It’s not often when reading the Guardian you get what seems to be the beginning of a joke; “what do you get when you put a Muslim imam, a Greek Orthodox priest, a rabbi, a Buddhist monk and 10 atheists in the same room?” The article went on to say that Turkish television are broadcasting a new reality Tv show in which, ” contestants will ponder whether to believe or not to believe when they pit their godless convictions against the possibilities of a new relationship with the almighty on Penitents Compete (Tovbekarlar Yarisiyor in Turkish)”
Four spiritual guides from a range of religions will seek to convert at least one of the 10 atheists in each programme to their faith and those persuaded will be rewarded with a pilgrimage to the spiritual home of their newly chosen creed – Mecca for Muslims, Jerusalem for Christians and Jews, and Tibet for Buddhists. According to the programme makers one aim of the show is to promote religious belief and to expose Turkey’s overwhelmingly Muslim population about other faiths. That programme’s advertising slogans make some bold claims which include “We give you the biggest prize ever: we represent the belief in God” and “You will find serenity in this competition”.
Only true non-believers need apply. An eight-strong commission of theologians will assess the atheist credentials of would-be contestants before deciding who should take part. Converts will be monitored to ensure their religious transformation is genuine and not simply a ruse to gain a free foreign trip. “They can’t see this trip as a getaway, but as a religious experience,” Ozdemir said. The programme, which is scheduled to air in September, has been criticised by commentators and religious figures for trivialising God and faith.
What’s your final answer or do you need to phone a friend?
Full the full story see http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/02/turkey-penitents-compete-gameshow