24 February 2008

How to Increase Your Church Membership

Many churches have been accepting from members gratuities in the form of "tithes," which pay for the gaining of new members who will in turn generate further "tithes." It's a pretty great system. Whether a part of a new church looking to expand, an old church looking to revitalize, or a middle-aged church thinking the red sports car might be a bit over the top (perhaps yellow is a better alternative?), you may be wondering how to most efficiently increase the funds your congregation receives.

Because religious literature is no longer trendy (remember, "literature" and "litter" both begin the same way), and religious torture frowned upon, churches like yours must begin to think creatively about how to grow your member base. Why not turn to the internet for some creative new ideas? What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the internet? Was it that dancing baby from the 90's? Let's try to top that.

What about pornography? It's wildly successful and popular with males of all ages, but especially those ages 18-35— a demographic most churches are missing out on. How can internet pornography help your church grow? What can it do to increase your members? Below is a veritable ménage à trois of methods inspired by internet pornography for increasing church membership.
  1. The Preview: Always allow prospective members an opportunity to preview what you have available, but never allow them immediate access to your best services. Perhaps try some kind of outreach— a thumbnail, if you will— to show what they're missing out on. The goal is to tease and entice until the prospective member commits— try to move them from mere attenders to members who in turn invite others to join.

  2. Emotions: Religious and pornographic institutions succeed by oversimplifying human emotions into two categories: elation and guilt. In both cases, elation— in the form of excitement or ecstasy or the promise thereof— is a lure which draws a new member in. Guilt keeps members returning for more. By making a member think poorly of themself, you'll be able to re-sell them on the renewed possibility of elation— just make sure the promise seems too good to be true so that guilt sets in again almost immediately.

  3. Isolation: Internet pornography is a private affair— and so should conversion be. Put the burden of conversion and membership solely on the individual. After all, it's not really the community's business. Make it about the sins and needs of the member, while implying that their culture and their surroundings— even friends and family— are ready to break in and interrupt their fantasy happiness. Thoughts that your church is the only place they could receive the elation promised above should be thoroughly encouraged.

The basic movement from non-member to "tither" is as follows: a prospective member is given a "preview," showing how great your church is, and hinting at the possibility of something even better for members. Upon making a commitment, a new member is given the promised elation— and the guilt of knowing they're far, far from real happiness and probably unworthy of whatever happiness they already have. The cycle of guilt and elation continues to aid in isolating the member, during which time they become ready to contribute "tithes" to bring more members to the church which is their sole source of happiness. And that's how your church can gain new members with the help of internet pornography.

17 February 2008

How to Take a Philosophy Class: Argumentation and Debate

Everyone thinks logic is pretty great, and if you don't, you're a turd. That's two free fallacies for you right there. No, I said fallacies. Put your pants back on.

Why is logic so good? Certainly not on its own inherent merits! The point of logic is to win arguments and debates. Everyone likes winning, and if you don't, you're a turd. Do you have some weird inferiority complex or something?

Like I said, logic is for winning and consequently holding it over the heads of your future discussants. Logic can be used not only in an one-on-one situation, but also in group arguments and mass debates. Mass, space, debates. Put your pants back on again.

How can you use logic to your advantage? Below are five great ways, from brutish to elegant, to assert your superiority and leave your interlocutors crying softly into their copies of the Organon.
  1. Ad Hominem Abusive: Aggressive and overt, ad hominem abusive is exactly what it sounds like. Your opponent says something about Michael Jackson's Thriller that you don't like? Just throw down a snarky remark on the arguer's inability to, for example, grow their own hair or read beyond a third grade level. By attacking them personally, you show just how dumb their argument really is.

  2. Argumentum Ad Populum: Having trouble keeping down your child's burgeoning mental capabilities? Need to market a lousy product so your boss doesn't beat you with a riding crop? Want votes and support from thoughtless, allegedly law-abiding citizens? Simply slap down the appropriate variety of argumentum ad populum and watch the magic happen. By appealing alternately to authority, the masses, or tradition— imaginary or otherwise— you guarantee that your upstart opponent will find no recourse but to fall in line with what everyone already agrees is right.

