Religion Deemed Too Big to Fail

Quantitative easing for the collapse of religion—the new arm of government subsidy.

If religion in America were a country, its $1.2 Trillion in tax free income (2016) would be the 15th largest economy in the world. Too big to fail? Subsidized religion would be interesting, to say the least.

The economic bailout of 2008 cost $700billion to keep institutions we hate in business. Imagine how soothing it will be to bail out religion to sustain its lengthy crash? It could however, be worth ending the futility of its unmet objectives by natural selection—for extinction.

It would be worth a few bones to retrain the ministry into something useful—like carpentry or green technology. They don’t typically pay unemployment insurance for themselves or other church employees. It’s a risky business when there’s not enough crisis to keep membership up.

It may be deemed too big to fail, but it would be worth it. A quick dose of reality, then, after the weeping and wailing we can get on with living. Transcending belief mode will be an incredible period of discovery.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

51 thoughts on “Religion Deemed Too Big to Fail”

  1. I was just thinking about this last night. I was at a volunteer appreciation dinner for the organization I volunteer for, and it was held in a church. Upon leaving, in big letters over the exit was the phrase “You are now entering the mission field”. Basically saying, as I’m sure you know, is that now that you are out of the church you and in the real world, you need to be bringing the Word to all us sinners. Organized religion, is called that for a reason. It’s like a corporation with slogans and mottos they use to keep you believing in the company. To refer to the real world as the mission field gives people a sense of purpose, a purpose that they will never finish achieving because it’s an impossible task, but that will invariably try to bring more people in, to tithe more money to give more money to the church. And while some churches do, do good things with the money, a majority of them do not and the wealth of religious leaders just grow. More importantly they expect money, even out of the people who really can’t afford to give.

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    1. I wonder if these bible colleges offer business classes. Like an MBA-FG? A turnkey model for success. Sounds like everyone is copying some type of format whether official or not. All of them act like they are unique, but when you go from church to church they’re more alike than they like to admit.

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  2. Paid clergy and donations of money are in the New Testament, especially the epistles that show that an organized church existed at the time of writing. The Old Testament has tithes and taxes paid to the priests. It would be more impressive if the Bible said there was no need for donations or taxes. Yahweh or Jesus will take care of their institutions. Kind of like how those year long sabbaths every 7 years where no agricultural work was supposed to be done, in return for observing that rule and the others, the Israelites were supposed to have so much prosperity that they wouldn’t know what to do with it all. Surely then, the same could be done for the churches. Miraculous repairs, overnight and inexplicable refurbishment, wine and cracker supplies that never run out, and clergy that have their food and shelter just appear as needed. Churches could just sprout from the ground.

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    1. Sure. Consider the lily of the field and take no thought for what you shall wear, unless your clergy. Those that rise to the top of the profession are the worst of humans. It always starts with the best of intentions, then self importance shines in.
      I do think the majority are in it because they don’t know what else to do. Who has the time to break it all down anymore?

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      1. I wouldn’t be so strict about it if they did not make such high claims about the Christian sect. Institutions need people and money to be kept up. It looks bad on them because their teachings claim that being wealthy is bad and that wealth should be given away. If they claim that is simplifying it too much, remember the rich man and Lazarus and “woe to you rich”. In the Old Testament, wealth and power are signs of Yahweh’s favor, so at least wealthy priests would not be a direct contradiction to scripture in that worldview.

        The following is from Xenophon, on Socrates. It came to mind earlier when I saw this, but I did not have time then.

        “Socrates, I for my part believe you to be a just, but by no means a wise man. And I think you realise it yourself. Anyhow, you decline to take money for your society. Yet if you believed your cloak or house or anything you possess to be worth money, you would not part with it for nothing or even for less than its value. Clearly, then, if you set any value on your society, you would insist on getting the proper price for that too. It may well be that you are a just man because you do not cheat people through avarice; but wise you cannot be, since your knowledge is not worth anything.”

