Churches and the Corporate Org Chart

(Today, I’m pleased to have a guest post from Richard S. Russell, an atheist from Wisconsin and commenter at this blog.)

In these difficult economic times, you may have heard more than usual about GDP. It’s short for “Gross Domestic Product” and is the dollar value of all the goods and services produced within a given country (or state or region) in a year. “Goods” are products, material objects that customers want; “services” are procedures, actions performed to help customers. Together, these products and procedures reflect the wealth generated by the economy.

In the U.S., a lot of goods and services are produced by big corporations, which are organized to do so effectively and efficiently, using those techniques much beloved of Econ 101 courses, division of labor and specialization.

Here’s an organization chart for a typical manufacturing corporation, one that produces material goods:

And here’s what goes on inside each of those little boxes:

(1) Management makes decisions, tells everyone else what to do, and handles investor relations.

(2) Internal Services support the rest of the company in general; the category includes accounting, info tech, personnel (human resources), labor relations (employment relations or ER), safety, maintenance, regulatory compliance, and legal.

(3) Research and Development (R&D) investigates new ways of doing things and tests them out.

(4) Purchasing acquires raw materials, equipment, and property.

(5) Manufacturing (the biggest part of the company, employing the most people) generates actual useful products.

(6) Inventory Control deals with both raw materials and finished products and includes transportation, warehousing, shipping, delivery, and quality assurance.

(7) Marketing uses media to spread the word that people should buy the company’s products.

(8) Sales works directly with individual customers to get them the products they want in exchange for their money.

(9) Customer Service works directly with customers who are having problems with a product.

The chart gets slimmed down a little if we’re talking about services instead of goods. Here’s an org chart for a typical service corporation:

Notice that manufacturing has vanished altogether (no goods being produced), and that the bulk of the people working for the company are the ones directly helping customers. You still have Purchasing and Inventory Control, but these are much smaller operations (since they now deal mainly with furniture and office supplies instead of heavy machinery and raw materials) and so are generally subsumed under Internal Services.

Finally we have the kind of organizations that produce neither goods nor services, namely churches. Here’s how they work:

There are still lots of entries under Management (bishops, archbishops, abbots, cardinals, popes, etc.), since these guys (by which I mean “men”) are really into hierarchy.

There’s the normal array of Internal Services, with the diminished activity under ER (no unions, heavy emphasis on conformity and obedience) and regulatory compliance more than offset by the need for lots of work under legal (discrimination, pedophilia, etc.).

Nothing under R&D. (Create something new?!)

Nothing under Purchasing. (Spend? Contribute to the economy?!)

Nothing under Manufacturing. (Useful products!?)

Nothing under Inventory Control.

But tons and tons o’ time is devoted to (or, more properly, “wasted on”) Marketing and Sales. In fact, in the absence of goods and services, it’s the only thing religion does at all. In other words, the priest class spends all its time pushing companionship with themselves, in return for nothing useful or even (as in the case of more traditional prostitutes) pleasurable.

The most telling part of the chart, though, is Customer “Service,” where the ironic quotation marks emphasize the difference between what a church does and what an actual contributor to GDP does. A responsible, reputable company assumes that, if you’ve got a problem, it’s their own product’s fault, or the result of shoddy service from one of the company’s representatives. But in the case of religion, any counseling they provide for people with problems is designed to show, first and foremost, how the religion itself is never, ever at fault, that the problem is entirely the customer’s, because he or she didn’t follow directions properly. In short, the motto of Customer “Service” for a church is “The customer is always wrong.”

In effect, since religion never solves any problems (not even those of its own making), Customer “Service” is just another mechanism under Sales and Marketing, which is why it’s shown as subsidiary to those activities on the skeletal org chart above.

You know the short word for any activity that’s all talk and no walk (or, as they say in Texas, all hat and no cattle)? Scam!

Related posts:

47 thoughts on “Churches and the Corporate Org Chart

  1. I will concede your comments are possibly true of most religion, but not all.

    One I know actually produces good citizens, honest tax payers, contributing to the GPD. Hold down good jobs. Educate on sound morals. Work tirelessly in helping others resolve personal problems, re-educate criminals this world produces and all for no profit.

    • No religion generates a profit. They keep all the money that comes in. Actual productive businesses return a goodly chunk of their profits to entrepreneurs and shareholders as a reward for their initiative and investments. Plus which, actual productive businesses pay taxes that go to support the public services that they take advantage of.

      I am curious as to how this religion you speak of “produces good citizens”. Is it the ONLY influence on these people’s lives? Would they NOT have “held down good jobs” if they hadn’t encountered this particular church?

