Example research essay topic: How Business Has Entered Religion In America – 1,591 words

As Moses knelt down before the Burning Bush to
receive the Ten Commandments, the people were
kneeling down before the golden calf to receive
their cut. Money and religion have always been a
paradox, a test, and a trial to those who struggle
to live a spiritual life in this material world.
To bring this spiritual life into existence, how
much material is necessary? If one says, “one only
need the word” then as the message is spread, the
word needs to be accessible to everyone. As a
result, books are printed for the people and
Buildings erected to house the people as they read
the books. From these small beginnings, huge
corporation-like entities, with tax breaks,
loopholes, tremendous budgets, with salaries to
match burst forth into a red tape snake pit to
rival any government. Religion in the late 20th
century has become bigger business than ever. It
is not only fleecing the choir, but the
unsuspecting unbeliever as well.

The famous
Biblical account of Jesus over-turning the tables
of the money-changes in the temple shows that
money and religion have been strange, but
necessary bedfellows for millennia. What started
out, in Abraham’s day, as an animal sacrifice to
please God –by the Middle Ages had turned into
buying a way into heaven. The clergy of the Church
were sanctioned to sell indulgences– which were
payments to the Church to ensure a short wait in
Purgatory. In the 20th century, pleasing God takes
many forms and most of those forms are currency.
Religion is very big business, and saving souls
costs a lot of money. There are many ways that the
religious money machine gets funds. There is the
tithe–a percentage of a person’s given to the
church or religious organization for its up-keep.
This is usually 10 percent.

Then there is the sale
of items from the innocent bake sale to raise
money for the Church to the huge play/ park hotel
complex of the Jim and Tammy Bakker of the late
eighties. Waving the poor in the face of the rich
has always been a good method to get money for
corporate religion–but it is usually the poor who
open up their wallet and give. Another popular
method is the doctrine of “prosperity” taught by
many of the more fundamentalist groups. There are
stories in many religious traditions that say,
“the more you give–the more you will receive.”
Many believers take this doctrine to heart and
upon the urging of the television preacher, will
send in their last 10 dollars and report later
that by some miracle money came from somewhere to
handle their problems. This method of fund raising
is shown daily on The 700 Club, which goes to
great expense to film these “I gave and I received
more” vignettes. The preachers and the new
candidates had started by ridiculing all allegedly
rational knowledge, all currents of thought that
had dared to place mankind in the center of their
focus, thereby forgetting that Adams son is but a
malleable figure, a simple wisp of straw in the
hands of the Almighty!(Djaout).

This quote is an
example of how some Religious leaders view people
as malleable and less important than the religions
ideals. This is where corruption steps in. People
become objects to sell to and manipulate, rather
than a community of mutual spirituality. One soon
comes to the first difficulty: everyone else has
exactly the same wishes as I have and will treat
me with no more consideration than I treat him.
And so in reality only one person could be made
unrestrictedly happy by such a removal of the
restrictions of civilization, and he would be a
tyrant, a dictator, who has seized all the means
to power(Freud). This Freudian quote shows the
internal conflict one might go through in a
religious setting. The people are left helpless,
while the leaders take all the money and power.

In
Jesus’ day, he did his healing of the sick of
spirit and of body for free. Today, however, it
will cost you. One of the most popular yet
questionable television ministries is that of
Benny Hinn. Currently, Benny Hinn is building a
World Media Center and production studio, the
building of which cost the faithful $2.5 Million
dollars. Hinn is also asking his patrons to fund
the building’s renovation, which will cost another
$2 million. And people are sending money because
of the “miracles of healing” that they see on his
show “This Is Your Day.” There is the third party
healing that he does when he asks viewers to touch
their television to pick up his healing vibe.

