Sand of Christ

What’s sad is that someone must be buying this

sand_2_05

What is Sand of Christ?

Sand of Christ is a keepsake that has been blessed and made holy by an ordained minister. It is a vial of sand that has been filtered, cleaned and purified, then anointed and blessed through a long and expensive process. The vial is secured in a waterproof metal capsule that has been highly polished by hand. Each one has the cross laser engraved.

Clearly, we do not make any false promises of magical healing or far-fetched claims. However, Sand of Christ is not a gimmick. Each one is GUARANTEED to be blessed and made holy. As such, we know that each and every one carries the positive power of Christ within its contents.

Each vial costs $29.99. Plus $4.99 for shipping.

Apparently, they have not yet achieved a profit.

Every time I see one of these gimmicks now, I begin to wonder if it’s an atheist running it. It seems like such an easy scam to pull off… and the victims wouldn’t even realize it.

Ok, here’s an ethical dilemma for you.

Let’s say atheists begin a similar kind of store… called “Blankets of Christ” (or whatever). The blankets are blessed by ordained ministers (Humanist ones, of course, though we wouldn’t mention that) and sold for profit. Anyone who buys the blankets, thinking they are getting closer to God, are thrilled. They have no idea there’s nothing holy about them. Money begins to roll in.

But.

All profits are donated to a good charity.

Would you support the Blankets for Christ store?

  • http://drakim.net Drakim

    Nope, I care passionatly about the truth, and could thus never do something like that.

    After all, if you think that’s okay, then you really have nothing to say when a Christian says that modern Christianity at least helps the world more than it hurts. You just accepted that lies that do good are okay, after all.

  • http://friar-zero.blogspot.com Friar_Zero

    I try very hard not to mock the religious, save for my own private enjoyment, but when you see things like this being taken seriously it really drives home how close to “magic” christianity can get.

    This whole topic also reminds me of the the “blessing of the microphones” scene in the infamous Jesus Camp.

  • http://www.slightlysouthofsane.com Tony Miller

    Find a cheap supplier, an ordained humanist or atheist and go nuts.

    If it’s a moral issue don’t call them “Blankets of Christ.” Call them “Blankets of Blessing” instead. That way there is nothing deceptive. They are blankets, they have been blessed by an ordained person and they are for sale.

  • Richard Wade

    (Maxwell Smart’s voice) “Ah yes, the old end justifies the means rationalization. Second time this week I’ve fallen for that.”

    Somehow, ill-begotten gains almost always end up biting you in the ass even if you are applying them to what you think is a noble cause. One common reason is that once you say it’s okay to be deceitful to one person in order to benefit another person, the number of persons you deceive begins to increase and the number of persons you benefit decreases until it’s just yourself. Eventually, you’re willing to cheat anyone in any way to benefit yourself.

    This kind of scam almost always gets exposed and discredits charities in general. The people in need end up with less help coming their way.

  • http://www.secularplanet.org Secular Planet

    I don’t understand the significance of the sand. I don’t recall anything important about it in the bible except that God told Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as sand granules. Or maybe that was only stars in the sky.

    If you want something blessed, go to a Catholic priest. They’ll bless anything and usually it’s free. My family was telling me about a guy last weekend who brought a $140k Porsche to the church to have it blessed.

    Camel through the eye of needle? Hello???

  • Kate

    As my mom loves to say, there’s an ass for every seat.

  • http://ranaban.blogspot.com RNB

    “Would you support the Blankets for Christ store?”
    Obviously not. It is fraudulent. It is making a false claim to sell a product.

    “All profits are donated to a good charity.”
    Irrelevant. That cannot be used to excuse cheating in the marketplace.

  • HP

    Granted it’s been decades since I was a Protestant Christian, but back when Protestantism meant something, ordained ministers couldn’t bless things or make things holy. That’s strictly God’s domain. And an ordained minister would never claim to have blessed something; only that he had asked for God’s blessing. Having ministers bless things is a big thumb in the eye to the whole Protestant Reformation.

    Look, if you want a priest, join a religion that has priests. If you can’t stand the pope, there’s Orthodox, Syrian, Maronite, Coptic, and even Episcopalians. Their priests can bless sand to their hearts’ content. But ministers, ordained or otherwise, are simply unqualified to bless things.

    PROTESTANTISM: UR DOIN IT RONG

  • N

    PROTESTANTISM: UR DOIN IT RONG

    That made me giggle. I heart the LOLCats.

    No, I would not support the Blankets of Christ any more than I would support the Sand of Christ. They are both fraudulent.

