History Main / ScamReligion

6th Mar '18 9:47:29 PM Aipom-pom
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* In ''VideoGame/Persona3'', the Moon Social Link for the hero at one point requires a "salvation fee" of 320,000 yen [[spoiler:which you don't actually have to pay.]] You can even later call out the person you share the link with.

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* In ''VideoGame/Persona3'', the Moon Social Link for the hero Hero at one point requires a "salvation fee" of 320,000 yen [[spoiler:which you don't actually have to pay.]] You can even later call out the person you share the link with.
6th Mar '18 9:47:00 PM Aipom-pom
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* In ''VideoGame/Persona3'', the Moon Social Link for [[FanNickname Minato]] at one point requires a "salvation fee" of 320,000 yen [[spoiler:which you don't actually have to pay.]] You can even later call out the person you share the link with.
-->'''Minato''': You're scamming them, too?

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* In ''VideoGame/Persona3'', the Moon Social Link for [[FanNickname Minato]] the hero at one point requires a "salvation fee" of 320,000 yen [[spoiler:which you don't actually have to pay.]] You can even later call out the person you share the link with.
-->'''Minato''': -->'''P3 Hero''': You're scamming them, too?



* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' has portrayed both Scientology and Mormonism in this way. Ironically, other episodes have shown that Mormons are the only people who get into Heaven, [[SpoofAesop so it's not taking itself that seriously]]. That said, the episode about Mormonism was pretty much entirely "Woah, Mormonism is a load of bull--but Mormons are the sweetest people on Earth, so who cares?"

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* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' has portrayed both Scientology and Mormonism in this way. Ironically, other episodes have shown that Mormons are the only people who get into Heaven, [[SpoofAesop so it's not taking itself that seriously]]. That said, the episode about Mormonism was pretty much entirely "Woah, "Whoa, Mormonism is a load of bull--but Mormons are the sweetest people on Earth, so who cares?"
11th Feb '18 11:08:58 AM nombretomado
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* [[ManipulativeBastard Tlacolotl]] from ''[[NexusWar Nexus Clash]]'' is always running shell organizations, scamming cults and feints in support of his plans to keep the other PowersThatBe fighting one another and unable to stop his evil goals. The other Dark Powers are too insane to keep up this level of subtlety and their cults are always a straight-up ReligionOfEvil.

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* [[ManipulativeBastard Tlacolotl]] from ''[[NexusWar Nexus Clash]]'' ''VideoGame/NexusClash'' is always running shell organizations, scamming cults and feints in support of his plans to keep the other PowersThatBe fighting one another and unable to stop his evil goals. The other Dark Powers are too insane to keep up this level of subtlety and their cults are always a straight-up ReligionOfEvil.
11th Jan '18 9:18:32 AM Odacon_Spy
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* ''VideoGame/Fable''

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* ''VideoGame/Fable''''VideoGame/{{Fable}}'':
9th Jan '18 10:39:17 PM Steam_Lord
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The followers of the Scam Religion are not evil, it's merely a matter of wasting time and resources. In a setting where there is One True Religion, the greatest crime of the Scam Religion is to keep people distracted, thus preventing them from accepting the ''true'' salvation. In a setting where there isn't One True Religion, then the Scam Religion is, well, just a scam. That said, even in settings where there is no One True Religion, Scam Religions aren't entirely harmless--some of them can literally ruin the lives of their participants financially or relationally or otherwise, and just because the Scam Religion isn't plotting to kill people in society at large or summon TheLegionsOfHell does not mean it is not capable of hurting people. (For example, while one may not be seeking to kill people at large, it may be quite willing to kill ex-members who leave and could bring back lawyers and/or media attention. Or the sex the higher-ups are getting is ''rape.'' Or the amounts of money being taken are so significant that victims are left impoverished or dependent on the government or other people. Etc, etc...)