He
will then name some common ailment that he sees
“being healed” and invariably some viewer will
call in say their stiff neck was healed when Benny
mentioned it and then take out their check book.
There are, however, other types of utterance which
are neither true nor false because they fulfill a
different function from that of endeavoring to
describe facts(Hick) John H. Hick wrote this about
the ambiguity of Religious language. Like the
media, Religion dances around definite facts and
focuses more on capturing the audience with vague
yet interesting stories. Christianity is basically
a historical religion(Smith), unfortunately no one
can be completely accurate when talking about the
past, and this gives room for stories and
half-truths. In this way Religion has become more
like a business than a spiritual community.
Religion growing into huge corporations is not
limited to Christianity, of course and neither are
the questionable practices. The Nation of Islam
prepares for new headquarters: The new facility
will have rooms for classes and speakers and has
the lofty goal of getting the message out “that
becoming more industrious is one of the ways out
of this quagmire that many of us find ourselves
in….

You can’t get past prayer and hard work.
The Nation of Islam believes. The Mosque is the
center of the Muslim’s life. Everything that the
Muslim engages in — community life, national
roles, governmental life flows from the mosque.
Some of what The Nation of Islam engages in flows
from the federal government. The organized
religious body received a grant from the
government for its Aids Clinic. The question being
raised, should they be turned down for another
grant because of The Nation’s very racist
attitudes? The first grant was $211,000 for
Abundant Life Clinic to treat AIDS victims. The
second grant it is applying for AIDS education
directed at the black community.

Both programs
would be under the direction of Dr. Abdul Alim
Muhammad, who repeatedly asserts, AIDS is a white
conspiracy designed to decimate the black
population (Cohen). The ethical issues of
separation of Church and State as well as racism
and free speech make this situation all the more
complicated and hotly debated. One columnist for
the St Louis Dispatch observed, “The government
has no business endorsing any group that is
emblematic of racial or religious hatred. To do so
carries the unmistakable implication that racism
is both a historic entitlement and no threat to
anyone” (Cohen). While, for the most part, the
fundraising practices of the Christian Church and
the Nation of Islam are before all eyes–including
the IRS, there are other groups who seek and find
loop holes and use cloaks to hide the fact that
they are a religious organization.

One such group
is The Church of Scientology, Mary Jo Farrell
learned about her husband’s involvement with
Sterling Management whose secret agenda is to
steer clients into its parent organization, the
large and well-known Church of Scientology.
Sterling’s modus operandi is to offer consulting
services to professional people with little
business education–say, dentists, podiatrists,
chiropractors, and veterinarians. Before he left
the training, Farrell had spent $20,000 and
promised to spend another $34,000 on courses
(D’Antonio). Another religious organization, which
has gone from cult to corporation, is The
Unification Church of Reverend Moon. The cult
formerly known for its mind control tactics has
turned 180 degrees and sought legitimacy through
association and business ventures, which is all a
part of a billion dollar industry. “The movement
controls interests that manufacture cars in
southern China, own fishing fleets around the
world, operate casinos in South America, and is
making inroads in the former Soviet Union,
including sponsoring Russian students to study in
America. In the U.

S. Moon gets movers and shakers
to speak at their family conferences like former
presidents, Bush and Ford, drug czar William
Bennet and Geraldine Ferrarro, each who have
spoken for an estimated 100,000 dollars. Moon also
funds publication of the Washington Times, which
gives them an edge in the corporate media world.
Religion in a way has become a business venture.
The leaders of U. S. Moon and The Church of
Scientology have used Religion to become wealthy
entrepreneurs. When you have control of someones
actions and thoughts you have control of their
pocket.

The ideas about ways of living have helped
many people live their lives with purpose, but
when these ideas are abused people are mislead.
Religion is a powerful tool, so powerful that
people are blowing their life savings on corrupt
organizations. Bibliography: Freud, Sigmund, The
Future of an Illusion, 1961, pp Hick, John,
Philosophy of Religion, 1990, pp 89 Smith, Huston,
The Worlds Religions, 1991, pp 317 Cohen, Richard,
“DON’T FUND RACIST AIDS HEALTH CLINICS”., St.
Louis Post-Dispatch, 08-01-1993 D’Antonio,
Michael, “The new “hidden” cults want you.
(includes related information on identifying a
cult)”., Vol. 184, Redbook, 04-01-1995, pp 93(7).
Hetter, Katia, “Jesus saves, you invest”, Vol.
124, U.S. News & World Report, 04-27-1998, pp
70..

Research essay sample on How Business Has Entered Religion In America