When I was a Mormon missionary serving in Massachusetts in the early 1990s our message was quite positive. What we were selling was purpose, lasting peace, true happiness and strong families. Occasionally we found a credulous undereducated person who desired these things and we were able to seal the deal and persuade them to join our cult.
Yesterday I was handed two tracts at a church where I was working. Unlike the positive products I offered as a missionary, these tracts were dripping with fear and guilt. “Can this be effective marketing?”, I wondered.
Ever told a lie? Ever stolen anything? Ever used God’s name in vain? Ever looked with lust? … If you are guilty of these then God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. That means eternity in hell.
If that’s true then your god isn’t worthy of worship. He’s a megalomaniacal asshole. What’s more interesting is that this shtick might actually work! “Worship my god. If you fuck up just a little, even in your thoughts, he’ll consign you to an eternity in hell. Unless, of course, you do decide to worship him and tell all your friends about him.” Wow, sign me up! I love how god sets the rules so they are impossible to achieve then requires you to give up your life to gain his favor so you’ll be spared torture, torment and misery.