Friday, July 3, 2009

Turkish TV gameshow looks to convert atheists

Turkish TV gameshow looks to convert atheists

Fri Jul 3, 2009 8:21am EDT

By Daren Butler

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - What happens when you put a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk in a room with 10 atheists?

Turkish television station Kanal T hopes the answer is a ratings success as it prepares to launch a gameshow where spiritual guides from the four faiths will seek to convert a group of non-believers.

The prize for converts will be a pilgrimage to a holy site of their chosen religion -- Mecca for Muslims, the Vatican for Christians, Jerusalem for Jews and Tibet for Buddhists.

But religious authorities in Muslim but secular Turkey are not amused by the twist on the popular reality game show format and the Religious Affairs Directorate is refusing to provide an imam for the show.

"Doing something like this for the sake of ratings is disrespectful to all religions. Religion should not be a subject for entertainment programs," High Board of Religious Affairs Chairman Hamza Aktan told state news agency Anatolian after news of the planned program emerged.

The makers of "Penitents Compete" are unrepentant and reject claims that the show, scheduled to begin broadcasting in September, will cheapen religion.

"We are giving the biggest prize in the world, the gift of belief in God," Kanal T chief executive Seyhan Soylu told Reuters.

"We don't approve of anyone being an atheist. God is great and it doesn't matter which religion you believe in. The important thing is to believe," Soylu said.

The project focuses attention on the issue of religious identity in European Union-candidate Turkey, where rights groups have raised concerns over freedom of religion for non-Muslim minorities.

Detractors of the ruling AK Party government, which is rooted in political Islam but officially secular, accuse it of having a hidden Islamist agenda, a charge it denies.

Some 200 people have so far applied to take part in the show and the 10 contestants will be chosen next month.

A team of theologians will ensure that the atheists are truly non-believers and are not just seeking fame or a free holiday.

(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans)

Interesting game show idea. Maybe the US will have a version of this show before too long. I do like the oh-so-hokie quote from the guy who says that it doesn't matter which religion you follow, so long as you believe. What if my religion believes that gravity is nonsense and I jump off a building? (It doesn't, by the way).

The lesson in all of this: it is impossible to run out of reality show ideas.

Posted via web from Kev the Rev's posterous

23rd Psalm Video

I thought that this was a well done video for Psalm 23. I've seen plenty of cheesy ones, but this one I like. I don't know how well the music fits, but at least it isn't cheesy.

I found a neat explanation of each line of the Psalm at  I think it originally came from somewhere else, but here it is:  

The Lord is my Shepherd -- That's Relationship!

I shall not want -- That's Provision!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures -- That's Rest!

He leadeth me beside the still waters -- That's Refreshment!

He restoreth my soul -- That's Healing!

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness -- That's Guidance!

For His name sake -- That's Purpose!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death -- That's Testing!

I will fear no evil -- That's Faithfulness!

For Thou art with me -- That's Protection!

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me -- That's Discipline!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies -- That's Hope!

Thou annointest my head with oil -- That's Consecration!

My cup runneth over -- That's Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life -- That's Blessing!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord -- That's Security!

Forever -- That's Eternity!

Posted via web from Kev the Rev's posterous