Madison Avenue Jesus

Man, the ads we get here at FtB. My understanding is that the service that places these things gets progressively better at targeting them to the reader audience over time. I continue to hope that’s true. If the whole thing works on nothing but keywords, and if atheist bloggers frequently mention worship and God and Jesus – in the making of jokes if nothing else – then readers here will have to grin and bear a LOT of ads that should rightly be targeted at the goddy. We’re like a Jewish site that deals with Holocaust issues getting ads from skinhead clubs because the words “swastika” and “Hitler” come up frequently.  

Perfect example: The Christian Prayer Center ad on my home page yesterday.

You fill out an online form, give a single click, and “thousands” of prayer warriors spring into action, clenching their fists as they fire potent prayers skyward. God leaps off his throne in an electric frenzy, peers intently down and shouts the magic word “Alla-Shazam!” and healing, money, and better parenting skills shower down on the needy. (These are all verbatim, by the way, so don’t blame me for any typos.)

I wanted to thank you all for all the prayers you have sent up to our savior. My husband was very sick. I took him in to have surgery. Soon afterwards they came back into the room loudly saying we don’t operate on people who have nothing wrong. He was healed, praise God! ~Debra D.

Yeah, like that really happened.


The Lord made my HIV test NEGATIVE!! Praise our God for giving me a second chance at life! Thank you Lord! You are loving and compassionate! ~Santos M., Bonifay, FL

Can’t figure out if this person is saying that his HIV status miraculously reversed, or if he took the test and was happy to discover he wasn’t infected.


I went grocery shopping and I used most of my money to buy groceries. Prior to me leaving I saw and had the urge to buy a $7.00 lotto ticket and I won $100. I left with more money then I came with and has groceries. ~Mary C., Lexington, KY

Lottery tickets and Jesus! Double win — It’s like getting twice the fleece from the same sheep!


Thank you. Your prayers worked! My sister finally came home to her children and she’s agreed to give up her bad lifestyle and care for her kids. ~Jessica P., Miami, FL

See? Better parenting skills. Toldja.


I requested a prayer for my house not to go on foreclosure and God stopped it for happening. Amen, and be sure to thank all the prayer warriors who were on my side. ~Jose M., Bakersfield, CA

There seem to be several of these mortgage-related prayer stories, and they make me sad on two levels.


My grand niece tried to commit suicide using Tylenol PM. While she was under its influence she saw dead people and was terrified. Her stomach was pumped and was given medication to counter the effects. I submitted a prayer request and we saw daily improvement and absolutely no liver or kidney damage. She is back to her bouncy 15 year old self. We took her to Hawaii and she is making futures for her future. Praise God, He answers prayers!  ~Christie K., Dillon, CO

I hate it when you try to commit suicide and end up seeing scary dead people. But I guess on the plus side, you get to make futures for your future.


Thank you for all those who prayed for me!!! GOD was so good that He extended my unemployment benefits! I know if He can do this small things, He can do so much more. ~Pam M.

God can’t heal amputees, but he’s a whiz at making government programs work for you.

For this last testimonial, call to mind a California Gold Rush story where Dishonest John buys a played-out gold mine, goes in and “salts” it with gold nuggets, and then sells it to a gullible investor. The smell of gold practically hits you in the face:

You guys are amazing! Thank you for making a format for something as often underrated as a prayer request. The sheer humility and subsequent relief and acceptance that a matter so personal, so near and dear to the human heart, is relinquished to a greater arena and uplifted to The Lord God Almighty is sublime and wonderous, powerful and moving, motivating and humbling. It opens the door for The Spirit of God, yes The Holy Spirit to access, to gain entry to the heart and soul of everyone involved! That means everybody! You, John Carlson, and everyone at the Christain prayer Center, and yes, people like me who are broken hearted and down. ~Kathy L.

Short Stack #23
Catholic Church Flexing Muscle in U.S. Hospitals
Carrie Underwood Click-Bait. Meh.
Beta Culture: Being Grownups on Planet Earth
  • Coragyps

    I’m pretty sure that this is the same place that has an ad with a cute little 7-year-old girl in a cute little sundress and some absofrigginlutely bizarre swan wings. With her head bowed in prayer, or maybe in terminal embarassment.

    What’s that Oscar Wilde line about “only a man with a heart of stone could read it without laughing?”

  • geocatherder

    And yet, I can remember my younger self, before I ventured on the road to atheism, believing that any good outcome must have God behind it somehow, and every bad outcome must be because of my personal failing, whether it be spiritual or functional. (I suffered from untreated depression then.)