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The followers of the Scam Religion are not evil, it's merely a matter of wasting time and resources. In a setting where there is One True Religion, the greatest crime of the Scam Religion is to keep people distracted, thus preventing them from accepting the ''true'' salvation. In a setting where there isn't One True Religion, then the Scam Religion is, well, just a scam. That said, even in settings where there is no One True Religion, Scam Religions aren't entirely harmless--some of them can literally ruin the lives of their participants financially or relationally or otherwise, and just because the Scam Religion isn't plotting to kill people in society at large or summon TheLegionsOfHell does not mean it is not capable of hurting people. (For For example, while one may not be seeking to kill people at large, it may be quite willing to kill ex-members who leave and could bring back lawyers and/or media attention. Or the sex the higher-ups are getting is ''rape.'' Or the amounts of money being taken are so significant that victims are left impoverished or dependent on the government or other people. Etc, etc...)
etc...



* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'''s pre-schism [=ComStar=] (and after the split, Word of Blake) has aspects of this. Heavily shrouded in mysticism towards outsiders and definitely capable of inspiring religious fervor in its own members as well, [=ComStar=] is ''fundamentally'' just an AncientConspiracy hoarding technological know-how and waiting for the Successor States to bomb themselves so far back into the Stone Age that they can step in and take over for the ostensible good of all mankind. (They're not above stirring the pot themselves if it looks like things might actually settle down or quietly eliminating outsiders who might be on the verge of making scientific breakthroughs, either--since they just so happen to control most interstellar communication under the guise of neutrality, they tend to be ''very'' well informed.) Interestingly, this is by many accounts not what [=ComStar=]'s founder ever intended, for all that many members of the organization are prone to dropping supposed pearls of his wisdom into conversations at every opportunity; it's only under his ''successor'' that things rapidly started to take on a religious bent.

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* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'''s pre-schism [=ComStar=] (and after the split, Word of Blake) has aspects of this. Heavily shrouded in mysticism towards outsiders and definitely capable of inspiring religious fervor in its own members as well, [=ComStar=] is ''fundamentally'' just an AncientConspiracy hoarding technological know-how and waiting for the Successor States to bomb themselves so far back into the Stone Age that they can step in and take over for the ostensible good of all mankind. (They're They're not above stirring the pot themselves if it looks like things might actually settle down or quietly eliminating outsiders who might be on the verge of making scientific breakthroughs, either--since they just so happen to control most interstellar communication under the guise of neutrality, they tend to be ''very'' well informed.) informed. Interestingly, this is by many accounts not what [=ComStar=]'s founder ever intended, for all that many members of the organization are prone to dropping supposed pearls of his wisdom into conversations at every opportunity; it's only under his ''successor'' that things rapidly started to take on a religious bent.
15th Dec '17 10:29:00 PM WanderingBrowser
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* ''Series/RedDwarf'' has Silicon Heaven, which is a rare overlap of this with RobotReligion. In a rare variant, nobody actually takes Silicon Heaven[[note]]mechanoids can assure themselves an eternity of blissful rest by obediently serving humans throughout their runtime[[/note]] seriously apart from the mechanoids who have been forcibly programmed to believe it, because the fact that it's just a cheap, lazy way to try and keep mechanoids happy with slaving away to serve humanity is written in the "humans only" section of every mechanoid operating manual.
2nd Dec '17 12:43:20 AM sgamer82
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* ''Anime/DragonBallGT'' had the Luud cult.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'': The Church of Leto, led by [[SinisterMinister Father Cornello]], who gathers followers in Lior by convincing them he can do amazing miracles with power given to him by the sun god, Leto. In reality he's just a regular alchemist (and not even a particularly talented one), albeit one with a Philosopher's Stone that enhances his alchemy. Edward uncovers the scam very early on in the manga. Much, ''much'' later, we find out he was going to [[LifeEnergy use his followers' souls]] as part of the GambitPileup orchestrated by the BigBad.

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* %% ''Anime/DragonBallGT'' had the Luud cult.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'': ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'':
**
The Church of Leto, led by [[SinisterMinister Father Cornello]], who gathers followers in Lior by convincing them he can do amazing miracles with power given to him by the sun god, Leto. In reality he's just a regular alchemist (and alchemist, and not even a particularly talented one), albeit one with one, who has a Philosopher's Stone that enhances his alchemy. Edward uncovers the scam very early on in the manga. Much, ''much'' later, we find out he was going to [[LifeEnergy use his followers' souls]] as part of the GambitPileup orchestrated by the BigBad.



