Passport

Convert to theism, win the trip of a lifetime

It sounds like the beginning of a joke,” writes The Guardian. “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?” I initially thought the answer had something to do with light bulbs, but it turns out this is ...

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It sounds like the beginning of a joke," writes The Guardian. "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?" I initially thought the answer had something to do with light bulbs, but it turns out this is part of the premise of a new Turkish game show:

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

It sounds like the beginning of a joke,” writes The Guardian. “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?” I initially thought the answer had something to do with light bulbs, but it turns out this is part of the premise of a new Turkish game show:

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

Contestants 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.

Those 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 programme’s makers say they want to promote religious belief while educating Turkey‘s overwhelmingly Muslim population about other faiths.

“The project aims to turn disbelievers on to God,” the station’s deputy director, Ahmet Ozdemir, told the Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review.

What kind of spiritual guide is this show going to be using? With each week’s suspense inherently built off of contestants’ conversions, I look forward to quotes like “yes, my son, you may come forward to accept Jesus… but please, wait until after these commercials.”

China Photos/Getty Images

James Downie is an editorial researcher at FP.

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