    It’s so seductively comforting to believe some deity is actively participating in your life, making things better for you. You have to be careful to not think too hard about the questions this situation offers, though. The biggest question is, why doesn’t God make everything easy? Being depressed, I handled that by dwelling on my own failure; I’m sure healthier people have different ways of handling it. The nastiest question is, why does God make my life okay while ignoring all those suffering people who are just as dedicated to him as I am? Think about that one too much and you may just find yourself taking your first step down the path to atheism.

  • Jim

    I love all the bible and prayer adds. It warms my heart to think of all those christian organizations paying for all these atheist blogs.

  • Kevin

    And I keep wondering — who’s paying for all this?

    What’s their dodge? You send in a prayer request and then face a lifetime of inbound e-mails asking you for contributions?

    Somewhere behind the curtain is someone who is making a living doing this. I just can’t figure out how.

    And…of course…I find it highly suspicious that they don’t identify who these “prayer warriors” are. Thousands? Why thousands? I thought that individual prayers were supposed to work. At most “when two or three are gathered together in his name…” Thousands? That’s fishy in and of itself.

  • Jeff Sherry

    This poo goes back at least 2 decades before the internet. My mother’s mother used to pay some catholic nunnery to say prayers for our family. Never understood it and never saw how it made anyones life better, other than the nuns.

  • Stevarious

    And…of course…I find it highly suspicious that they don’t identify who these “prayer warriors” are. Thousands? Why thousands?

    You are thinking way harder about this than anyone who has ever actually clicked on one of those ads.

    Look. Thousands is more than two or three, therefore, more better. And ‘Prayer Warriors’ is all the identification needed – after all, we’re ALL brothers in christ and why would I be suspicious of my brother?

    Somewhere behind the curtain is someone who is making a living doing this. I just can’t figure out how.

    If there’s actually more than two or three people behind the scam, I’ll eat my shirt. At most, they’ve got some big megachurch that the pastor says ‘and pray for all the people on the Christian Prayer Request network’ at the end of every sermon in return for a weekly cut of the profits. All they need is a couple dozen prayer requests a day and they make bank, and all they need is a computer and internet access to make it happen. Their biggest expense is probably closing the company and making a new one every year, and paying off that pastor.

    If I ever decide to turn evil, this is the kind of scam I’ll be running.

  • AJS

    Well, I see no advertisements! But then again, I block every advertisement server that tries to peddle its unwanted, overpriced wares to me, and I have no compunction about it whatsoever. Look, it’s my screen, and my decision what gets shown on it or not. So I have my own copy of BIND, running on my own hardware; and I figure it’s up to nobody but me whether or not it tells the truth. And everytime I find a new advertisement server, I create a new named.conf entry pointing to a bogus zone file. As far as my LAN is concerned, vast swathes of the Internet simply don’t exist.

    If you are one of the parasites who make your money out of trying to show people advertisements, look at it this way. If I see your advertisement, I am going to avoid your product out of sheer bloody-mindedness (and you don’t know the half of just how bloody my mind can get). Therefore, if I have successfully blocked advertisements for what you are selling, there remains a small but finite probability of my buying what you’re selling.

  • paul

    The very same Christian Prayer Center has an ad on this entry as I read it now. Did you include it as an illustration, or is this just their week?

  • jaycee

    I can has groceries too?

  • bahrfeldt

    You get money if I click the ad. You’re welcome.

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    The same people who tell us that The Big Guy In The Sky™ has “a plan” also tell us if you whine at TBGITS™ enough, he’ll change his plan. Unless, of course, you’re an amputee. TBGITS™ ignores prayers from amputees.

    • Hank Fox

      Heh. For about the past 15 years, I’ve been calling him The Big Magic Juju Guy.

      • ‘Tis Himself, OM

        Same sky pixie.

  • Desert Son, OM

    “I don’t care if it rains or freezes
    Long as I got Madison Avenue Jesus
    Sittin’ on the background of my browser!”

    (With apologies to the production of Cool Hand Luke.)

    Still learning,


  • Niam Krawt

    Can’t figure out if this person is saying that his HIV status miraculously reversed, or if he took the test and was happy to discover he wasn’t infected.

    Neither… His test was really positive, but the good Lord changed the result to negative so Santos wouldn’t have to worry. God is good!

  • Niam Krawt

    Also, the Wikipedia entry for Poe’s Law should just redirect to that website…

  • Matt

    “GOD was so good that He extended my unemployment benefits!”

    Of course a Christianist would believe this – certainly, no politician *they* would vote for would do it, so it must have been SKY JEEBUS!

  • Dcg1

    The idea of religous organisations using their resources to fund atheist blogs,does hae a certain delicious irony about it.

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