toxic thought waste site

Theological whimsy, metaphysical larks, and other spiritually radioactive waste products.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Conversion Economics

How much does a soul cost anyway?

As my family and I were walking through a street fair recently a man walked up to my 4 and 2 year olds and handed them a pair of shiny coins. This made their day of course. Yeah, shiny! Later I got a look at one of the coins and it had John 3:16 on one side and the sinner's prayer on the other. Since our kids can't read and really have no interest in how they will be spending eternity, I'm assuming that this was just a simple minded attempt to "trick" me and my wife into reading his message. I considered his message and am waiting to hear back from Jesus, but so far I'm not convinced. In the meantime, I can't help but wonder if the people who hand out such coins have worked out the soul conversion economics.

First of all is there any chance that any one at any time has been converted by such a coin? It's probably not zero, but it's hard to imagine why it would be much higher than zero. If we are to believe the polls, most of the people that would receive such a coin are already believers in which case the coin is not going to change their hearts. If the coin ends up in the hands of non-believer such as myself what are the chances that this is going to have any effect? To be generous let's say that 1 in 1000 non-believers would be swayed by this coin (this is a *really* generous assumption in my opinion). Then if we assume there are 10% non-believers in the general populace Then they would have to hand out at least 10000 coins to reach one new soul.

How long does it take to hand out these coins? There are only so many people at a street fair and you'd probably quickly saturate the crowd but let's say for an order of magnitude estimate that he can get 100 handed out an hour. So it would take 100 hours of handing out coins at street fairs to reach one new soul. Of course the street fair only goes on for a couple days on a weekend so it's going to take a lot of weekends at different street fairs to get those hours in. All for one soul.

Presumably this guys time is actually worth something. Let's say at minimum that his time is worth $10 an hour. So this guy could've made $1000 dollars that he could have spent on other evangelization effort, instead of walking around street fairs. How many souls could you get for $1000?

And maybe that's the problem. To me it seems like a hugely ineffective way to reach new souls, but maybe the market is already saturated and getting new customers (like me) is an extremely competitive and expensive business and the coin trick is really about as good as they can do. Some enterprising chiristian MBA out there needs to work out the soul/dollar ratios and determine the best way to spend soul winning dollars. (Just for the record there is a dollar amount for which I will exchange my soul, please make an offer!)

I wonder if god cares at all about efficiency? Is it just the number of hours that you are pounding pavement he's following or does he care about results? Will there be a president's club in heaven for the high earners (with front row seats for watching sinners burn below)? I just wish there were some book that was had all the answers to my questions....

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