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.
Only true non-believers need apply. An eight-strong commission of theologians will assess the atheist credentials of would-be contestants before deciding who should take part.
Converts will be monitored to ensure their religious transformation is genuine and not simply a ruse to gain a free foreign trip. “They can’t see this trip as a getaway, but as a religious experience,” Ozdemir said.
Theologians will judge atheist credentials?
A rabbi will be attempting to convert people?