        To this Socrates replied:“Antiphon, it is common opinion among us in regard to beauty and wisdom that there is an honorable and a shameful way of bestowing them. For to offer one’s beauty for money to all comers is called prostitution; but we think it virtuous to become friendly with a lover who is known to be a man of honor. So is it with wisdom. Those who offer it to all comers for money are known as sophists, prostitutors of wisdom, but we think that he who makes a friend of one whom he knows to be gifted by nature, and teaches him all the good he can, fulfils the duty of a citizen and a gentleman. That is my own view, Antiphon. Others have a fancy for a good horse or dog or bird: my fancy, stronger even than theirs, is for good friends. And I teach them all the good I can, and recommend them to others from whom I think they will get some moral benefit. And the treasures that the wise men of old have left us in their writings I open and explore with my friends. If we come on any good thing, we extract it, and we set much store on being useful to one another.”

        Whether or not it would apply to tithes and the like is debatable. Ministers and priests with their hands always open and passing the plate around again are a common sight. Many of them are just in it for the money, as I see it. At least the sophists that Socrates mentioned were open about their desire to make money(as lecturers and teachers to the wealthy) and did not go about condemning wealth or demanding that others be charitable. They were not hypocritical in that respect.

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  3. Imagine what the individual could do if they weren’t giving their money to the churches?

    Perhaps one day religion will die. I will be in the front row with popcorn watching the struggling masses trying to figure out how to run their own lives. Sheep let out of the pen lingering with nothing to do.

    My mom was very active in her Catholic parishes. She NEVER tithed or gave money to the church. She said it was wrong and she donated her time so money wasn’t necessary. I will never agree with religion, but a church that encourages donations of time and skill rather than money would be a bit higher on my acceptance list.

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    1. I’d really be surprised if changing the money over to govt control would solve anything either. It’s really just the hypocrisy. Christianity has this high, unfiltered god given knowledge of right and wrong. A lot of good that does them…

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  4. • If religion in America were a country, its $1.2 Trillion in tax free income (2016) would be the 15th largest economy in the world.

    • The economic bailout of 2008 cost $700-billion to keep institutions we hate in business.

    And we should look at some other MONUMENTAL FREEBIES (at least loop-holes in our tax codes) Christianity and other religions benefit/profit off of ALL remaining U.S. tax-paying citizens—who btw cannot afford elite CPU’s/attorneys that finagle wide varieties of numerous exemptions, reductions, or tax-shelters. For example:

    • Religions in the U.S. rake in over $83-billion per year (2013) in tax-exemptions and subsidies

    • Sadly, if Congress made all churches, mosques, synagogues, or religions pay fair-share taxes, they’d simply register as a 501(c)(3) Non-profit. The tax codes for non-profit organizations/businesses are essentially identical

    • States bypass an estimated $26.2-billion per year by not requiring religious institutions to pay property taxes

    From a 2012 Big Think article:

    Not all churches or all ministers are rich, but some of them are very rich indeed. And that’s no surprise, because society subsidizes them through a constellation of generous tax breaks that aren’t available to any other institution, even non-profits. For example, religious organizations can opt out of Social Security and Medicare withholding. Religious employers are exempt from unemployment taxes, and in some states, from sales tax. Religious ministers – and no other profession; the law specifies that only “ministers of the gospel” are eligible for this benefit – can receive part of their salary as a “housing allowance” on which they pay no taxes. (Compounding the absurdity, they can then turn around and double-dip, deducting their mortgage interest from their taxes, even when their mortgage is being paid with tax-free money in the first place.) And, of course, churches are exempt from property tax and from federal income tax.

    An investigation by Sen. Chuck Grassley in 2009 gave a rare public glimpse of how powerful preachers spend the cash they rake in from their flocks: jewelry, luxury clothing, cosmetic surgery, offshore bank accounts, multi-million-dollar lakefront mansions, a fleet of private jets, flights to Hawaii and Fiji, and most famously in the case of Joyce Meyer, a $23,000 marble-topped commode. Meyer’s ministry alone is estimated to have an annual take of around $124 million.

    And yet, NONE of the most desired “blissful rewards” for the 90% – 99% rest of us are “promised” in this life. No, they are “promised” in the next, after death—UNLESS you are the newest member in a fast-rising American movement: Prosperity Theology/Gospel. I should know, my ex-wife raised my two kids in a Joel Osteen spin-off church in Conroe, Texas. 😠😔

    Finally, and I apologize Jim for my comment’s length already, however, I think this also must be pointed out just as much if not more than the crazy dollar figures we’ve pumped out. What is it? It is simply TRANSPARENCY.

