People are stupid.
May 20, 2001 1:35 PM   Subscribe

People are stupid. No, wait, stop, what I meant to say is, The Prayer of Jabez is the best-selling book in the US! [NYT link] (Europeans, don't laugh, it'll happen to you too.) You can buy mugs, plaques, t-shirts. I think Reverend Ike would approve. But do people actually believe in it?
posted by rodii (31 comments total)
Matt: Looks like the backdoor isn't 100% reliable.
posted by waxpancake at 1:55 PM on May 20, 2001

It is a prayer which asks for personal fulfillment. "Expand my coast." Its a self-fulfilling cause.

I've always thought that prayer should be for peace on earth, good health for yourself and others, a general well being. If you believe in prayer (note: i don't), then isn't it wrong to ask god for things for yourself instead of the making of the world better.
posted by benjh at 2:08 PM on May 20, 2001

Remember when this guy said that a way to prevent rape is to say 'yes'? He's an idiot, and worse off, so is everyone else. Except me, the smartest person in the world. Yep.
posted by tiaka at 2:29 PM on May 20, 2001

Wait until next week, when the #1 book will be by Mick Foley. Which will be his second NYT #1 bestseller.

And yes, of course people believe in it. If they had any sense, there would be no cults. And half the Arab world wouldn't be under the thumb of religious clerics. And all of Europe wouldn't have been under the thumb of the Catholic Church for hundreds of years. And on and on.
posted by aaron at 3:19 PM on May 20, 2001

From the Preface:
"Want a bigger vision for your life?" he had asked earlier that week? "Sign up to be a gimper for God."

A gimper? Like in "Pulp Fiction"? "Bring out the gimp"? Ving Rhames' worst nightmare? As Sam Jackson's Jules Winnfield said, "I am a vengeful God!" You betcha.
posted by mapalm at 3:38 PM on May 20, 2001

Am I only one who sees "Prayer of Jabez" and reads "Prayer of Jebus"?

Save Me Jebus!
posted by dweingart at 4:00 PM on May 20, 2001

This link is on the little "From the Editor" that pops up on Compuserve when you log on. They have a lot of, how shall I say, "fundamentalist" links regarding religion. Does anyone know who the Editor for CS' page is, and what their affiliation, if any, is?
posted by Kevs at 4:26 PM on May 20, 2001

No, you really meant "people are stupid," rodii. "The Prayer of Jabez is the best-selling book in the US!" is just a rephrasing of the same general idea.
posted by kindall at 5:21 PM on May 20, 2001

What the hell is it? That is the worst product-pushing site I've ever seen. I read the whole site and still don't know anything about the book.

Of course, maybe that's intentional...
posted by rushmc at 5:37 PM on May 20, 2001

rushmc: this book will actually help you to brainwash small children who have been traumatized by seeing mice! I'll take two!
posted by jpoulos at 6:43 PM on May 20, 2001

Man, Jesus must be rolling in his grave.
posted by chino at 7:00 PM on May 20, 2001

Great. Sound bite religion. Just what we needed.
posted by solistrato at 7:06 PM on May 20, 2001

Jesus must be rolling in his grave.

I forsee a solution to the entire California power crisis, if only we can implement it quickly enough!
posted by kindall at 7:52 PM on May 20, 2001

As if we needed any more proof on MeFi these days that people will believe the most ridiculous stuff because it's simple and speaks to "their hearts"...
posted by m.polo at 7:59 PM on May 20, 2001

Solistrato: "Catchphrase Christianity", the MeFi euphemism of chioce. Or maybe just mine, heh.
posted by Kevs at 8:21 PM on May 20, 2001

Next step, electric monks.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:13 PM on May 20, 2001

"And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested." [KJV]

That's the whole damned prayer. A guy named Jabez asked God to bless him and "enlarge his coast" and so on. Well, apparently Jabez was "more honorable than his brethren," so "God granted him that which he requested." More "coast" [territory] and the like.

The End

If you're the type who needs it spelled out, here's this Wilkinson guy's thesis: if you're good and ask God for stuff, you'll get it. Cash and things. Presumably the guys who previously owned that extra chunk of coast Jabez got weren't so honorable when compared to their brethren. Or they just forgot to ask God to let them keep it.

