I think this is the "Great Filter" that Ruth so wisely discussed. Human beings get to the point where they can destroy life as we know it, and out of fear, a huge proportion of the country takes the words of religioun seriously. Instead of it being part of our historical past, it becomes the definer of our demise.
In some cases people like this are frauds because of the greed for money that they get out of the gullible, and they want to "multiply" that money and keep it coming in. So, they start lying! Believers will pick up on this as someone else "being more favored by God" and they start lying too, so the "lie" continues whether money is to be gained or not. It's sort of like one person not wanting to be outdone by the other. At this point the two lies meet and become one "lie" of tall tails and fables about "who is the most favored." This same phenomena can be seen in a non-religious way also when you listen to conversations about how many pain killers it takes to get rid of a headache! (Susie cannot take aspirin and takes another brand, but it takes 6 tablets for her.) The unfortunate thing is that everyone starts believing it.
I once saw a commercial on TV for a Christian exercise program, and the man says "it was like Jesus was right there taking the exercise with him." I laughed out loud! Gimme a break.
Scientology founder's grandson says invent a religion if you want to become a millionaire.