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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Well, we can't show you what's behind door number three, but we have faith that it's awesome.""

For those of you who like "reality" shows, you may be interested to know that Turkey has just managed to one-up the U.S. for the title of dumbest reality show ever:*

In Penitents Compete (Tovbekarlar Yarisiyor in Turkish), religious leaders will seek to convert at least one of the 10 atheists in each episode to their faith. Those that crack will win a pilgrimage to the spiritual home of their newly chosen faith, Muslims will go to Mecca, Jews and Christians will go to Jerusalem and Buddhists will go to Tibet, the Guardian reports.

According to the show's slogans, contestants will also win "serenity" and "the biggest prize ever... the belief in God".

Um... right. The thing I most don't understand is the reward structure. The atheists "win" only if they convert, and even then they just get a religious field trip. The religious professionals, who are actually competing, "win" if they convert someone, but appear to get nothing as a prize. I mean, what do the atheists get if they don't convert? Is there a prize for that, like a chance to move to a country where this sort of shit doesn't happen?** And what if the atheist manages to convert one of the religious professionals, what then? Does the religious professional get a free trip to college?*** The kicker, though, is this:

However, the programme, which is scheduled to air in September, has been criticised by commentators and religious figures for trivialising God and faith.

Not for trivializing atheists and free-thought, mind you, but for trivializing god. I'm glad we really kept the focus on what's fucked up about this whole thing. Really.

* And yes, I include Age of Love in that.

** As a side issue, I'm not sure what country that would be. Maybe the U.K.?

*** To improve his rhetorical skills. Why? What did you think I was implying?

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