Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Marketing and Christianity

One of the blogs which I follow is by marketer Seth Godin. He often gives excellent insights into modern day marketing. Why I like it is that it can often bring insights into the modern day church and how it markets itself. This I think can be illustrated by a recent post I read by Jason Cooker called 'Bonding vs Bridging :: Fear and retribution in fundamentalism'

Seth writes

Marketers... benefit when they work to make their customers dumber. The less they know about options, the easier they are to manipulate, the more helpless they are, the better they do.
 Cooker writes regarding fundamentalism at a conference he was at

There were other ways this parochialism was constantly reinforced:
  • Jesus is coming back as a “dominant and domineering” savior who will wipe out his enemies
  • If you do not have a strong man preaching this message to you every week then you are in danger of failing in the Christian life and should find a new church
  • If you cease to believe this message then you demonstrate you never really knew God in the first place and were always bound for hell
  • If you are a woman, showing too much of your body in public is a significant betrayal of your duty to represent Jesus
  • “Right doctrine is the litmus test for your life”
  • God’s wrath is not only satisfied by death, but by suffering too
  • People who reject penal substitution and the divinity of Christ are among the most radical and perverse members of society. L. Ron Hubbard was quoted as an example, and immediately described as, “…a man who exhibited many of the markers of pedophilia.”
  • You must be able to understand and agree with an abstract concept of God (the Trinity) and a specific technical role for Jesus (penal substitutionary atonement) to be saved from hell: “You can get [the question about who Jesus is] nearly right and still end up in hell.”

Seth in the same article writes about Marketing in a positive way ::

A few benefit when they make their customers smarter. The more the people they sell to know, the more informed, inquisitive, free-thinking and alert they are, the better they do.

The positive side of Christian Marketing as illustrated by Cooker ::

The gospel, on the other hand, is about Christ’s eradication of barriers. Now, the Resolved preachers would agree – but they would likely say the barrier Christ eradicates is the one between the individual sinner and God. I would say it includes that, but extends pervasively to all other barriers as well – those between men and women, between races and religions, between ideologies, between humanity and the earth, etc.
Its interesting, I was brought into faith through the whole idea of fear and guilt. In the end I nearly walked away from it all. Yet it was though redemption and love which draws me and still does to the Christian faith.