The Marketing of Heaven and Hell

In the ever-impending battle between Christianity and Islam, I fear that one of Christianity’s marketing weaknesses may tip the scales. I refer to the religious product ‘Heaven.’ In Christianity, the Heaven sales pitch is lacking. I can attest after a strict Protestant upbringing, the product was never adequately sold to me. The details are all wrong—pearly gates, golden streets—you forget about such luxuries in a matter of days. But this is eternity. What do we do in Heaven? Worship God? Seems a little pointless. Christianity needs to fill this activity gap. Wisely Islam has taken this step. The idea of an instant sexual encounter with a gang of heavenly virgins is simply brilliant from a marketing standpoint. Islam’s Heaven is a fantasy realm, an eternity of wish-fulfillment where all become sultans. Protestant Heaven is more of a pious safety realm, not exactly inspiring. What calms me is the strength of the Protestant’s Hell pitch, which is brilliant down to its word invention—the gnashing of teeth. Ooooh! That ‘gnashing’ is the most horrifying word in the language. Dante’s benign levels do not inspire drastic life change, but the Protestant lake of fire -- a dungeon universe where billions and billions of sinners writhe in liquid fire screaming, choking, bleeding, wanting to die, but instead living on in ultimate misery -- that's real fear inspiration. Islam has no such Hell, but it has quite the Heaven, and Christianity should take note of my important marketing question: to what extent is our Heaven a land of action, action that a sinner human dreams of?

copyright 2006, by Christopher Duckett