    If you want to sell something for charity, then sell something for charity. Don’t attach a fairy tale to it.

  • Richard Wade

    This isn’t just a hypothetical exercise in ethics. The Sand of Christ website is actually claiming that they are benefiting a charity, the YMCA. I wrote this email to the YMCA national headquarters:

    I wish to bring to your attention the fact that a website calling itself “Sand of Christ” is selling little vials of sand that they claim are “blessed” and they imply are highly spiritually valuable things. They claim that portions of their proceeds are going to benefit the YMCA and they are using your logo. You can find the website here. http://www.sandofchrist.com/

    I certainly hope that this is not authorized by you, because deceitful nonsense like this does not reflect well upon your organization. If you have not authorized this, I strongly urge you to repudiate them and take action to have their claim of benefiting the YMCA removed from their site.
    Sincerely yours,
    Richard Wade

  • Ben D.

    I would support it if the seller kept all the profit.

  • Jesse

    If the store had a name not attached to a particular religion, like what Tony suggests, then I think I would be okay with it. The “blessing” is entirely irrelevant, obviously, but if people attach significance to it and buy the blankets, then that’s their choice.

  • Indigo

    Love this gem from the FAQ:
    “I need Sand of Christ in my life but can’t afford it.”
    I think we may require some updating of the word “need”, because none of the definitions I’m familiar with allow it to be applied to a little bottle of sand with a cross on it.

  • llewelly

    I don’t understand the significance of the sand. I don’t recall anything important about it in the bible except that God told Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as sand granules. Or maybe that was only stars in the sky.

    God commanded his people to bury their shit . Since they lived in a desert, what do you think they buried it with?

  • http://www.end-of-silence.org larrinski

    This kind of reminds me of when I was a university student in Vancouver, and a group calling themselves the Internation Secular Atavists claimed to have found the biological remains of Jesus, and were selling the Snot of Jesus for a $5 love gift. Instead I bought their t-shirt for a laugh!

  • http://www.meetup.com/beltwayatheists Shelley Mountjoy

    “Would you support the Blankets for Christ store?”

    No. Religious belief is dangerous and I would not encourage myth and superstition. It really doesn’t matter where the profits go.

    Speaking of profits, it is interesting that site claims to donate to the YMCA “based on our net profit” yet later states “at this time we have still not achieved a profit.”

  • http://notapottedplant.blogspot.com/ Transplanted Lawyer

    No, it would be a deceptive business practice.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    …then anointed and blessed through a long and expensive process.

    Wait. What? Wait.

    Expensive? What about an anointing and blessing process could make it expensive? Are they anointing it with caviar oil or something?

    This whole thing makes no sense. I can’t even begin to imagine a sense in which it might make sense. It is such blatant, shameless huckterism, I can’t imagine how it is that not everyone can see through it to the fraud it is.

    And to the question: No. Absolutely not. The end does not justify the means. There are better ways to raise money for a good cause: ways that don’t destroy the trust of the people donating money and the honor of the people raising it.

  • http://www.raywhiting.com/MyLife Raytheist

    Well, I agree it wouldn’t be right for an atheist to run a scheme under false pretenses just for the sake of ripping off the gullible. But if the gullible are standing there waiting to throw money at someone in exchange for cheap tawdry (often plastic) trinkets anyway, I’m happy to take it. But I wouldn’t invent a story about blessings and what-not.

  • stephanie

    Hey, as long as it’s legal you have a right to make money on any fool idea and then keep it, give it to charity or blow it in a casino. Whatever. That’s the freedom of the market.

    Would I support it? No. I wouldn’t shell out for the Home Depot sand these guys took with them to church some Sunday either. I’ve got much better silly trinkets to waste my money on.

  • Pingback: MY LIFE » Blog Archive » Here’s mud in yer eye!

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    What do you mean by “support”? Would I stand back and allow it to continue while I smile a little inside at all the deluded fools wasting their money? Yes. Would I support tax exemption for them? Not a chance. Would I buy a blanket? No way, not even if I needed a blanket. I’d rather buy one directly from a charity or even from a shop that specialises in selling blankets.

  • Epistaxis

    I don’t understand the significance of the sand

    You spread it on the floor and make footprints.