* ''Literature/TheTatamiGalaxy'' has a combination religion/pyramid scheme.

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* %% ''Literature/TheTatamiGalaxy'' has a combination religion/pyramid scheme.



* A Catholic priest ([[spoiler:who is actually an impostor]]) manipulates a group of hidden Christians to this end as the main plot of the ''SamuraiChamploo'' episode "Unholy Union". There's a whole scene of him showing off all the extravagant pieces of art and other items he bought for his own enjoyment using alms given to him by the actually faithful Christians, naming each item and how much they cost.

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* A Catholic priest ([[spoiler:who is actually an impostor]]) manipulates a group of hidden Christians to this end as the main plot of the ''SamuraiChamploo'' ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'' episode "Unholy Union". There's a whole scene of him showing off all the extravagant pieces of art and other items he bought for his own enjoyment using alms given to him by the actually faithful Christians, naming each item and how much they cost.



* ''ComicStrip/{{Fables}}'': in The Great Fables Crossover, [[UnwantedFalseFaith the belief in Blue Boy]] temporarily turns into this as Jack takes over as its shepherd.

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* ''ComicStrip/{{Fables}}'': in In The Great Fables Crossover, [[UnwantedFalseFaith the belief in Blue Boy]] temporarily turns into this as Jack takes over as its shepherd.



* In ''FanFic/WithStringsAttached'', the ruling religion of Ketafa is quite clearly fake, though it isn't portrayed as a bad thing overall; it encourages good works by the populace. However, the Idri'en Tagen used it to sway the Ketafans to support them by setting up a fake Vasyn, claiming it restored the gods to the formerly godless continent, and encouraging its treatment as a holy object.

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* In ''FanFic/WithStringsAttached'', the ''FanFic/WithStringsAttached'':
** The
ruling religion of Ketafa is quite clearly fake, though it isn't portrayed as a bad thing overall; it encourages good works by the populace. However, the Idri'en Tagen used it to sway the Ketafans to support them by setting up a fake Vasyn, claiming it restored the gods to the formerly godless continent, and encouraging its treatment as a holy object.



** [[spoiler:Of course, this backfires ''magnificently'' in the long run.]]

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** %% [[spoiler:Of course, this backfires ''magnificently'' in the long run.]]



* Bokononism in ''Literature/CatsCradle''. Quite openly.

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* %% Bokononism in ''Literature/CatsCradle''. Quite openly.



* In Literature/TheHanSoloTrilogy of the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse, the T'landa T'il can produce a state of complete pleasure in a person. This state of pleasure is highly addictive. Normally it is used to attract T'landa T'il females, but instead the self-appointed clergy use it to lure their victims to Ylesia. They go from planet to planet and recruit people. People who experience it and are not strong enough to resist it are drawn into it and become addicted. The pilgrims become slaves in the Ylesian spicemines. The revival is a major part of their day where the pilgrims get their daily fix. These poor slaves are completely brainwashed and can not live without their drug. The faux religion that the T'landa T'il have established is just a ploy to get free slaves and spice. The whole operation is owned by the Hutts. When the slaves are brainwashed and dependent enough they get shipped off to the spice mines of Kessel or sold as sex slaves in a brothel.

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* ''Franchise/StarWarsLegends''
**
In Literature/TheHanSoloTrilogy of the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse, ''Literature/TheHanSoloTrilogy'', the T'landa T'il can produce a state of complete pleasure in a person. This state of pleasure is highly addictive. Normally it is used to attract T'landa T'il females, but instead the self-appointed clergy use it to lure their victims to Ylesia. They go from planet to planet and recruit people. People who experience it and are not strong enough to resist it are drawn into it and become addicted. The pilgrims become slaves in the Ylesian spicemines. The revival is a major part of their day where the pilgrims get their daily fix. These poor slaves are completely brainwashed and can not live without their drug. The faux religion that the T'landa T'il have established is just a ploy to get free slaves and spice. The whole operation is owned by the Hutts. When the slaves are brainwashed and dependent enough they get shipped off to the spice mines of Kessel or sold as sex slaves in a brothel.



