Kneel on the Bottom Line
March 30, 2006 2:56 PM   Subscribe

God ... to get paid. Does doubling your church (temple, mosque, buddhist shrine, wiccan house of worship, etc.) attendence really lead to an increase in your income? Or someone elses? Let the causation/correlation games continue.
posted by scblackman (14 comments total)
someone elses
posted by MetaMonkey at 2:58 PM on March 30, 2006

Thanks - caffeine tremor made me bust the 2nd link.
posted by scblackman at 2:59 PM on March 30, 2006

Jesus wept.
posted by Jimbob at 3:05 PM on March 30, 2006

If I'm reading the article right, he's found that living among your "co-religionists" makes you more likely to go to church, and more likely to be rich, than religious minorities of otherwise similar demographics.

In other words, belonging to a large and thriving congregation has economic benefits as well as social ones. Sounds much less shocking when you put it that way, doesn't it? Most of my churchgoing friends, at one point or another, have gotten a job, a client, or a good deal through someone they met at church.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:10 PM on March 30, 2006

Yikes! And I thought I was moneygrubbing when I added an Amazon-linked bookstore to my church's site.

It's funny, I was just reading last night about not using the traditional methods to discern your ministry. The idea was that Jenny might be a CPA, so she automatically gets pegged as church treasurer, but maybe God is calling her to do something else in her church life, like visit shut-ins or teach Sunday School. Maybe Jim, the artsy-fartsy guy, would be a better Treasurer. There was no mention in the article of ditching the volunteers from the laity and bringing on the MBAs instead. Which is why my church still has a soul.
posted by Biblio at 3:14 PM on March 30, 2006

From the second article: The wonderfully named Creflo Dollar, chief pastor of World Changers Church International in Georgia, drives a Rolls-Royce and travels in a Gulfstream jet. Joyce Meyer, who promises that God rewards people with his blessings, counts among her own blessings a $2m home and a $10m jet.

<rhetorical>So, why are churches still tax exempt, again?</rhetorical>
posted by Feral at 3:27 PM on March 30, 2006

One step closer to Snow Crash-Reverend Wayne's Pearly Gates, anyone?
posted by scrump at 3:32 PM on March 30, 2006

imply that doubling church attendance raises someone's income by almost 10%

Hey, that's the customary tithe. So it's a wash then - the extra earnings allegedly gained by going to church are exactly what you are expected to pay the church. They may not be gaining anything, but at least all the religious are losing is a couple hours on Sunday. . . and, of course, hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of brain cells.
posted by dgaicun at 3:48 PM on March 30, 2006

I strongly suspect, and they talk about this in the article, that it's the social network part, not the religion part, that matters. Wealth is generated when objects move from a place they're not needed to a place they are.

This applies both on the large scale (mass production of clothing in China) to the small scale (neighborhood exchanges.) That spare pair of boots in your closet might be just the thing Joe in the congregation could use to do his construction job better; maybe he'll fix up your house a little in exchange. You're both a little richer than you were for the trade.

Additionally, local bartering may account for a great deal of the extra-wealth effect (which isn't that large).... folks rarely report barter exchanges to the IRS, removing a 30%+ tax load on the transaction. (illegal, but extremely common.)

To support the idea that it's RELIGION rather than NETWORKING that matters, they'd need to study close-knit social groups that aren't based on religion, and see if there's a difference. My personal hypothesis is that the difference would likely be too small to measure... I think it's the group, not Jesus. :)
posted by Malor at 3:53 PM on March 30, 2006

dgaicun: Actually, they'd be losing 1%. 1 * (1+.1) * (1 - .1) = .99
posted by mullacc at 3:53 PM on March 30, 2006

Er, '... applies from the large scale to the small scale'.... I did just enough editing to screw that sentence up completely. Sorry!
posted by Malor at 3:56 PM on March 30, 2006

Also, did they compare secular people involved in habitual organizational behavior (book clubs, environmental groups, political campaign efforts) vs. secular people who didn't participate in such cooperative efforts? I thought not. It seems likely to me that people who have the personal competence for social organization and that choose to get up on the weekend instead of sleeping in (for whatever reason), have significantly more human capital than people that don't. Atheists are about 1% of the population, who wants to bet that they have less education and income than the average churchy?
posted by dgaicun at 3:59 PM on March 30, 2006

One step closer to Snow Crash-Reverend Wayne's Pearly Gates, anyone?

Or perhaps Fosterites.
posted by A dead Quaker at 4:46 PM on March 30, 2006

I hope they invest all that money in camel threading technology...
posted by Skwirl at 1:07 AM on March 31, 2006

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