The Religious Chain Letter

Occasionally I will get this sort of thing in my mailbox. I have to say I remember my mother typing chain letters with carbon paper and sending them to myriads of people in the 50’s… but now with electronic communication, it’s possible to annoy millions without effort or cost.

Look at this Picture Closely


The President of Argentina received this picture and called it “junk mail”: 8 days later his son died. A man received this picture and immediately sent out copies: His surprise was winning the lottery. Alberto Martinez received this picture and gave it to his secretary to make copies but she forgot to distribute it – She lost her job and he lost his family. This picture is miraculous and sacred.”

You were chosen to receive this novena (prayer).

The moment you receive it, say :

[Insert the Lord’s Prayer here]

GOD WANTED ME TO TELL YOU, It shall be well with you this coming year.

No matter how much your enemies try this year, they will not succeed.
You have been destined to make it and you shall surely achieve all your goals this year.
For all of 2013, all your agonies will be diverted and victory and prosperity will be incoming in abundance.
Today God has confirmed the end of your sufferings, sorrows and pain because HE that sits on the throne has remembered you.
He has taken away the hardships and given you JOY. He will never let you down.

I knocked at heaven’s door this morning.
God asked me, “My child! What can I do for you?”
And I said, “Father, please protect and bless the person reading this message.”

This is a Novena from Mother Theresa that started in 1952.

It has never been broken. Within 48 hours send 20 copies (Or as many as you can – God does know if you don’t have 20 people to send it to – it’s the effort and intent that counts) to family and friends.

Do not send it back to the person who sent it to you.

This is a powerful Novena. Can only help. All prayer is powerful.

Please do not break it.

Now: I have nothing against sending out good energy, or prayer. I appreciate people who exercise their faith on my behalf. But I have serious issues with this kind of email because they’re – to be charitable – a crock of .

I’m supposed to believe that

  1. I was “chosen” to receive this special communication (along with the countless other “unspecified recipients”)
  2. Some stock photo taken off the Internet is miraculous and sacred
  3. Some really bad writing can be attributed to Mother Teresa in 1952
  4. The chain has never been broken
  5. If I send it to 20 friends, I’ll have amazing luck
  6. If I don’t send it on, I’m opening myself to apocalyptic consequences, loss of job, family, life, and limb. (The idea that a prayer for the blessing of people would automatically morph into a curse if not sent onwards defies logic. Oh wait, we’re talking about religion, excuse me.)

People! In the name of anything you hold sacred or worthy of respect, if you want to send good energy to your friends, great. Pray for them privately (see Matthew 6:6 if you’ve forgotten the admonition), but please don’t forward hqiz like this. Above and beyond all the things I mentioned above, some of the folks in your address book will invariably be humanists or atheists, and you don’t want to send them to the hospital with intense pain caused by prolonged and forceful eye-rolling.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

12 responses to “The Religious Chain Letter

  1. From what I’ve heard, mainly from Christopher Hitchens’s work, Mother Teresa was a real piece of work. Don’t know why I thought that was necessary to outline, but, you know, it – randomness – ‘appens. Also, I quite like the use of fear to proliferate their message, keeping nicely in line with how religion tends to work. If you don’t share this picture, you will contract herpes and your genitals will turn into sea serpents.

    • I feel like Hitchens’ production was a sensationalist attention grab, motivated by his own disregard of religion in general. That aside, I have also heard interesting stories about Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. At all events, she was a very complex character – ferociously devoted to raising the human condition, flawed – as all humans are – with personal failings, and chained to the dogma of the worldwide Catholic machine.

      • Hitchens sensationalising a piece of work, just for attention, based on his blind hate for religion? No! Never. Surely. Haha. I’ve not yet (probably won’t ever) read his book on her, but I’d assume your analysis pretty spot on. He was such a smart fella, it’s a shame he couldn’t look past his own dogmas. And yeah, complex seems a fitting word. I’ve only seen a short doco on her, so don’t know so much. But I’m sure that full of good intentions, she was; sometimes gone right, sometimes very wrong.

      • Y’know, I spent a lotta years railing against various Catholic teachings etc. And I’m not going to say that everybody in the Catholic Church is perfect. But it’s got 2,000 years on me, not to mention that its combined brainpower etc. make me look like a sleepy, ailing second-grader. So maybe “chained to the dogma of the worldwide Catholic machine” is just a tad unfair.

      • Not really. The statement is not a judgment of Catholic doctrine, ideas or mores – simply that Agnes was unable or unwilling to look past those boundaries. For good or ill, they played a large part of her Weltanschauung.

  2. To my mind, these letters/mails don’t show faith but actually lack of it, as they make it seem possible to compel God to do something positive for the sender by just clicking “forward” on the keyboard. That’s not how it works. I feel the same, btw, about people who take the Bible not as religious instruction but as a scientific textbook.
    Take care, and have a great day,

  3. I’m a Christian and I detest chain letters, for so many reasons, and faux religious ones that dupe Christians and so many of them willing to just spam this crap without thinking just makes me furious! Nowhere near enough Christians speak out against chain letters, so it is my mission to do so until more of us wake up and say enough already. I am so sick of Christians continuing to help worsen their reputation for chain activity on the net, or offline too for that matter.

Leave a Reply to The Old Wolf Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s