  • Richard Wade

    INTRODUCING THE AMAZING KITCHEN CADDY FOR CHRIST! NOW YOU CAN HAVE ALL THE BENEFITS OF A FOOD PROCESSOR AND A HOLY NOSTRUM ALL IN ONE CONVENIENT PACKAGE! WATCH HOW YOU CAN SLICE, DICE AND RECEIVE DIVINE GRACE AT THE SAME TIME! THERE’LL BE NO MORE TEARS WHEN YOU CHOP ONIONS OR COMMIT A SIN. JUST SWITCH FROM BLENDING TO BLESSING, AND YOUR SPIRITUAL CONFLICTS AS WELL AS YOUR BORING MEALS ARE A THING OF THE PAST! BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! IT ALSO IMPROVES MALE PERFORMANCE! WOULD YOU TO THIS WITH YOUR PENIS?? THAT’S RIGHT, YOU CAN POUND A NAIL AND THEN SLICE A TOMATO! PUT THE POWER OF THE LORD IN YOUR LOVEMAKING! NOW HOW MUCH WOULD YOU PAY? BEWARE OF IMITATIONS. YOU COULD END UP PAYING HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS AND LOSING YOUR SOUL FOR SEPARATE APPLIANCES AND SACRED TALISMANS. THIS IS NOT AVAILABLE IN ANY STORE. THAT WAY YOU CAN’T FIND US. IT’S ONLY $19.95 IN TEN EASY MONTHLY PAYMENTS OF TEN DOLLARS EACH. ACT NOW WHILE SUPPLIES LAST! AND IF YOU ORDER RIGHT NOW, YOU WILL ALSO RECEIVE A 12-PIECE SET OF JESUS KNIVES ABSOLUTELY FREE! THESE NEVER LOSE THEIR EDGE. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS JUST KEEP SHARPENING THEM! OPERATORS ARE STANDING BY! THAT’S BECAUSE WE’RE TOO CHEAP TO GIVE THEM CHAIRS!

  • http://www.slightlysouthofsane.com Tony Miller

    “I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is!”

    Can we sell books that explain we are all possessed by the essence of a boogey man but for a financed price we can show people how to expunge the essence?

    Well, provided they use the Blanket of Blessing that is.

    Actually, I’ve said too much. Until you’ve spent enough….uh…studied enough to reach the proper level I can’t discuss this with you any more.

    Buy your blankets now!

  • MH

    Richard Wade, thanks for letting the YMCA know about this. This Sand of Christ is pure snake oil.

    I couldn’t sleep well at night if I was involved in Blankets of Christ. Remorse is one of the worst emotions and I would feel sick conning people. If I somehow got past the remorse I would find that even scarier.

  • lurker111

    If you want a list of atheists who are already taking suckers for their bucks, just begin writing down the names of every televangelist and TBN maven you can come up with. These fraud artists _can’t_ be believing what they’re pitching.

    And no, I wouldn’t support a blessed blankets enterprise.

  • JonasG

    “Would you support” such a product. As advertized, I would see no need for that particular product, and not buy one. As to the charity it supports,

    1. would I believe profits really go to that charity, and
    2. is it a charity I would otherwise support?

    If yes, I might as well just give directly to that charity, if I didn’t believe in the charity, no.

    Is there anything about this blanket I would approve of, that if I were the charity, I would welcome. — ex: Joseph, Mary, Peter, Mark, John, Mary Magdalane, Moses and Joseph Smith in a square dance formation on the blanket being sold to benefit square dancing. — Ok I’m completely irreverent, but if not offended perhaps why not. — Ars gratia Artis.

  • JonasG

    lewelly Says: January 3rd, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    God commanded his people to bury their shit . Since they lived in a desert, what do you think they buried it with?

    We needed God to tell us this? makes sense we couldn’t come up with ‘do not kill’ or ‘do not steal’ without divine assistance :)

  • http://elisverse.wordpress.com/ Elis

    Would you support the Blankets for Christ store?

    I’m a highly ethical person, as such my ethics are negotiable only for the right price :)

    Humor aside, I would not support deceptive practices, even if wording was technically not deceptive. If I do get into the business of blessing blankets, I practically opt out all grievances against the religious doing the same.

  • http://frodology.blogspot.com FrodoSaves

    Why sand? Why not ground cardamom? It would smell better, and you could use it to infuse your food or coffee with a holy zest.

  • http://www.woofkitty.co.uk SAMIZDAT

    misleading for charity beats lying for Jesus…

  • penn

    I don’t fully understand why everyone is saying the blankets for Christ idea is deceitful. It’s sounds honest and on the up-and-up to me. You are selling blessed blankets to people who want blessed objects. The only issue I see is not believing in the product you are selling, which is a different issue. In the end, if your customers are happy and not deceived what is wrong with it though?

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    Good question. I think my response will be too long for a comment, so I’ll probably write a post.

