Aug 29, 2009

Evaluating God?

Have you recently eaten at a restaurant at which a waitperson URGED you to take a “customer satisfaction survey” so that “Outback” or “Blimpie’s” could better serve you? Sure they offer a large drink if you do so. Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes this serving mentality is annoying—especially when the humanoid who is doing the urging also promises to give you computer lessons because doing it on line is so much quicker. What is quicker is a paper shredder!

Some best know the name Ludwig Feuerbach for his criticism of Idealism and religion, especially Christianity. Feuerbach held that humankind was not made in God’s image as we are used to reading in the biblical book of Genesis. Rather, Feuerbach believed that God was created in humankind’s image. He wrote that “Religion is the dream of the human mind. But even in dreams we do not find ourselves in emptiness or in heaven, but on earth, in the realm of reality; we only see real things in the entrancing splendor of imagination and caprice, instead of in the simple daylight of reality and necessity.” Thus, Feuerbach became an intellectual forerunner to Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Marx, and Nietzsche.

Why all this verbiage about Professor Feuerbach? The verbiage about Professor Feuerbach comes about because today I saw a church’s (tongue-in-cheek) attempt at better “customer relations.” What I saw was a survey from one of my colleagues titled “To Better Serve You . . . ‘Please Evaluate God.’ ”

Among the questions: “How did you find out about God?” followed by 18 options including the newspaper, Dead Sea Scrolls, and a burning bush. The evaluation sheet has ten different kinds of “customer satisfaction survey-type” questions, many of which are very funny. My favorite questions were number six which asked the respondent: “Have you ever worshipped a false God before? If so, which false God were you fooled by? Please check all that apply [12 choices plus other].”

Yet this tongue-in-cheek survey does point out that in many people’s faith pilgrimage we pray to God that we want “to have it our way” [Burger King]. Do we simply consume God like we do a “Blimpie slow-cured ham, prosciuttini, pepperoni, provolone, roasted red peppers and creamy Italian dressing Meatball Parmigiana hot sub on ciabatta bread?”

PS. When was the last time you saw Blimpie and Ludwig Feuerbach in the same article?


Mark Andrew Pope said...

Aside from making me hungry for a "Blimpie" sandwich - which, by the way, I've never had, so, good marketing, Mosser! - I think this entry points out what is ever prevalent in a lot of churches these days. A marketing culture that offers a buffet of belief and styles creating what is, essentially, a nice social club filled with people of similar tastes and backgrounds that also somehow reassures us that not only will we get to heaven, but it will likely be as homogenous as our worshipping body. Or, perhaps I overstate it... But, either way, I think you're safe to assume that Blimpie usually doesn't end up in articles with most German philosophers...

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