in connection to our Soul, away from Brotherhood, we step away from living true religion. For a religious life is simply living in honor of the oneness that we are from, and in harmony with all and the cycles that we are a part of, as best we can. This is in fact our natural way of being, one that is always ready to be embodied and lived.

  37. Supply & demand is an interesting concept – the demand we create is entirely determined by the way we are living – this can be either abusive or supportive for the body.

  38. As I was reading your blog Joel I could feel how we could apply this to anything in life. As soon as we sow the seeds of self-doubt and a feeling of insecurity, responsibility and integrity and truth no longer have the same importance as we seek to fulfil our individual needs.

  39. When religion makes it about salvation it only means we lost the plot because what it is trying to save us from is fake; it is man-made.
    No true religion can ‘rescue’ anybody. We can only ‘rescue’ ourselves through religion. But to do so, we have to understand where are we trapped and that can only be assessed through understanding the world of energy.

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