* ''VideoGame/FableII'' features [[FunWithAcronyms T.O.B.Y.]], the Temple of Business and Yodeling, also known as the Temple of Benevolent Yokels. A quest in Bloodstone involves you running errands for the founder, Toby, but you eventually find out it's just a front for Toby to find suckers he can con into buying useless crap or running errands for him.
** And hookers. Don't forget the hookers.
** In the first game, the backstory reveals that both Avo the God of Good and Skorm the God of Evil are fakes invented by an enterprising merchant as a way of collecting money from the donations of followers. The scam works because their temples are built over places of very strong naturally occurring magical energy, so the power itself is real, even though the deities themselves are not.

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* ''VideoGame/Fable''
** In ''VideoGame/FableI'', the backstory reveals that both Avo the God of Good and Skorm the God of Evil are fakes invented by an enterprising merchant as a way of collecting money from the donations of followers. The scam works because their temples are built over places of very strong naturally occurring magical energy, so the power itself is real, even though the deities themselves are not.
**
''VideoGame/FableII'' features [[FunWithAcronyms T.O.B.Y.]], the Temple of Business and Yodeling, also known as the Temple of Benevolent Yokels. A quest in Bloodstone involves you running errands for the founder, Toby, but you eventually find out it's just a front for Toby to find suckers he can con into buying useless crap or running errands for him.
** And hookers. Don't forget the hookers.
** In the first game, the backstory reveals that both Avo the God of Good and Skorm the God of Evil are fakes invented by an enterprising merchant as a way of collecting money from the donations of followers. The scam works because their temples are built over places of very strong naturally occurring magical energy, so the power itself is real, even though the deities themselves are not.
him.



* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' has the Church of Yevon. It teaches that Sin was a divine punishment for using machina, that machina weapons are evil, that Sin will go away with enough prayer and repentance, and that the Final Summoning can free the world from Sin. While it's true from one point of view that machina brought about Sin (Bevelle won the war because of their superior weaponry, and Yu Yevon created Sin as his revenge), they are not inherently evil and Sin is not divine; the church uses this lie to keep the populace under control (no advanced weaponry = harder to overthrow the church). Sin will not go away with any amount of prayer or repentance, and the Final Summoning is actually how Sin is reborn; this lie is used to give the people false hope and keep them ignorant of the true state of things. It's made very clear that the Maesters are fully aware of the continued lies they spread. The church also has no compunctions using machina themselves--Bevelle's temple uses machina transporters, their soldiers wield machina rifles, and they use machina war machines even more advanced than the Al Bhed's.
* The main plot of "VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics" revolves around this starting from the end of the second chapter [[spoiler:when you discover that the zodiac braves revered by the church are actually demons, and Saint Ajora was the worst of the lot bent on world destruction. The main character gets branded as a heretic in order to prevent this truth from coming to light, and the author of the in universe book, the Durai papers, upon which the story of the game is drawn from is burnt at the stake to prevent the truth from being revealed]]

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* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
**
''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' has the Church of Yevon. It teaches that Sin was a divine punishment for using machina, that machina weapons are evil, that Sin will go away with enough prayer and repentance, and that the Final Summoning can free the world from Sin. While it's true from one point of view that machina brought about Sin (Bevelle won the war because of their superior weaponry, and Yu Yevon created Sin as his revenge), they are not inherently evil and Sin is not divine; the church uses this lie to keep the populace under control (no advanced weaponry = harder to overthrow the church). Sin will not go away with any amount of prayer or repentance, and the Final Summoning is actually how Sin is reborn; this lie is used to give the people false hope and keep them ignorant of the true state of things. It's made very clear that the Maesters are fully aware of the continued lies they spread. The church also has no compunctions using machina themselves--Bevelle's temple uses machina transporters, their soldiers wield machina rifles, and they use machina war machines even more advanced than the Al Bhed's.
* ** The main plot of "VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics" ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' revolves around this starting from the end of the second chapter [[spoiler:when you discover that the zodiac braves revered by the church are actually demons, and Saint Ajora was the worst of the lot bent on world destruction. The main character gets branded as a heretic in order to prevent this truth from coming to light, and the author of the in universe book, the Durai papers, upon which the story of the game is drawn from is burnt at the stake to prevent the truth from being revealed]]



