Saving Money By Converting to Christianity

(Photo: Nora Morgan)

The Phnom Penh Post reports on a Cambodian village that’s converting to Christianity for economic reasons:

At upwards of US$500, the cost of slaughtering a buffalo to revive a relative condemned to ill-health by the spirits has pushed the Jarai indigenous minority residents of Somkul village in Ratanakkiri to a more affordable religious option: Christianity.

In the village in O’Yadav district’s Som Thom commune, about 80 per cent of the community have given up on spirits and ghosts in favour of Sunday sermons and modern medicine. 

Sev Chel, 38, said she made the switch because when she used to get sick, it could cost her hundreds of dollars to appease the gods with a sacrificial package that might include a cow or buffalo, a chicken, bananas, incense and rice wine.

“So if I sold that buffalo and took the money to pay for medicine, it is about 30,000 riel to 40,000 riel [for them to] get better, so we are strong believers in Jesus,” she said. “If I did not believe in Jesus, maybe at this time I would still be poor and not know anything besides my community.” 

Residents say that converting to Christianity has alleviated their fears of black magic, saving them hundreds of dollars in sacrifices to the gods in order to prevent illness and bad luck.

(HT: Steve Goetz)

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  1. Cafeteria Non-Catholic says:

    Why don’t they just practice Cafeteria Black Magic: continue to believe in the same gods and spirits as before, but only offer the ritual sacrifices that are convenient and affordable?

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    • FrDennis says:

      Now THERE’S a comment that gets at the economics. Trying to game the system, with the lowest cost for the greatest gain. Clever. Kudos.

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    • Sean Ormiston says:

      If they could *cheapen* the tithe, they wouldn’t be the same gods or spirits. To offer them some substitute value for “half a buffalo” would be to demeaning or pissing off the deity, no? Can you imagine expecting a favorable divine intervention if you tithe short? That’s why Jesus is so popular: all you have to do to make him happy is say you’re sorry. And if he’s happy, grandma will get better, no?

      The deity is defined by the relationship.

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  2. iftikhar ahmad says:

    i want to become a christain becouse i want to nationality in christain contry and get money

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  3. Mrmee says:

    i want 2 convert my religioun n convert hindu 2 Christianity.
    Plz how dis posible

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