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Beware of Spiritual Parasites!

So, you've got your personal salvation in the bag. That's great! But have you taken essential precautions against spiritual parasites? "...wait what!?", you might ask, "What the heck are spiritual parasites? I've never even heard of that!" Well, don't jeopardize your eternal happiness by ignoring this extremely serious spiritual complication.

Imagine that you're floating around on a cloud mentally preparing to sing another hymn in the choir for the Big Guy, when your thoughts are interrupted for the 40-billionth time by the shrill sound of a parrot-like voice incessantly repeating songs by Barney the Purple Dinosaur!

"Darn that spiritual parasite!", you think, but then quickly repent of your hostile feelings. You desperately want to command that spiritual parasite to depart, but you know what happened every time you tried that before. It just looks at you as sad tears well up in its big innocent eyes. And whenever it starts to cry, its tears emit a potent stench reminiscent of a stagnant poopy diaper that lingers around you and makes you think you can taste it.

Yet the obnoxious immortal creature that follows you wherever you go never dies, and never seems to comprehend that you don't appreciate its presence. And worst of all, since it is a rightful citizen of heaven, you must always treat it nicely or you yourself would be the one who does not belong there.

Fortunately, there is a cure for spiritual parasites, but it must be applied before you die. Once a spiritual parasite imprints on your soul, it is no longer possible to get rid of them. But if you send $39.95 to my PO box, a priesthood-holding authority will perform a sacred rite that will permanently innoculate you from Spiritual Parasites. In the words of one person who received this ordinance:

"Just one day after I ordered my spiritual parasitic innoculation, I was eating a sandwich when suddenly I felt a change come over me, and I knew the ordinance had been performed. At that moment I knew I didn't need to worry about spiritual parasites any more! Now, I just feel so much peace of mind knowing that my whole family has been innoculated."

That's all there is to it, but don't delay. You could die at any moment, and imprinted spiritual parasites are completely irreversible. Also, if you love your family and friends, you will naturally want to inform them about the urgency of protecting themselves from spiritual parasites.

This just sounds like a cheap scam!

Gee, you think? Of course it's a cheap scam! Yet, a great many humans are conned by cheap scams. Just think of how many religions there are in the world. (There are many thousands, depending how you count.) They cannot all be the true religion at the same time! And that means a whole heck-uv-a-lot-a people are being duped by cheap scams.

How can we help these people? Let's start by recognizing the common behaviors of a scam. Most scams want you to believe there is:

  1. an urgent problem you didn't previously realize you had,
  2. a cure that depends on a special, but unverifiable, source of power,
  3. a plethora of compelling testimonies about the effectiveness of the cure, and
  4. a limited time to act, followed by dire consequences for even honest skepticism.

So let's identify each of these components in the Spiritual Parasites scam:

  1. Urgent problem: The parasites
  2. Unverifiable cure: Ritualistic innoculation
  3. Testimonials: That quote by the sandwich-eater
  4. Limited time: Physical death

Each of these claims is trivial to recognize in the Spiritual Parasites scam. And that is precisely why the spiritual parasites scam would never work. An effective scam must to deliver its message without being obvious. The problem needs to seem natural--something the organization cannot control. And the solution needs to be inherently limited--something the organization could not just go handing out to everyone. Ideally, the organization would claim to just be innocently striving to do the will of some powerful being whose will is beyond questioning, and whose power is without limits.

Comparison with Christianity

Now, let's contrast with how Christianity pulls it off:

  1. Urgent problem: Spiritual death
  2. Unverifiable cure: The atonement
  3. Testimonials: Numerous ancient witnesses, apologists, authoritative quotes, church-attending believers, parents, friends, faith-promoting rumors, etc.
  4. Limited time: Physical death

Is Spiritual Death really so more believable than Spiritual Parasites? Well, both of them require a bit of imagination, but there is something special about death. Everyone dies. Not everyong gets parasites. And frankly, death is really more scary than parasites. Therefore it does a better job of distracting a person from focusing on the less-plausible component--spirits. And if someone is raised to believe that spirits are the only possible explanation for consciousness, that part may not even be questioned.

Is the atonement really a better cure than having an authorized priesthood-holder perform an innoculating ritual? Well, both of them lean heavily on something that defies comprehension. But the idea that someone would have to pay a serious price for something of eternal consequence is clearly more satisfying, even if it is not clear how suffering makes anything right again. And more importantly, the atonement buffers the organization from possessing the cure. With Spiritual Parasites one might ask, "If you care about people, why don't you just innoculate everyone?" But with the atonement religions can say, "Sorry, we have no power to adjust the terms set by the one who suffered for your sins."

How are the testimonies for Christianity better than those for Spiritual Parasites? The purpose of a testimony is to make people feel like they are in good company when they put faith in a particular explanation. Do the testimonies for Christ accomplish this? You betcha. Is truth established through testimonies? Of course not, but that's not their point.

Tangentally, let us suppose that 100% of the scientists in the world said the Earth was flat. Would that make the Earth flat? Of course not! So, how are non-scientists supposed to know what is true, if not by accepting scientific consensus? Actually, that's a trick question. The very idea that people can know what is true from second-hand witnesses is inherently flawed. People who are not able to personally validate evidence cannot "know" what is true. All they can do is trust people who do that. (Of course, they could also choose to trust people who don't do that, who put faith in other people who put faith in other people, and so forth. But I think the prudence of that approach is self-evident. They could put faith in the people who taught them their feelings come from God. But there is no such thing as putting faith directly in God.)


Christianity exhibits many characteristics exhibited by scams. That doesn't mean Christianity is a scam. But I do think it is foolish to deliberately see only with biased eyes. If Christianity is not a scam, an explanation is needed for these uncanny similarities. Perhaps a satisfying explanation exists. If it does, I would really like to find it.