You Don't Have To Be Religious To Freak Out Over California's Powerball Ads
Does something seem... oh, I don't know...off to you about these ads?
Set aside the political flavor of some of these suggestions/commandments. "Believing in something bigger" is a great idea -- in the abstract, at least. (You know who else believed in something bigger?) But when you read the fine print -- and realize this is actually the State of California's ad-agency-concocted campaign to get you to gamble on its new Powerball lottery -- you might get a strange kind of vertigo.
For the religious, there's an obvious idol-worshipping aspect of the ad campaign to get worked up about. But (as I suggest at Forbes) the abuse of human nature and human aspiration on display here goes far beyond any one denomination or creed. It doesn't take any particular kind of supernatural faith, for instance, to imagine that
life is more than large enough already; that optimism is irrelevant when you are present to the possibility of grace and the fullness of life; and that, conceptually, lottery-ism asks us to project our image-creating nature onto a surface where it can never gain purchase[.]
The kind of person we'd most want to win California's 'transformational' lottery is the kind of person who'd be least inclined to pin his or her hopes on playing.
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