We’re in the process of making a hypothetical cult. We’ve figured out how to recruit people by scaring them with an eternity of punishment after death (Unhappy Place) and offering them an alternative of never-ending bliss instead (Happy Place). This is a tried and true method, but it’s still doomed to fail without a couple more crucial elements.
Our cult members are bound to doubt us. “It’s obvious that our leaders aren’t capable of building Happy Place,” they’ll cry. “How did they even discover this place? How do we know they didn’t just make it up?” These are valid concerns, which we’ll address by making some more stuff up. We need a Happy Place construction worker – a god – and a method of discovering this happy locale – a scripture.
In the interest of keeping this fun and hypothetical, let’s create the Fantastic All-Knowing Entity, or FAKE for short. We have to say FAKE is capable of building the Happy Place, but to make FAKE more admirable (for the sake of making him an object of worship) let’s say he can and did create everything*. To add to the sense of community, we’ll say that anyone can talk to FAKE. He is, after all, All-Knowing, so he can hear your thoughts for ease of communication.
Our followers may be sheep, but they’re not stupid. They know what communication sounds like, and when they discover that FAKE doesn’t talk back to us they’ll continue to question our discovery of Happy Place. For this purpose, we’ll write a holy book. Let’s call it the Fantastic, All-Learned Scripture Education, or FALSE.
Not only will FALSE explain what Happy Place is like and how to get there, but it will tell stories that put FAKE is a good light, give commandments to our followers (such as paying us or putting us in positions of power), and try to answer the multitude of questions that our followers wondered before coming to us (such as “Where did we come from?” “Why are we here?” “How should I make a check payable to our esteemed leaders?”)
Not everyone will love and appreciate the commandments we’re putting on them, but we’ll fix this by telling them they’ll get the approval of FAKE if they follow his demands. Not following the commandments will exclude them from our cult, leaving them with a future of torture, torment, pain, suffering, and sadness in Unhappy Place. This is such a compelling argument, I’m surprised no cult has ever considered this method before. Heh.
*If we say FAKE created everything, it means he also made Unhappy Place. We’ll only recognize this if someone asks outright if this is true, but otherwise we’ll keep it on the down-low, because it makes FAKE into a major buzzkill.