Stairway to Heaven
All religions thrive on the psychological fears and insecurities of the people. The biggest fear of all humans is the fear of death and the fear of the unknown. To overcome this and to offer some sort of solace to the fearful masses, some resourceful individuals have created the myth of heaven and hell. This simple carrot and stick management principle has proved its effectiveness in controlling the minds of the masses for the last 2000 years.
One of the most successful religions ever invented is Christianity which uses this approach very effectively and has succeeded in building up the biggest religious base in the world. Muslims also follow suit with their promise of heaven with unlimited fun and happiness. The Hindus believe in Karma and the cycle of birth & rebirth till all the accumulated stains are removed and the soul of the individual soul merges with the universal soul or Paramatma. The unprecedented success of the organized religion in controlling the minds of the people is a case study in creating mass delusion. The most successful amongst Christianity is undoubtedly the catholic church with its Pope as their religious head who derives his power directly as the descendant of St. Peter who was ordained as the leader of the masses by Jesus himself. Since Jesus is the son of GOD, the Pope derives his power in a direct channel from GOD himself. As the principal middlemen between the supreme GOD and the masses, the catholic church has built up immense power, prestige and wealth in the process.
Now the new age offshoots of the Pentecost/ protestant churches has started challenging the traditional hold of the catholic church over the masses. The competition is hotting up. The new age cult religions preach that there is no necessity for a middle man to pray to GOD, they do not believe in mother Mary or the numerous saints. They advocate the direct approach. Cut out all red tape. When you can directly talk to GOD, why the necessity for all the middlemen? GOD it seems is suddenly much more close and personal. Moreover they also preach that anyone who becomes their member is automatically entitled to the ultimate club called “Heaven”. Their members will automatically go to heaven while the rest of humanity will be wandering around in the wilderness called “purgatory”. This is akin to shop “A” offering 20% discount while shop “B” offers 50% discount to their customers. To the customers who were originally going to shop “A”, the offer of shop “B” is very attractive and all of them have started to visit shop “B”. Like shop “B” the new age cult groups which indulge in aggressive marketing strategies, interactive prayer forms and offers attractive posthumous benefits are seeing a surge in their followers.
While the people are all assured of heaven after they die, their leaders are already enjoying heaven here itself. Their leaders are laughing all the way to the bank, where their coffers are overflowing with money. They whizz around the world in private jets and own extensive estates and mind boggling assets. Recently a high profile preacher from Kerala was under scrutiny by the law enforcement authorities of USA & India for cheating his donors. The wealthiest persons on this planet are the GOD peddlers. The self proclaimed GOD MEN. They have exclusive knowledge of the secret stairway to heaven.
The biggest irony is when these new age cult groups criticize the belief of the catholic church in Mother Mary & saints, but these groups also rely on beliefs like “Virgin Birth” & “resurrection” which are highly controversial and questionable. Beliefs are beliefs. Beliefs cannot ever be a substitute for reality. One Belief cannot ever be said to be more real or truer than another belief.
It seems the easiest way to become a millionaire is to start selling religion. Promise the masses heaven or assure them of resurrection or life after death. Nobody will be coming back from the dead to question them or file criminal or civil case against them. They can rest assured that the dead will stay dumb. Lead the masses on false promises, make them feel that they are chosen, transport them into a world of delusions. Anyway the whole world is “Maya”. Let the holy spirit enlighten them and make them cough out their hard earned money, ride their imagined fears and insecurities, drive their emotions, and laugh all the way to the bank. May the beliefs carry them all the way to heaven. Let me conclude by quoting the Thailand tourism slogan “ If you want to go to heaven after death, pray. if you want to enjoy heaven while alive come to Thailand.” The choice is ours.