    Can I just say one more thing – I REALLY want some of that magic Jee-Zuhs sand. I am glad it costs so much because I don’t think I could resist otherwise. Yeah, I know. I have a problem.

  • Jodie

    Though there may be nothing technically wrong with this scheme, I would hang back because it just FEELS wrong to me (how’s that for using my critical thinking?)……Kind of like a white wine spritzer — just…..EWWWWW.

  • SarahH

    Hmm… I’m thinking about the parallels between this and say, a band that plays Christian music but secretly doesn’t believe any of it. As long as no one finds out, there’s no difference for the consumers – the music, the blankets – they’re identical to the “real” product and the only difference is in the heads of the consumers.

    I’d still feel uncomfortable doing it, personally. I think that people who believe that things can be “blessed” or whatever are wrong, but I think taking advantage of those beliefs in this particular way, even for charity, is too dishonest for my taste.

  • http://radicalatheist.com Jack Carlson

    Blankets are too expensive. The faithful don’t need real blankets. Every year there’s a church that sends me a piece of paper printed to look like a rug. They claim it’s a prayer rug and expect a donation in return. We could crank out thousands of those pieces of paper for the cost of a single blanket.

  • http://www.abandonallfear.co.uk Alex Fear
  • http://www.aperfectfool.com Codswallop

    Nope, bad idea, for the same reason that doctors should not be in the business of dispensing placebos: it erodes credibility. You can’t build a truthful structure on a huge lie.

  • Lee Picton

    My husband wears a stainless steel capsule around his neck that looks exactly like that. Only the top screws off so he can get to his supply of nitroglycerine inside. It’s all in the marketing, folks. I suspect the nitro holder company actually makes a profit – but then they are selling something that is truly useful.

  • http://tobablog.com partoba

    The same phenomenon is currently happened in here, that the preacher is saying that it’ll be more holier to do the ritual with a blessed oil(?). And those people keep believing it’s true. I don’t get it!

  • GODdamnJESUSfreak

    OH you silly atheist make me lol!

  • MaggieMae

    Thank heavens! Now I know where to go when I need some new inventive vampire repellant. Lestat will never suspect holy sand! *evil laugh* Okay that’s a lie, I like Lestat so I wouldn’t want to repel him.

    Seriously I think if people are stupid enough to fall for that crap, they deserve what they get. As for the YMCA having any involvement, I don’t know that they know about it but it wouldn’t surprise me. Don’t forget YMCA stands for Young Men’s Christian Association. They used to offer Bible classes as part of their fitness program. That fact was pulled off the Y’s site by the way in the history section. It could be too that the company is donating the money to the Y but not telling them where it’s coming from as far as the “scheme.” Also “a portion of the proceeds” could be as little as one penny on every buck sale. That sort of thing drives me nuts!

    Anyway I don’t see any problem with the blankets as long as there was no false advertising.

  • Geaux Ghoti

    I just dropped this answer over at Atheist Revolution and since the question originated over here, I thought I’d tag you with the same response:

    The fact that THIS is considered by some Atheists to be a “moral dilemma” is exactly why the religious masses have such an easy time arguing that we are not capable of being moral. While I have no desire to have the religious myths perpetuated at all, I also have no desire to deceive someone, even if it’s for a “good cause”. I may not agree with the religious masses, and I may even think they are fools for believing as they do, but that does not give me the right to make fools of them, make fun of their religion in such a way, or perpetuate the myth they believe in so strongly. To them, this would be the same thing as selling glass as diamonds or aluminum as silver. Aside from this, I have to ask myself, what charitable organization would want to be associated with such an act…

  • Scott M.

    When I first read this, I thought the believers were buying a blanket to donate to charity and I was all on board for a humanist running a blankets for Christ gig. I was thinking the needy get a blanket, I get to choose the charity, and the believer gets to feel “closer to God”.

    But on re-reading it, I understand it as a form of lying to people. The people are buying a blanket for themselves but they’re hoping for something extra because it’s a Christ blanket. So my conclusion is it would be wrong to sell a blanket of that type of anyone.

  • AnonyMouse

    I certainly wouldn’t support the Blankets of Christ business. There’s unintentional fraud (the sand), and then there’s intentional fraud (the blankets). If I really wanted to extort money from Christians, I’d sell them Smuggies.

    On the other hand, I would happily start an “Atheist Blankets” business. “Each one of these blankets is hand-blessed by the Webmaster, an ordained minister of the First Church of Atheism…” Yep. I’d sell atheist holy water and Darwin fish necklaces, too.

    Unfortunately for me, unlike Christians, atheists aren’t that gullible.


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