    If these religious organizations, churches, faiths, associations all essentially “claim” universal truth, Godly piety, honesty, charity, salvation, etc, etc, all the highest virtues, then what is the problem with full unhindered reporting to the IRS or any auditors… all the gains, losses, revenues, expenses, properties, investments, accounts, EVERYTHING down to the penny!? If these religions ARE what they claim, then TRANSPARENCY isn’t an issue at all, right? 🙄

    Jim, we Secularists or non-religious MIGHT want to seriously consider somehow making our scientific(?), non-Theistic, secular, non-Abrahamic beliefs or methodology a churchy-esque 😉 organization(s) just to compete for minds, hearts, and bank accounts! Right now, the “playing field,” the League if you will, heavily favors the religious/Christianity for sure. 🤬

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    1. And regarding TRANSPARENCY Jim, I found this dissertation by a graduate student at State University of New York to be of invaluable information! The grad-student, Abigail Stryker, makes an excellent case for exhaustive transparency by Churches. Here’s her opening Abstract, followed by the link:

      The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides for a separation of Church and State, a right that provides the grounds for churches being exempted from filing and paying their taxes. This right has been defended time and time again in the U.S. Supreme Court, as justices uphold that government and religion need not be intertwined. There are valid arguments both for and against requiring churches to file their taxes and considering the significant portion of the economy that is made up by churches, it is an issue worth looking into. My research concludes that churches should be treated the same as every other individual person, business, and not-for-profit organization in the United States, and be required to file their taxes. Whether they should be paying taxes is a separate issue, but they should at the very least be more transparent about
      their finances for accountability to the church members and the surrounding community.

      https://digitalcommons.brockport.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1263&context=honors

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, possibly if we organized and settled on a belief, such as a type of deism, panpsychism, animism, or the like, perhaps we could develop a hierarchy of corruption too? It’s pretty evident that we’re missing out when belief is so easy to score on.
      But I do agree with you. What’s the problem with transparency if you’ve nothing to hide? I guess we just don’t understand the backroom shenanigans that accompany true faith, at any cost god will perhaps give us a few stripes then congratulate us on proselytizing well done.

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      1. This is true Jim. Once the Greco-Roman Christological Church got “LEGALLY” organized, or began its spreading/enforcing orthodoxy of “Faith” post-325 CE at Nicene—i.e. over 1,620 years of mainline orthodoxy across the Western Hemisphere, then with a significant tweak in 1517 (400+ years) with the Protestant Reformation—the basic, mainline religion of Christianity and its later 60+ denominations has had an ENORMOUS head start on Secular or neutral groups/institutions to counter centuries and over a millenia of “Faith Monopolies” and gross disparity in sociopolitical affairs. We are way, WAY behind in creating a FAIR playing field! 😬

        I wonder… do we have a choice? Though in several respects moving toward/for Orthodoxy can often minimize and degrade individual rights, creativity, questioning, personal liberties, etc, et al, BUT what do we do against a mega-Goliath system/orthodoxy that is/has been SO DEEPLY ENTRENCHED in our Western society’s fabric and our collective conscience (in our DNA?) that even Islam—the fastest growing religion/faith in the world the last several decades—could not completely eradicate Orthodox Christianity. Those two faiths are SO polarized deep down over so many centuries, that will never happen for no other reason than the West keeping Islam from “winning”! HAH! And then the primary reason Islam is spreading astonishingly fast is because its growth has been mostly in impoverished, war-torn, horribly uneducated nations/regions with no or fragile infrastructure—those conquered people/victims merely assimilate to survive.

        Thus, organizing (becoming orthodoxed?) 🤢 might be the most effective counter-measure for altruistic, virtuous, well-educated Secular peoples. Thoughts?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If I thought any of this mattered, it’d be worth the struggle. The fighting is real, but the ending isn’t what they say it is. Regardless of any isms, desperations of urgency to save the planet or feed the poor, this is just not what drives this universe. Maybe…

          Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was a kid our parish published the amount we gave, which could be tracked via envelope numbers. Trust me, it wasn’t much, but it was a big deal to my parents. The greatest sin is not murder, it’s failure to tithe.

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  6. The finances of the various churches, how much money they get, and how they get it, is, frankly, obscene. They prey upon the most vulnerable… But we all know that.

