Measured Against Reality

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Second Coming Insurance

Here’s some more strange religion news. Three Scottish sisters were apparently quite worried about being the next virgin Mary, so they asked for, and received, second coming insurance. Britishinsurance.com provided the coverage, which was a one-million pound premium for a hundred pounds a year.

Unfortunately for the sisters (or for the company, depending on your view) the Catholic church got mad about this, caused a big raucous, and made the company cancel the insurance. Apparently they’re the only ones that can rip off gullible Catholics.

I don’t see why the church got angry. If these girls are worried about having to pay for “caring and bringing up the Christ”, then why not let them squander a few hundred pounds a year? They approached the company, it’s not like someone took advantage of them.

Which brings up an interesting question: at what point is someone taking advantage of religious people by appealing to their beliefs? Actively seeking people for this kind of insurance seems like it would be. But then again, you’re not really doing anything wrong by saying “I’ll give you a million dollars if you end up giving birth to Christ 2.0 if you give me a hundred dollars a year.” Any sane person would know that it’s not going to happen.

And let’s not forget that there’s an entire industry dedicated to this, it’s called “Alternative Medicine”, which is code for “Placebo”. Many different companies sell many different products that promise many different effects, almost none of which have been proven, and many have been conclusively disproved. Not too many people object to this practice, at least until it starts to hurt people (which it does).

I don’t see religion as a whole lot different. It promises a bunch of great-sounding stuff, offers no evidence for most of it, and demands a whole bunch of money in return, and can really hurt people (think refusing medical care for religious reasons). I know, that’s a cynical oversimplification, but it’s not always far off. If conventional religion can get away with taking money from believers, why not con-artists? Is it really that different if the con-artist and the mark believe the same things? I’m not so sure.

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1 Comments:

  • You should at least try to be fair. Religous people want to be taken advantage of, because they have abdicated all sense of personal responsibility.

    Moreover, alternative medicine isn't all hype either. To be fair, modern medicine kills many thousands and thousands every year (look it up), certainly no worse then alternative medicine.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:16 PM, November 04, 2006  

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