Ask Dr. Eldritch

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Don't fall victim to vampires! Don't get slashed by a psycho! Don't get stuck, ASK DR. ELDRITCH!

Dear Dr. Eldritch,
I am Zanthor, a god worshipped by the Sumerians. I fought with my self-righteous half-brother, Voth, for dominion of the Earthly realm, and he cast me into oblivion for ten thousand years. I've just emerged from this limbo, and am a bit disoriented. The world is filthy, teeming with your kind, and rife with war and pestilence. I can lead you to peace and prosperity, but you Humans are jaded and cynical. How can I get you to worship me again?

-- Zanthor in Newark

Dear Zanthor,

You're either an actual god, or a major nutcase. I'll address these in order. I'm going to assume that you are an ancient deity, as I remember reading something about your fight with Voth, and Sumerian gods are rarely the persona-of-choice for the mentally unbalanced. Since you no longer have any living worshipers (that I know of, anyway), you're essentially starting a new religion from scratch. Here's how we do it nowadays:

  1. Get out of Newark (No wonder you have a poor opinion of us right now!), and go to California. You'll be competing with a plethora of other new religions, but it's the right place for rekindling an ancient one.

  2. Create an uplifting message. Find a New Age book store, familiarize yourself with the current lingo, and develop marketing materials for your ancient religion using the contemporary model. People want to feel good about themselves, so think happy! Advertise in the local papers. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how fast the converts appear.

  3. Start small. Try out the tenets of your worship on a small group of followers, and see how it goes over. You want your belief system to be appealing to the masses, not just a few (the difference between a religion and a cult)! Remember that human sacrifice is passé now, and shouldn't be practiced even on the most sanctimonious of your rivals. Animal sacrifice will get you in big trouble. The current trend is to ask your followers to sign over increasingly large portions of their property and possessions to your church. They're freed from the tethers of material possessions, you're blessed with riches. Just don't go crazy with the Rolls Royces.

  4. Pick your High Priest carefully. You want someone with good business sense, social savvy, and camera appeal. Make sure he doesn't have any dark secrets, and that he can keep the Little Bishop in his pants, if you know what I mean. I'd volunteer for the gig, but I'm committed to other projects; it can be a sweet deal.

  5. Score some celebrity worshippers. Nothing gives you credibility like having celebrities on your team, especially movie stars. There are thousands of them in Southern California, all craving metaphysical substance to compensate for the empty meaninglessness of their lives.

  6. Branch out. With the three legs of your Step-Stool For Success established (User-Friendly Tenets, Photogenic High Priest, and Celebrity Followers), you're ready to spread Your Word. Ghost-write a best seller about you and the benefits your followers receive. Use the buzz words you learned early on, and introduce a few new ones. Get your High Priest on the talk-show circuit, and watch the believers pour in! It will make ten thousand years of oblivion all seem worthwhile.
If you're just a major nutcase, well, the process is the same.

Good luck, and let me know how it comes out!

-- Dr. Eldritch

(DISCLAIMER: Anyone intelligent enough to be reading this should understand 1) Satire, and 2) That following the advice given may result in physical, mental, or spiritual harm to beings living, dead, or undead. The author does not suggest that anyone other that the originator of any given letter follow his advice, and cannot be held liable if anyone else does.
If you need more, read this Advanced Disclaimer!) All content © 2006 Evan M. Nichols