January 31, 2006

The World's Second Smartest Atheist

Because I figure #1 would have to be Richard Dawkins or the Pope or Stalin or somebody:

This eBay auction was up to $172.50 at post time:

I'm a 22-year-old Atheist from Chicago. I stopped believing in God when I was 14. Currently, I am an active volunteer for a couple different national, secular organizations. For one of them, I am the editor of a newsletter that reaches over 1,000 Atheist/Agnostic college students. I have written several Letters to the Editor to newspapers in and around Chicago, espousing my Atheistic beliefs when Church/State issues arose. My point being that I don't take my non-belief lightly. However, while I don't believe in God, I firmly believe I would immediately change those views if presented with evidence to the contrary. And at 22, this is possibly the best chance anyone has of changing me.

So, here's my proposal. Everytime I come home, I pass this old Irish church. I promise to go into that church every day-- for a certain number of days-- for at least an hour each visit. For every $10 you bid, I will go to the Church for 1 day. For $50, you would have me going to mass every day for a week.

The emailed and posted questions and answers are a hoot, too, especially those that appear to ask/answer earnest questions about the offer up for bid.

Well, maybe it's not all that smart: I guess it's only ten dollars an hour. But that's more than I'm getting and I'm not even kidding. I would totally consider doing something like this myself if I could do it without leaving the house... What would be really interesting is an auction where someone offered to convert to the religion of the winner's choosing. Has anyone ever done this? Because it would be interesting to know the market value of such a thing. Well, kind of interesting. I didn't actually mean to say "really" there; it just slipped out.

(via Relapsed Catholic.)

UPDATE: the seller plans to chronicle his wild ride on a blog called ebayatheist.

Posted by Dr. Frank at January 31, 2006 08:55 AM | TrackBack

This is absurd because the auction is for only one person's faith. See, I would pay him to convert people to my faith and get some kind of a movement started - a set price per head.

What would be more interesting is knowing the cost of having a particular people adopt a certain faith, for instance Kuala Lumpur. How much it would cost to get this entire nation to convert to Zoroastrianism or (better yet) secular consumerism?


Posted by: Michael Haggerty at January 31, 2006 12:23 PM

I think the price of one convert is interesting enough, not that there's any chance whatsoever that this guys going to convert.

You've got to love the idea, though. Markets in everything. Brilliant.

Posted by: josh at January 31, 2006 01:18 PM

Let us examine the story of Simon the Sorcerer beginning at ACTS 7:9

ACTS 7:18
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostle's hands, he offered them money and said "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God."

You cannot buy faith.

Posted by: Zaphod at January 31, 2006 01:52 PM

it doesn't seem that the guy is selling his faith though, just his time, which is still a pretty interesting idea. could he walk away from a few weeks of mass with a new appreciation for religion? maybe, but i'm not counting on it.

Posted by: kendra at January 31, 2006 05:46 PM

Even past Zaphod's point, re. Conversion, how could you verify that they actually believed, rather than just pretended to?

After all, the point isn't generally to get the appearance of a convert, but the actuality of one. Normally this isn't a huge problem these days, as there's precious little incentive to pretend to convert, but with a little fiscal incentive...

Posted by: Sigivald at January 31, 2006 06:47 PM

...but he's not being paid to convert, just to attend.

Posted by: josh at January 31, 2006 07:09 PM

What? You're not getting paid to scour the web and deliver lovely little treasures like this one to your assorted devoted peoples? Oh, the inhumanity. I'd give you at least a buck for every link I follow based on your blurb about it.

Posted by: amber at January 31, 2006 08:13 PM

This reminds of a church I was in over the holidays in Rome. Apparently the lighting bill for having the spectacular ceiling frescoes illuminated all the live-long day was too much for the church to afford, so it was on a pay-as-you-go system. Pop in a Euro, the lights come on for a couple of minutes.

Of course, to me that seems like much better entertainment than forcing some smart-ass humanist to go to Mass.

Posted by: Wesley at January 31, 2006 09:49 PM

What a clever bastard!

Here are some direct quotes pulled from his Q and A section:

"the claim that Atheists worship money is absurd,..."

"Q: What truly caused you to do this?
A: To have people understand that Atheists don't need ulterior motives for doing positive things."

"Q: HI: I can't afford to be the top bidder in this, but I'm willing to PayPal you $10 to try out one of the 14 Unitarian-Universalist congregations in a 25-mile radius of downtown Chicago, Ill...
A: Hi, try to pool money together with other UU members! I'd gladly attend UUA functions."

Does he even smell his own shit? I wonder.

Posted by: chris riordan at February 4, 2006 02:06 AM

LOL. What an ingenious idea!

Posted by: human growth hormone at February 8, 2006 08:48 PM