      • The Bible has helped change peoples lives from being murderers and criminals, so no they would not previously been contributing to society but taking from it. The Bible does change peoples lives and personalities if you allow it. I know I was once one of the scoundrels that through my study of the Bible and application of it’s principles made me into a contributing member of society and have had the privledge of helping many others to change their lives. Not that I am anything but thanks to the higher wisdom found in the pages of the Bible.

      • Paul:

        It’s great to hear that you’ve improved your life. If you say that following Christianity was the cause, I’m happy to accept that. But this is no evidence that the supernatural claims of Christianity are true.

  2. All the ministers of this religion are self funded, unpaid and contribute their time and resources as needed to help others.
    The ‘management’ if you want to call it also are unpaid, but their living and personal needs are cared for by volunteer contributions. Don’t have a Pope mobile or security, hence are no burden on those that wish to contribute. No collections taken at any meetings, do not have to pay for weddings, funerals etc.
    Name one scientists who is unpaid, and the products he produces are not given away for the benefit of the poor and needy. Not to mention the cost to humanity when they get it wrong. They produced the nuclear bomb and nuclear power, not only does it cost heaps in money but slso in lives.

    • ANY technology — from fire and the wheel to nuclear fission and the internet — can be used for good or ill. The technology itself is value-neutral. It’s only what people DO with it that’s good or bad.
       
      The difference is that science does PRODUCE technology. What does religion produce? Put it this way: If there’s gonna be a cure for cancer, do you expect we’re going to find it thru science or thru prayer, meditation, revelation, and miracles? Hint: Look at the track record for every other disease we’ve ever conquered (polio, smallpox, mumps, childhood leukemia, etc.).

  3. Hi Paul, you said:

    “The Bible clearly explains that Jesus came from God and was born as a human on earth through Mary. Gal 4:4; Heb 2:9….”

    Yup, you are speaking of the incarnation.. Not quite sure what you mean by ” Jesus came from God”? But as we are told about the incarnation, in Philippians 2:5,6. That Jesus existed in the form of God. And He Jesus voluntarily emptied Himself and took the form of a man. And we know all the fullness of Deity dwells in Jesus in bodily form. ( Col 2)

    You said:

    “….Prior to this he had been in heaven with his father Jehovah and assisted with creation Col 1:15-17; Rev 3:14. Indicating a pre-human existence from which God transferred his spirit life to that of a human, via the embryo in Mary’s womb. No real challenge for God or mystery for us, as humans can do something similar today…”

    Yes the Father, Son, and Spirit all assisted in creation. And the scripture tells us Jehovah ( YHWH) created all things by Himself..Which harmonizes only if the three persons share the one being of God. Otherwise we would have a contradiction which is impossible.

    You said:

    “This relationship as Gods son is clear when he was baptized in the Jordon by John. A voice came out of the heavens and declared, “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” Matt 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22. It is interesting that John the baptized proclaimed that Jesus was God’s Son, after he baptized him. John 1:34.
    I am sure that answers your questions scripturally….’

    Yup, I agree the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Spirit..As all three persons appeared and spoke at Jesus baptism. Also we see the Son ( Word) is eternal in John1:1(a)

    You asked me this question?

    ” I have a question for you Bob. I am not sure if you believe in the trinity, but if Jesus were God, who resurrected Jesus after he had been dead for 3 days? Ample proof that he was resurrected as upwards of 500 people saw him. 1Cor 15:3-8.”

    Good question! Which can only be understood again with the harmony of the Trinity.. Otherwise ( as I will show you) we would have another contradiction in the Bible.

    Who resurrected Jesus?

    The one and true God raised Jesus. The monotheistic Jehovah raised Jesus..As you would agree. Acts 17:31 tells us Jehovah raised Jesus from the dead.

    But here is your problem:

    1. God the Father ( which you believe) raised His son from the dead. 1 Thess 1:10

    2. Jesus said He will raise Himself. John 2:19, 21.

    3. The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead Romans 8:11

    As we can see all three persons raised Jesus from the dead. But there is only one being of God who alone raised Jesus from the dead. ( Acts 17:31). So we see all three persons are Jehovah..Other wise you are stuck with a contradiction, as you would also be in the creation account.

    There harmony and consistency of the Trinity is irrefutable. Otherwise Bob the Atheist would be correct, and I a Christian could show you contradictions. Unless we see the Triune God in Creations, redemption, and resurrection.

    • Yes the Father, Son, and Spirit all assisted in creation. And the scripture tells us Jehovah ( YHWH) created all things by Himself..Which harmonizes only if the three persons share the one being of God. Otherwise we would have a contradiction which is impossible.