    The thing is, the situation could be worse. In a lot of countries the churches are directly supported by the taxpayers. In some countries there are ways to get out of it, in others it’s mandatory. 70% of the income of various churches in Germany, for example, comes from a tax you pay. If you belong to a church, the government taxes you and turns that money over to the church you belong to. The catholic church took in something like 6 billion euros if I remember right. The tax is 8% 0f your tax payment. So if you owe 10,000 in taxes, the church tax adds another 800 on top of that. Iceland has something similar. If you belong to one of the registered churches (or a humanist organization) you are assessed a church tax as well. Take a look over at this Wikipedia article, it’s interesting.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_tax

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  7. The protestant movement started by ol Martin L was a protest against the extravagant wealth of the money-grabbing Catholic Church. But once those poor protestants got a little cash in the bank, they forgot all about sinful greed! Now we have a filthy rich Catholic Institution and a filthy rich protestant institution.

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      1. How true. If I got it, then it’s in my best interest to preach to everybody else, in a LOUD voice, that having money is a big ol sin. 🙂

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    1. Paul, there seems to be something inherently corrupting about religion. Despite whatever good intentions the founders may have had, the whole thing quickly turns into little more than an outright scam when they realize they can use it to fleece people. I wouldn’t mind if they’d scam the rich, but generally it’s the poorest people they target. Churches were the original “payday lenders”, targeting the poor and desperate.

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      1. I can remember when I was a church-going lad, the preacher, when he wanted to get more money out of his rich Methodist congregation, always preached a sermon around the parable of the old lady who gave her two mites and that was all she had. Turned out to be one of the best scams ever.

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    1. Sure. It will fail because it should fail, but it’s millions of church employees would need our help since god is absent, testing their faith and using the wicked to advance his church. Churches would make fine museums though. That might soften the blow.

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      1. if you know what to do with abandoned churches, I can get you a good deal on several over here. We have abandoned churches standing all over the place. As congregations shrink in size and because the cost of maintaining those 19th century buildings is so high, a lot of parishes have been combining, building a new church and abandoning the old ones. I almost bought one a while back. I could have got a complete church, with parking lot and a couple of small outbuildings for about $30,000. Of course, me being me, I wasn’t going to do something normal with it. This was before gay marriage was legal and I was going to set up a “wedding chapel catering to the LGBT community. But then it became legal and then some nut case who, believe it or not, “uses martial arts to connect teens to Jesus” bought the place.

        I wish I was making up that martial arts and Jesus bit, but I’m not. Fortunately that didn’t last long.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Well, since your committed to Kenya, you’d have to stick-it to you’re fellow countrymen. Not even Ray Comfort does that. He took his bullshit to America to screw us.

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            1. Kenya saturated? There are towns here that have churches on nearly every block. Then TV of course. TV evangelism could even make you look like an ass. Let’s do it! One thing at a time though.

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            2. I am thinking investing in saving souls will help with the other issue. We will have the mullahs to spend.
              We have so many churches as a percentage of the population

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  8. Offerings to God are suppose to be set on fire, My pastor keep saying that. Still he takes all the money for himself, building church branches, buying a new car, hiring a new bodyguard. That money could be use for something better but guess what? Nobody will go against god and his disciples and it so unfair.

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      1. I wish people who experienced this whole religion thing firsthand still exist, maybe they could help a little with the confusion and all. But now all we are left with are men with the so called earthly need they asked the congregation to stay away from. They own jets and mansions, they are living large and comfortable while we work to give them more money. Some of these church goers stay under the sun 24/7 just to pay tithe because somehow they believe God sees their struggle so they will receive more blessings that way. I’m from Africa, Nigeria to be specific. Here pastors sell fruits like Oranges and sugarcane for a huge amount, because it has been anointed by the Holy Spirit for seven days and night. If God is really up there somewhere, he definitely is a patient man. Sometimes I wish he would put me in charge of Thunder, I will work so hard striking people down in secs.

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  9. I really don’t understand why that income is tax free. It’s not like you’re redistributing it amongst the needy and destitute. They only use it to further enhance their reach and though some religious institutions offer free food and shelter, it’s only a fraction of the money. If believing in something requires it to look grand, why’s it even worth the effort?
    I bet if god was for real and took all that money for himself, we’d all turn against him.
    That money could be used for better purposes.

    Liked by 6 people

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