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Imagine if a televangelist somehow managed to amass a devoted global following and used the funds from the offerings he gained from them to turn his cult into an N.G.O. superpower. How exactly would he be able to achieve that position and how would he keep it that way with or without actually possessing supernatural powers?

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closed as too broad by Renan, James Nov 19 '18 at 18:57

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Megacorporation and superpower(in the conventional sense) are not the same thing. Which do you actually intend? $\endgroup$ – nullpointer Nov 19 '18 at 8:00
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    $\begingroup$ What makes you think this would be any different than the way any other (non-religious) megacorporation or large-scale NGO is created? $\endgroup$ – Dave Sherohman Nov 19 '18 at 8:23
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    $\begingroup$ Just look at the history of the catholic church and maybe adjust the time-scale a bit. They started at a small religious cult two thousand years and developed into a superpower by the late middle ages. $\endgroup$ – mlk Nov 19 '18 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site Voyd. Your question has potential but is lacking some key components we look for in questions on the site. Check out: How to ask Pay attention in particular to the "General guidelines for all questions" bit. $\endgroup$ – James Nov 19 '18 at 18:59
  • $\begingroup$ In the interim I have put the question on hold so we can get it cleaned up and updated. Once you make an edit to the question and include the info mentioned on the "How to ask" page it will automatically get reviewed to be re-opened. $\endgroup$ – James Nov 19 '18 at 18:59
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You are speaking of a church.

The catholic church, for example, are an NGO superpower. They are ruled by a single individual and his close circle of advisors. They have a high financial turnover and are in fact one of the richest organisations on this planet.

If you look at sects like the Mormons, Bhagwan, or Scientology, you can see how individuals and/or small groups of people can create a belief that is attractive enough for large numbers of people to join and spread internationally. An advantage is that religion is protected under the laws of many countries.


Oops, just noticed that this answer was already given in a comment to the question. Didn't mean to steal that idea...

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    $\begingroup$ The Catholic Church is run from the Vatican City State, where it is the Government. Not exactly a "Non Governmental Organisation" when you look at the big picture - closer to a widespread Diplomatic Mission without specific Embassies. $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Nov 19 '18 at 15:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Chronocidal eh, you could look at the vatican as a tax exempt corporate office complex rather than a country. They have virtually no farmable land. Their education is basically corporate training. Their military is outsourced. Like no other country could operate this way. $\endgroup$ – anon Nov 19 '18 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ The Catholic Church's center is now an actual country, but that wasn't always the case. And they have power throughout the world. So I'll count it even with the "non-governmental" requirement. $\endgroup$ – Cyn Nov 19 '18 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ @everyone In most countries, the catholic church doesn't govern anything but has a status similar to that of other churches (e.g. protestant churches). The existence of the Vatican is not very relevant from the perspective of, say, the French government on the French catholic church. $\endgroup$ – user57423 Nov 19 '18 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ All, please work with users to update questions before answering. $\endgroup$ – James Nov 19 '18 at 19:00
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Celebrity Status.

Your televangelist needs to be so much more than just a shouty-doomsayer - build a cult of personality around them, with more than just "religion" at the core of their brand, such that people will want to be like them, or to support them.

They need to be a skilled Rhetorician, with an engaging or interesting personality, present some sort of mass-marketable skill (such as writing & performing amazingly popular music?) and espouse a deceptively simple and hard to disagree with Creed / Message, with a subtle twist or "stinger" to make it more popular by allowing people to enjoy following it. (e.g. "Be Excellent to each other" and "Party on, Dude"?)

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It took the Catholic Church several hundred years to build themselves up. With modern technology, the message will spread much more quickly. Like Chronicidal said, the main part of this theocratic megacorporation would lie with the televangelist themself. Some key traits:

  • Charisma - People would have to be drawn to them.
  • Inner Circle - A small group of close supporters to help spread the message and provide/leak insights to the televangelist's history and personality.
  • Supportive Spouse & Family - Part of the Inner Circle, but loss of a spouse/child adds weight to the message, and it's usually easier for blood heirs to carry the legacy. Also, the spouse can take care of "worldly matters" to free up the evangelist's mind/time.
  • Poverty - Either born into poverty or as part of a "lost it all" period in their life, especially useful if part of the message includes "health & wealth.*
  • Military Service - While a lack of service isn't necessarily a detractor, a term of service in the military is usually viewed positively, even more so among older generations. They could avoid some moral quandaries by being a medic or other support-type personnel.
  • A Minor Scandal - Nothing so serious that their career would be ruined. Just serious enough to show they're "only human" and to give the Spouse/Inner Circle a chance to show their support and dedication to the cause.
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