History Main / ScamReligion

23rd Jun '16 11:29:09 AM Ebrbfureh
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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 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...)



* ''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 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 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.



* ''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.

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* ''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 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.



* ''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, Mormonism is a load of bull -- but bull--but Mormons are the sweetest people on Earth, so who cares?"
18th Jun '16 5:11:11 AM alspawn
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* LetsPlay/HATFilms and 'The Hand of Truth' in ''Cornerstone''. Not entirely clear what the religion involves, but it sure likes gold.
18th Jun '16 4:41:52 AM jormis29
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* In ''TheDarkEye'' the Church of Borbarad was founded as a way to make money through donations and simony. Turned into ChurchOfEvil after Xeraan's death.

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* In ''TheDarkEye'' ''TabletopGame/TheDarkEye'' the Church of Borbarad was founded as a way to make money through donations and simony. Turned into ChurchOfEvil after Xeraan's death.
18th Jun '16 4:41:12 AM jormis29
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* The Orzhov Syndicate, from the Ravnica setting of ''TableTopGames/MagicTheGathering'', is half of this, and half of LegitimateBusinessmensSocialClub. It's a little unclear of ''how'' fake the Orzhov church is, but it's abundantly clear that everyone in that guild is there for the money and power, and not the piety.

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* The Orzhov Syndicate, from the Ravnica setting of ''TableTopGames/MagicTheGathering'', ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', is half of this, and half of LegitimateBusinessmensSocialClub. It's a little unclear of ''how'' fake the Orzhov church is, but it's abundantly clear that everyone in that guild is there for the money and power, and not the piety.
14th May '16 7:29:10 PM Pegase
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* "Series/Zoey 101" had the Silver Hammer Society, a supposedly elite group which turned out to be a scam for the leaders to get the people who wanted to join to do stuff for them.

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* "Series/Zoey 101" ''Series/Zoey101'' had the Silver Hammer Society, a supposedly elite group which turned out to be a scam for the leaders to get the people who wanted to join to do stuff for them.
3rd May '16 3:47:05 PM Nerrin
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* An early ''ComicBook/{{Transmetropolitan}}'' story has Spider covering a massive religious fair for a column. New religions are started every day, and the event feels like a fan convention crossed with a job fair. The whole event is ''incredibly'' soulless and pretty much everyone there is clearly some kind of huckster trying to scam new converts. The sheer farce and cynical villainy of it leaves Spider so enraged that he ends up on a violent rampage across the fair, dressed like Jesus, denouncing religion, and exposing himself while yelling, "Read my scripture!"


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* In ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}'', the Blood of Vol was started entirely as a cover for Vol's minions and to sucker the common believers into providing (indirect) material support to her minions, including the Order of the Emerald Claw, a terrorist group. It is not itself a ReligionOfEvil as most followers are perfectly normal people who are seeking an alternative to the known grey, gloomy, TheUnderworld-style afterlife of Dolurrh where all you have to look forward to is your soul slowly fading away.
23rd Apr '16 9:56:58 AM Discar
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-> '''Storekeeper:''' Why are my property taxes so high?
-> '''Assessor:''' I'm sorry, it's because of all the churches in the area, since they don't pay property taxes, someone has to make up for the lost revenue. Hold on while I figure out your tax bill. [Leans over counter]
-> '''Storekeeper:''' [Light goes on in his eyes] Hey! Stop leaning on my ''altar''!
->- Rowan and Martin's ''LaughIn''

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-> '''Storekeeper:''' Why are my property taxes so high?
->
high?\\
'''Assessor:''' I'm sorry, it's because of all the churches in the area, since they don't pay property taxes, someone has to make up for the lost revenue. Hold on while I figure out your tax bill. [Leans ''[leans over counter]
->
counter]''\\
'''Storekeeper:''' [Light ''[light goes on in his eyes] eyes]'' Hey! Stop leaning on my ''altar''!
->- -->-- Rowan and Martin's ''LaughIn''
17th Apr '16 2:10:50 PM zarpaulus
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* In ''Film/TheInventionOfLying'' the depicted world with no concept of lies or fiction has no religions until Mark, the world's first liar, tries to reassure his dying mother with a story about a "man in the sky".



* One stage of the ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'s'' plan to rebuild the Galactic Empire was to create a scam religion whose fanatical technician-priests know how to use and maintain the Foundation's LostTechnology but don't know how it works or how to recreate it. They also lend the petty kings of the surrounding regions a measure of Divine Right, but only so long as they support the Foundation. When one kingdom attempts to start a war with the Foundation the priests running their ships and infrastructure go on strike and incite riots among the devout populace.



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15th Feb '16 1:29:28 PM TendoAki
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* 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]]
25th Jan '16 10:33:31 AM ChronoLegion
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* In Creator/JohnScalzi's ''Literature/AndroidsDream'', the Church of the Evolved Lamb is the only religion whose members fully realize that their founder did it to make money and completely made up all the "prophecies" (his goal was to swindle a wealthy old lady out of her billions, but she turned out to be much smarter than that and, instead, had him dancing to her tune). But they're determined to make it work.

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* In Creator/JohnScalzi's ''Literature/AndroidsDream'', ''Literature/TheAndroidsDream'', the Church of the Evolved Lamb is the only religion whose members fully realize that their founder did it to make money and completely made up all the "prophecies" (his goal was to swindle a wealthy old lady out of her billions, but she turned out to be much smarter than that and, instead, had him dancing to her tune). But they're determined to make it work.
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