That's why so many Americans are snapping up this crap; they're dying for an excuse to be acquisitive.

Christians! What a wacky bunch!
posted by pracowity at 2:43 AM on May 21, 2001


posted by Opus Dark at 2:48 AM on May 21, 2001 [1 favorite]

pracowity: Christians! What a wacky bunch!

Don't do us Christians the disservice of lumping us together with this crackpot. The Bible Code was a NYT best-seller as well, and the majority of Christianity gave it the (zero) creedence it deserved.
posted by Danelope at 3:08 AM on May 21, 2001

That story about the mice is amazing!

I especially admired the way it began like a Penthouse letter - and then went off in a radically new direction.
posted by Mocata at 4:00 AM on May 21, 2001

> Don't do us Christians the disservice of lumping us
> together with this crackpot.

I was talking about the people who are buying it, most of them probably Christian and all of them interested in finding a loophole in that warning from Jesus that "it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." [KJV]
posted by pracowity at 4:48 AM on May 21, 2001

That site is straight out of Chuck Palahniuk's novel Survivor, I swear. Why is so much of "popular" Christianity as scripted as the WWF?
posted by lia at 5:24 AM on May 21, 2001

God fixed this guy's car. This guy got a secular tax rebate. This person got a divine tax rebate - and their dog was cured of cancer.

I really, really admire the way they begin like Penthouse letters ('I had been faithfully praying Jabez's prayer. Little did I know that very soon my territory was to be TRULY enlarged!!').
posted by Mocata at 5:56 AM on May 21, 2001

Come to think of it, my coast could use a little expansion . . .

Actually, a more powerful prayer is "all your coast are belong to us." Chant this every day.
posted by Outlawyr at 6:18 AM on May 21, 2001

'Will you join me for a personal exploration of Jabez?
I hope you will!
Bruce H. Wilkinson'

Kinky, kinky stuff.
posted by Mocata at 6:22 AM on May 21, 2001

The first chapter is great! 'Lord, I think I want to be a gimper for you, I prayed as I looked out the window at the blustery spring rain. [...] What sentence has revolutionized by life the most? The cry of a gimper named Jabez.'
posted by Mocata at 6:30 AM on May 21, 2001

I had connected successfully from my room earlier to check e-mail, but this time my computer WOULD NOT connect to the Internet. I attempted again and again, but to no avail. I began to realize what was going on and I got on my knees and thanked the Lord for taking away my access to that material. It was only later, after reassuring God that I was only going to connect to check e-mail again that I was able to connect and send you this message.

bwahahahaha! this stuff is hilarious!

and how about the one in which the woman left her family because it's what God wanted? so much for that whole lifetime union thing.
posted by tolkhan at 9:50 AM on May 21, 2001

Just my usual $.02 worth....

I find nothing wrong with asking for God's blessings. However, it shouldn't be, "Me, me, me" all the time. We need to think of God first.

I think that a better prayer to follow is the Lord's prayer. It declares God's sovereignty. It also asks for blessings ("Give us this day, our daily bread") but that isn't the whole context of the message. It gives glory to God, and it puts our own needs in its proper context.

Hasta luego,
posted by Redgie at 1:10 AM on May 22, 2001

We need to think of God first.

LOLOL This continues to be the most hilarious thread on MeFi in AGES!
posted by rushmc at 10:48 AM on May 22, 2001

Gee, thanks. Actually, I was being serious.

(wondering if she should be concerned)

posted by Redgie at 10:51 AM on May 22, 2001

I think the idea of praying to get something is dumb, but I'm generally flamed for saying so. Like saying "so-and-so is sick, everyone pray for her so she gets better." Like God is keeping tally of how many people pray for her. It makes the universe a popularity contest. We have enough of that already, I'd hope God would be immune.

Besides, traditionally, I don't think it's God that gives you wealth and power in exchange for your loyalty. I think that's another supernatural being... who was it, again? Oh yeah, Satan.
posted by dagnyscott at 11:26 AM on May 22, 2001

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