Holy water

I didn’t think it was possible, but the bottled water situation just got more ridiculous. Bottled waters claiming to originate from mountain springs on foreign horizons are sold at a premium every day. Now you can buy holy water, blessed by a priest in Southern California. I’ll give Christians this – they know a good business opportunity when they see it. The bottled water market is very profitable.

The target market of this product isn’t limited to the thirsty and pious. Evidently, some buyers plan to bless their house, personal belongings, and work items. But be careful to read the warning label before using. Is it the standard “Don’t spray windex in your eye”? Or the ever-present “may cause nausea, vomiting, sleeplessness, and in some cases, death”? No, in this case sinners and evil-doers are singled-out and warned to expect a litany of plagues including, but not limited to, rashes, burning, bloodshot eyes, itchiness, and vomiting.

Now, I thought all humans were sinners and evildoers, which was the whole point of Jesus dying to save our sorry asses. So does the warning apply to all humankind? If not, they need to have their lawyer to revise the content to specify that only those sinners and evildoers who are NOT in any way redeemed by Christ may experience the side effects. I also recommend mentioning that consumption of holy water results in a particularly swift and severe reaction in vampires. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Evidently the water is a hit, as evidenced by the 3,000 bottles sold in the first quarter. (Sounds to me like they budgeted with low expectations, but that’s besides the point.) Critics ask how consumers will know that the water was truly blessed by a preist. Brian Germann, pioneer of the holy water movement, answers, ” I guess you would have to have a little bit of faith.” At least he knows his target audience.

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  1. So last August I was walking across campus and the Campus Christian Fellowship was passing out free bottles of water with their information printed on the label. I'm not religious but only a fool passes up free cold water on a hot day so I took it, and choked on the first sip. Divine intervention? No. Ironically funny? Yup.

  2. Now, I thought all humans were sinners and evildoers, which was the whole point of Jesus dying to save our sorry asses.

    There's your trouble. You're trying to look at it rationally. It's almost as if you expect religious fanatics to be consistent or something. Don't be silly. That's never going to happen.

    Consider the lengths they go to in the gospels to try to show that Joseph, Mary's husband, was descended from David, as the Old Testament prophecy demanded of the true messiah, only to screw up the whole story by claiming that he was the son of God, not Joseph, after all.

    They just can't keep their stories straight.

  3. Want to believe in God? Now you can! Instantly!

    That's very funny, but it raises an important point. Many years ago, my two closest friends were born-again Christians, and they got together and tried to convert me. After listening to them for a couple of hours, I had to tell them that they hadn't persuaded me, and I didn't think they ever could, because what they were telling me simply didn't make sense. I couldn't just will myself to believe what they were telling me; I could only truly believe something if I honestly felt, in my heart and my mind, that it were true, and I just didn't feel that way about what they were saying to me.

    I went on to ask them why, if it were essential to my salvation to believe, God had created my mind in such a way as to make it impossible for me to do so. They said that it was only my stubbornness that was making it impossible, but I pointed out that I never made a choice to be stubborn. God must have made me that way. They didn't want to accept that, so I pointed out that God made geese with the ability to fly south, because if they couldn't, they would freeze to death. God cares about His creation; he doesn't want geese to suffer and die, so he makes sure that every goose is born with the ability to fly south and the knowledge of when to do it. (I was still somewhat religious at the time, so I wasn't being disingenuous.)

    So here's the kicker: If God cares enough about the death and suffering of every goose that He makes sure they are all born knowing how to fly south for the winter, why didn't He show the same concern for my immortal soul and make sure that I was born believing in Him? If it was really important, I shouldn't even have to choose–geese don't have to choose to fly south. Why would God leave something so important to chance and, in my case at least, strongly stacked the deck against me?

    There's probably a theological answer to that somewhere, but my friends couldn't come up with one.

  4. Buck Fuddy: why didn’t He show the same concern for my immortal soul and make sure that I was born believing in Him?

    Umm…because maybe humans aren't "perfect" and humans created the idea of God or gods?* At least as I haven't been given a good reason to think otherwise…still waiting…waiting…for Godot?

    (I know that was a rhetorical question.)

    *If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But

    the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an

    underachiever. ~ Woody Allen

  5. I'm not convinced that this is not tongue in cheek…especially the warning label. Yeah, I know, fundies are often brilliant unintentional self-parodies, but my BS antenna is up on this one.

  6. TheCzech,

    I agree – the label has to be a gimmick – they can't seriously claim to separate the sinners from the saints with their water. "They'll know we are Christians by our love – no wait – our lack of rashes." But the guy is seriously claiming that the water has been blessed by a priest* (thanks Bjornar…long day yesterday) and he's seriously making money on it.

  7. Since everybody is a sinner, they're basically selling poison. Christians claim that Jesus is the only non-sinner, so I guess they're buying this stuff in case The King of Kings comes over to their Superbowl party and gets thirsty.

  8. OK, am I the only warped SOB who immediately thought about adding some chemical to this water to make it induce a mild (or strong) burning sensation? I mean, as has already been noted, we are ALL sinners! I have no problem imagining someone deciding that this would make a good wake up call to get people to wake up and be "saved"! Given that bottled water drinkers have always seemed to me to be a tad bit gullible anyway, this seems like a great recruiting tool for the evangelicals.

    And now, for obvious legal reasons, I hereby note that I am NOT recommending this action and deny ANY responsibility if someone decides to go ahead and do it anyway!

  9. "If God cares enough about the death and suffering of every goose that He makes sure they are all born knowing how to fly south for the winter, why didn’t He show the same concern for my immortal soul and make sure that I was born believing in Him?"

    Basic Christian Answer, translated: Because We Were BAD! Actually, Eve was bad and she made Adam bad and because of that we're all BAAAD until we 'fess up our sins and get punished and give our hearts to Jezus.

    Unfortunately, that's just about the level of our psychology that religion operates on….

  10. Ah, yes, what’s that called again? Poe’s law?
    There’s no religious satire that couldn’t be (and probably will be by someone at some point) mistaken for the real thing if not for the use of smilies or similar indications of tongue-in-cheek.

    Something like that anyway.

  11. “…and he’s seriously making money on it.”

    And there you have distilled the story down to its essential nature. The biggest force at work here is not religion, it is commerce. So the question is what market segment is he tapping? Is it a bunch of clueless religious people with broken irony detectors or people jumping on a fad bandwagon who are in on the joke?

  12. SteveT, I'm not sure who the intended target audience for this product are, but I bet they'd be fundies. So adding something that causes a burning sensation (capsaicine?) would be a tremendous wake-up call to many holier-than-thou fundie bible-thumpers. Perhaps it would take their attention away frtom other for a while. Perhaps long enough to fix some of the damage they've done so far …

  13. So if I drink that water and none of the effects happen to me, then I am not a sinner?


    Adding capsaicine to holy water. Why had I not thought of that, it's genius!

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