Turkish Game Show Tries to Convert Atheists

Imams, priests, rabbis, and monks given chance to convert unbelievers live on TV
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2009 1:29 AM CDT
People pray in front of a figure of Buddha at Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet. Contestants who convert to Buddhism on Turkish game show "Penitents Compete" will win a trip to Tibet.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Gesang Dawa)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – This was probably only a matter of time: A Turkish game show starting this fall will bring on 10 atheists per show and give holy men from four faiths the chance to convert them, the Guardian reports. A Muslim imam, a Greek Orthodox priest, a rabbi, and a Buddhist monk will do their best. Contestants who are persuaded to choose a religion will win a pilgrimage to Mecca, Jerusalem, or Tibet.

The makers of Tovbekarlar YarisiyorPenitents Compete—say the aim is to "turn disbelievers on to God," and to help educate Turkey's overwhelmingly Muslim population about other faiths. Contestants will be vetted before the show to make sure they are genuine disbelievers, then monitored afterward to make sure they've actually converted and are not just faking it to get a free vacation. God forbid.