Markets in everything: convert the atheist, on Turkish TV

by on July 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm in Religion, Television | Permalink

From The Guardian, via Effect Measure:

It sounds like 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?

Viewers of Turkish television will
soon get the punchline when a new game show begins that offers a prize
arguably greater than that offered by Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

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), to be broadcast by the Kanal T station. Four spiritual
guides from the different religions will seek to convert at least one
of the 10 atheists in each programme to their faith.

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.

The real prize, of course, is the conversion itself.  But if you are faking it just to win the trip, I believe Islam is at a disadvantage.  By the way, they do "verify" that you are an atheist in the first place, using a panel of eight theologians (are they so hard to fool?), plus they monitor your behavior afterwards to see you truly have become a believer.

1 beamish July 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm

I wonder what the atheists win if they get one of the clerics to abandon his faith?

2 Sean July 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm

I like it! I hope that English translations start appearing on YouTube.

Technically, isn’t having the Priest on the show illegal? I have been told by friends who went on mission trips over there that it is illegal for a Christian to proselytize in Turkey. Is anyone aware of the specifics of these laws?

3 beamish July 5, 2009 at 6:50 pm

It’s legal now, which doesn’t mean that you won’t be killed for doing it.

4 Doc Merlin July 6, 2009 at 5:43 am

That was a strange juicy comment.

5 Sean July 6, 2009 at 9:12 am

Anyone else suddenly have a craving for orange juice?

6 Thelonious_Nick July 6, 2009 at 11:57 am

“Viewers of Turkish television will soon get the punchline when a new game show begins that offers a prize arguably greater than that offered by Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

Presumably any potential converted contestants will in fact consider the prize to be infinitely greater than a mere $1 million.

7 US July 6, 2009 at 3:19 pm


I don’t know for sure, but I think Tyler was thinking more along these lines:

Also, what Noah Yetter said.

8 sourcreamus July 6, 2009 at 4:34 pm

There is a joke there but replace the ten athiests with a bear and add a rabbi.
The punchline is “It was going great until the circumscision.”

9 Yavuz Selim Genc July 21, 2009 at 11:15 am

I’am adding to the european literature another “saying”. “Making tv show like a Turk.”
This is extremely ridiculous to make a tv show like that and I am sure as a 100% Turk, people in here are only watching this show for fun because there are a tv show culture developed recent years where people acts like they live their own real life but this is nothing more than cheap acting which are performing by ordinary people.
Honestly, It is very funny to watch. I wish you could speak Turkish and understand the conversations between that retarded guys.

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