A poster campaign reminding people that God is always there to hear their prayers opened in London. The Churches’ Advertising Network depicts Heaven as a call centre with operators wearing wings and the slogan: “It’s business as usual in Heaven. Lines to God open 24/7.”
[The Times, Friday December 3 2004]
What’s next, a premium rate number leading to an answering service for God? Give me a break.
24/7 telephone lines are, on the whole, a waste of time – so why the church believe this campaign will put them in a positive light is beyond me. My bank has a 24 hour telephone service… I called them one evening this week, and despite the fact that they were polite and solicitous the outcome of the conversation was that I had to visit my local branch to sort the problem out.
Great, very useful so far. Someone was able to listen to my problem but couldn’t help to save their life.
So, lines to God are apparently open 24/7, but even the most optimistic religious devotee will have to eventually concede that they’ve been put on the ecclesiastical equivalent of hold.
“I’m sorry but all our lines are currently engaged. You are being held in a queue, our next available deity will be with you as soon as possible. Your belief is important to us.”
What then, a sudden rush to their local branch – sorry, church? It’s possible I suppose, but even there they have little chance of any answer to their prayers.
And that’s the flaw with religion in general, and prayers specifically. It’s all very well for church representatives, in the comfort of their homes or offices, to say ‘God is listening’ – but what people actually want, and need, is someone to answer them. Listening has its place, but people need results.
“Thank you for your continued patience. In order to improve customer services we are attempting to keep callers informed as to how long they can expect to be waiting. You are currently placed 1,498,723 in the queue, estimated waiting time is infinite.”
If my bank can’t deal with my problems on the phone, and I have to visit my local branch, they can record it as a service failure (i.e. I’m dissatisfied with the service provided) and try to compensate me. If you pray to God (“Lines open 24/7”) and get no response, what compensation can you expect? Seems to me as though the church ought to be done for false advertising – although, let’s be fair, they haven’t actually promised any results, so perhaps we can get them for false representation of a product or service that can’t be proven to exist.
“I’m sorry, but we’re experiencing higher than usual call volumes and all of our deities are still busy. Please hang up and try again later.”
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