* ''[[VideoGame/EarthBound EarthBound's]]'' [[ChurchOfHappyology Happy Happyism]] is a prime example. The leader of the cult, Carpainter, [[spoiler:is essentially high on the presence of the Mani-Mani statue. In fact, the Mani-Mani statue, through which the BigBad Giygas works his evil will, is the source of evil in the form of false beliefs and {{Corrupt Corporate Executive}}s where ever it goes.]]
* In VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}, [[spoiler:the Ethos is revealed to be a mere front for a Solaris operation, much to Billy's dismay]].

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* ''[[VideoGame/EarthBound EarthBound's]]'' ''VideoGame/EarthBound's'' [[ChurchOfHappyology Happy Happyism]] is a prime example. The leader of the cult, Carpainter, [[spoiler:is essentially high on the presence of the Mani-Mani statue. In fact, the Mani-Mani statue, through which the BigBad Giygas works his evil will, is the source of evil in the form of false beliefs and {{Corrupt Corporate Executive}}s where ever it goes.]]
* In VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}, ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'', [[spoiler:the Ethos is revealed to be a mere front for a Solaris operation, much to Billy's dismay]].



* Unitology in the ''VideoGame/DeadSpace'' series is an unholy (heh) cross between a doomsday cult, this, and terrorist extremism (at least in the third game).
* The White Mantle in ''VideoGame/GuildWars Prophecies'' was engineered by the [[GodGuise Mursaat]] in order to gain control of Kryta and use them to prevent the Flameseeker Prophecies from coming to pass. Most Mantle honestly believed in the divinity of the Mursaat and that the associated nastiness was necessary.

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* Unitology in the ''VideoGame/DeadSpace'' series is an unholy (heh) cross between a doomsday cult, this, and terrorist extremism (at least and, in the third game).
game, terrorist extremism.
* ''VideoGame/GuildWars:'"
**
The White Mantle in ''VideoGame/GuildWars ''Guild Wars Prophecies'' was engineered by the [[GodGuise Mursaat]] in order to gain control of Kryta and use them to prevent the Flameseeker Prophecies from coming to pass. Most Mantle honestly believed in the divinity of the Mursaat and that the associated nastiness was necessary.



* Movementarianism from ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' (which is also Happyology).

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* %% Movementarianism from ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' (which is also Happyology).
22nd Nov '17 6:12:52 AM Someoneman
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* In ''Videogame/Yakuza0'', one of Majima's sidequest has him rescuing a young woman from a shady cult extorting it's members for money and planning to make a harem from it's women by infiltrating the cult and beating the crap out of the leader.

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* In ''Videogame/Yakuza0'', one of Majima's sidequest has him rescuing a young woman from a shady cult extorting it's its members for money and planning to make a harem from it's its women by infiltrating the cult and beating the crap out of the leader.
15th Nov '17 7:55:16 AM ashlay
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* Literature/ReleaseThatWitch: The witch hunting Church in the story was actually created ''by'' witches, as a means to capture and sacrifice any witch deemed to have lost the SuperpowerLottery to make more magical {{Super Soldier}}s for the coming TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
23rd Oct '17 7:21:53 AM Jeduthun
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TruthInTelevision to some extent: there have been "religious" or "spiritual" movements throughout history that were primarily focused on relieving their followers of their money, and some people will use the concepts of religion to promote financial scams (e.g. the "affinity scam" where a person operating a non-religious scam like a FourOneNineScam or a {{Ponzi}} scheme markets it to churchgoers using religious jargon).

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TruthInTelevision to some extent: there have been "religious" or "spiritual" movements throughout history that were primarily focused on [[AFoolAndHisNewMoneyAreSoonParted relieving their followers of their money, money]], and some people will use the concepts of religion to promote financial scams (e.g. the "affinity scam" where a person operating a non-religious scam like a FourOneNineScam or a {{Ponzi}} scheme markets it to churchgoers using religious jargon).
jargon). Also compare FakeCharity, which similarly uses a seemingly worthy cause as TheTale for a con.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.ScamReligion