      There harmony and consistency of the Trinity is irrefutable.

      Sure, when you presuppose it!

      • You are exactly right Bob. Most Christian religions hold to tradition that were established on pagan philosophies, so long ago now that people just accept them instead of checking it out for themselves.
        Thinking of that Bob, hows your Bible reading going?

        • I know wht you mean. King Solomon once wrote; ” As regards anything besides these, my son, take a warining: To the making of many books there is no end, and much devotion to them is weariness to the flesh.”

    • Sorry Bob I don’t see a problem with that.
      1. Yes God (Jehovah) did raise his Son
      2. Obviously Jesus did not raise himself, as he was dead. Also Acts 2:32 says, “This Jesus God raised up”. So why did Jesus say he would raise himself? It is a figure of speech, for example, Jesus said to a woman: “Your faith has made you well.” So did she heal herself? No, it was power from God through Christ that healed her because she had faith. Luke 8:48. Like wise by his (Jesus) perfect obedience as a human, Jesus provided the moral basis for the Father to raise him from the dead, thus acknowledging Jesus as God’s Son. So because of Jesus’ faithful course of life, it could be said that Jesus himself was responsible for his ressurrection.
      3. It is true that God’s spirit was also involved in the ressurrection of Jesus as indicated by Rom 8:11. Just as Jehovah uses holy spirit for many tasks, including creation, and also to fill the deciples of Jesus so they could speak in tongues and so forth. But that is a long way from saying the Holy Spirit is a third person in a God Head.
      You are much mistaken my friend. In fact the idea of a triune God did not become assimilated into Christianity until about 400BCE when Constantine fused pagan and christine teachings to consolidate the realm of Rome. Only then did the notion of a trinity have a beginning in Christianity. As this was such a major shift from Monotheism which all Jewish Christians believed we would expect at least some discussion on the matter by the apostles as was true of circumcision, but there is no such discussion or argument over such a major shift in the identity of their Monothestic God.

      • The Trinity is indeed a bizarre concept.

        In fact the idea of a triune God did not become assimilated into Christianity until about 400BCE when Constantine fused pagan and christine teachings to consolidate the realm of Rome.

        I think you mean “400CE.”

        • Yes very Bizarre. Although quite common amongst so-called pagan religions such as the Egyptians and Babylonians.

          It is interesting to note writings on the development of the Trinity teaching such as;
          The Encyclopedia Americana says; “Christianity derived from Judaism and Judaism was strictly Unitarian [believing that God is one person]. The road which led from Jerusalem to Nicea [where christianity adopted the belief] was scarcley a straight one. Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching.”
          John L. McKenzie, S.J., in his Dictionary of the Bible, says: “The trinity of persons within the unity of nature is defined in terms of ‘person’ and ‘nature’ which are Greek philosophical terms; actually the terms do not appear in the Bible. The trinitarian definitions arose as a result of long controversies in which these terms and others such as ‘essence’ and ‘substance’ were erroneously applied to God by some theologians,”

        • Here another one;
          The New Encylopedia Britannica says: “Neither the word Trinity, nor the explicit doctrine as such, appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament: “Hear, O Israel: ‘The Lord our God is one Lord’ (Deut. 6:4) … The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies…By the end of the 4th century… the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since.”

        • What about this quote, from the church that started it; The New Catholic Encyclopedia staes: “The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the titlt the Trinitarian dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective.”

      • And yet when you see the accretion of traditions like this, it’s hard to take any element of Christianity seriously.

        My own view is that early Christians had elevated Jesus to the level of godhood, equal to Yahweh. But they couldn’t leave it there–the traditional interpretation of 2 was husband/wife, and that wasn’t the relationship they had in mind. So they added another–the fifth wheel of the “Holy Spirit”–to make a 3-person godhead.

        • Yes you are rght, thinking people have been put off by what they see in religion, and certainly the early Christains around the 3rd to 4th centuries certainly started to diviate from the truth taught by the Apostles. For example teachings of Hell Fire, Purgatory, the Cross, the Trinity, Easter to mention just a few are an example of a deviation from what is true. That is why Jehovah’s Witnesses spent so much of our time in the preaching activity placing the truth before people.
          The true God of the Bible Jehovah has been dishonoured by these religions and makes worshipping him confusing. So we hope we are able to help people see the truth and have their lives enlightened.