  3. Equivocation: If you can't use one of the more straightforward tactics listed above, using equivocation is better than nothing. But, nothing is better than simply punching your opponent in the nose to shut them up. Which means, of course, that equivocation is better than punching your opponent in the face. Do you see what I just did there? I exploited variations in meaning to convince you that equivocation is better than punching your opponent in the face. Really, it's not, just get in a good one then run like hell.

  4. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc and Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc: These subtly related methods— both non sequiturs— can be used to easily confuse and mislead an opponent, perhaps so you can land that left hook. Post hoc ergo propter hoc (or, pheph) requires a chronological assumption of causality, while cheph is a bit more free-wheeling in regards to the space-time continuum. This tactic can be used on it's own, such as, "Tommy wailed on the guitar and the puppy died, so Tommy is a puppy-killer." More fun, however, is in combination with ad hominem abusive, such as "Tammy got lupus after she started going out with Steve, therefore Steve is a disease-ridden douche-chill. Steve."

  5. Begging the Question: This is hands-down the best way to win a debate, and has nothing to do with raising questions. Suppose I beg the question while I'm arguing. Obviously, I'm in arguing right now. That just shows you how well begging the question works. Not only did I just win that argument, I probably also blew your mind. Your mind. For the last time, please keep your pants on.

With all the new knowledge and important life-skills you've just learned, you must wonder why I'd share what must surely be treasured wisdom with a bunch of hoopleheads like yourselves. The answer is simple. I'm just that great of a guy. Anybody who says otherwise is going to get clocked. No, clocked, like punched. With a fist. In the face. Seriously, friend, we're going to have to staple those to your waist or something.

05 February 2008

How to Raise Healthy Children

So, you've managed— despite what some might have deemed insurmountable defects in your personality— to pass on a bit of your genetic code. Good for you!

If you're an American, however, and haven't yet aborted or abandoned that little twinkling pulp of possibility, you may notice something strange about your child. Why does their glowing potential (along with most of the rest of them) look so tubby? They could grow up to be anything, even President (OK, probably not President), but not looking like that.

Oh no! It looks like your child has a disease called obesity. Don't worry, it's probably not your fault. But you are going to want to take steps to help your child become more healthy. Puberty will be sufficiently awkward and embarrassing without the quadruple bypass scar.

Obesity is definitely something to panic about. In fact, take a couple of minutes to freak out completely. We'll wait.

All set? Now you're ready for the good news. Meatiocrity (mmm, meat...) is here to help with three simple steps to aid your child's fight against obesity. They'll feel better and so will you when you discover you'll get repress the full measure of their self-worth.

  1. Involve them in as many things as possible. Try music lessons, sports, political involvement, volunteering, mining, or any number of self-esteem boosting activities. You'll have to run around to get to everything, and running is exercise, and exercise helps fight obesity.

  2. Make sure they are reaching their full potential. Your child may say they don't like all the things you've signed them up for. Don't let them get discouraged! Only by ceaselessly nagging them about being the best will they work hard enough to resent you for the rest of their lives. The point is, they should be working hard for your approval, because hard work is exercise, and exercise helps fight obesity.

  3. Treat them like the entitled little prince or princess they are. That's right! With all your pushing and prodding, your kids deserve both the newest gaming console and that third ice cream sandwich. Give in to all their tantrums, which are only expressions of their own confidence— an attitude you'll want to help develop to aid in the fight against obesity. Let them walk all over you. After all, walking is exercise, and exercise helps fight obesity.

With a triple dose of exercise, your child's obesity doesn't stand a chance. It may be difficult and stressful, but pressure often makes things smaller (like self-esteem!) and an important study which we'll be able to pay off in 2023 has shown that stress burns calories. Remember, your child is worth it, and they can't make you look good if they're not looking their best.