        • Hi Bob, thanks for that reference. I have looked it up and found it interesting reading. Basically backing up the idea of the trinty being a creation of men, not something in the original writings of the Bible. I also have a Greek Interlinear translation of the Greek Scriptures (New Testament), so I looked up 1John 5:7 – 8 and it also indicates the they are ‘in agreement’ not one being made of three. In other words the Father and the Son are of one purpose and thinking, which is understandable.
          Other pagan traditions passed on to Christianity is Christmas, Easter (which comes from a goddess of fertility, hence the egg and bunny rabbit) Nothing to do with Christ’s death.
          Just goes to emphasis the need to find the truth and not just accept what someone says on face value. This I think we are in agreement with Bob.

  4. There harmony and consistency of the Trinity is irrefutable.

    Sure, when you presuppose it!

    No Sola Scriptura is all that is needed to answer Pauls questions.
    And yes, we are all held to our presuppositions. Like the one you hold to ..As you see no evidience for God. That is the lens you look through.

    • And yes, we are all held to our presuppositions. Like the one you hold to ..As you see no evidience for God. That is the lens you look through.

      I see no evidence for God, but there’s no presupposition of that. I’m open minded–if there’s compelling evidence, I’ll change my mind.

  5. I see no evidence for God, but there’s no presupposition of that. I’m open minded–if there’s compelling evidence, I’ll change my mind.

    Wrongo! All our beliefs are the precondition of what we presuppose. Ones presuppositions are the base of their reason.

    The compelling evidence of God is there, by the immposiblity of the contrary. God is the precondition for Intelligence, logic, human dignity, absolute truth, morality, science. etc.

    You will not and can not change your mind unless God grants you repentence and spiritual life.
    At the same time you are without excuse because you know this God in your heart but reject Him in your unrighteousness.
    That is why you spend so much time on the website you built. You can not escape that God is in your heart, but you hate this God..Because you know He is Holy and Just. And you are accountable to Him.

    • Wrongo! All our beliefs are the precondition of what we presuppose. Ones presuppositions are the base of their reason.

      We all have presuppositions. Yep, got it. Now, let’s get back to my point: if there’s compelling evidence, I’ll change my mind.

      The compelling evidence of God is there, by the immposiblity of the contrary. God is the precondition for Intelligence, logic, human dignity, absolute truth, morality, science. etc.

      Ah, my friend, that’s where you’ve been bullied and seduced by popular (but tragically wrong) beliefs. Transcendental truths are actually grounded in the Flying Spaghetti Monster® (good for all debts public and private when used in a conscientiously applied program of oral hygiene and regular professional care). I recommend you perform ablutions in tomato sauce as penance.

      At the same time you are without excuse because you know this God in your heart

      Ah, yes—the wacky “every atheist is really a Christian” argument. That one just never gets old, does it?!

    • “… you know this God in your heart but reject Him in your unrighteousness…. You can not escape that God is in your heart, but you hate this God.”

      Hey, maybe you can stick Bob with that, but in my case it’s the Easter Bunny I hate. I suppose now I won’t be able to escape those dang colored eggs.

    • I read a quote once that went like this;
      “Are you open minded enough to admit you are not open minded.”

      That is true ‘open mindedness” don’t you think.

      I note you have not refuted previous agruments on the trinity, I will take that as your not “open minded!”

        • You accept then the history of the trinity teaching and not being a teaching in the first century?

      • I don’t have an informed opinion of when the Trinity came into vogue.

        As an aside, though we seem to agree that the Trinity is fiction, I believe you still accept much of the Christian story that is, IMO, mythology or legend.

        • I suggest you become more informed with a little reading on the subject.
          On what basis is Christianity a myth?

          Have you not heard about Jesus Christ? You must get out more Bob!

        • On what basis is Christianity a myth?

          On the basis of dictionary definition:

          1. a. a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events.
          b. traditional stories or legends collectively.
          2. a widely held but false belief or idea.

        • I am not sure which books you have been reading? However, if believe the founding of Christianity is a myth you really do need to get out more. Historians give clear evidence of Jesus being a real person along with hid followers.

        • You think I need to get out more? There are no contemporary accounts of even the existence of Jesus. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Nada. Let alone any details about his life.

          Similarly, the books which purport to describe his career all disagree with each other, and they make various fantastical claims utterly unsupported by the historical record:
           • the star of Bethlehem
           • Caesar Augustus’s supposed Great Census
           • the zombie apocalypse after the crucifixion

          This is a Paul Bunyanesque tall tale, plain and simple, with no historical documentation for it at all!

  6. What drives the corporate?
    Profits and greed. The result is the mess we have now! Yeah stamp on the little guy!

    What drives the “real Christain”?
    Love, and it is free. The result is a global brotherhood bonded by love and restoration of earth back into a paradise under the loving rulership of our creator.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *