Using percentage of growth can be misleading for gauging the importance or popularity of something. If you add only 4 members to an existing group of 2, you would have achieved a growth of 200 percent.
In the case portrayed in this comic the claim appears to be that the other person's religion grew by 85%. Black Hat attempts humorously to show the flaw in using that statistic by growing his group by 100% (therefore, presumably, first place), which he simply does by adding his friend Rob to his religion, and thus increasing his membership from 1 to 2. The other person then says that his religion has a significant number of members (and not just one or two), but Black Hat doesn't care and responds that he hopes they are all okay with being "in second place" since the main argument from the other guy was about being the fastest-growing.
The title text ponders the ironic idea of converting only the zealous door-to-door proselytizers to a very persuasive religion of one's own.
Another interpretation is that the title text could be another way that Black Hat could take the 'fastest-growing' claim out of context to make it meaningless. By composing his religion of the unwitting proselytizers of other faiths, he can claim the highest ratio of converts to current adherents. Note that the amount of people converted is often exaggerated by groups that try to spread a faith. Although the beliefs spread by his proselytizers vary widely, Black Hat is not concerned with what his so-called followers believe. Thus, he can claim the title of fastest-growing religion without having any value to his religion.
Various religions and groups encourage their members to actively recruit new followers, some even take this as their duty as a member of their religion. Such as the Mormon missionary.
- [A man with a combover, a book, and a clipboard approaches Black Hat.]
- Combover: You should check us out. We're the fastest-growing religion in the country.
- Black Hat: "Fastest-growing" is such a dubious claim.
- Combover: It's true! We grew by 85% over the past year.
- [Black Hat shouts to someone out of frame.]
- Black Hat: Hey, Rob — wanna join my religion?
- Rob: Sure, whatever.
- [Black Hat turns back to Combover and produces a notepad and pen.]
- Black Hat: Well, looks like my religion grew by 100% this year.
- [Black Hat begins to walk away.]
- Combover: We have 38,000 members!
- Black Hat: Hope they're all ok with second place.
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It's about Apple fanboys. 184.108.40.206
- And how is that? 220.127.116.11 05:52, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
What if I just started my own religion. Technically speaking it had 0 members, and then I joined it. Would this mean a growth of infinite percent? Also, a flaw with using percents is if a religion has one person, person a, and then person b joined it, it would have 100% growth. Then person b or a (doesn't matter which) leaves. The religion has increased by 100% and decreased by 50%. Now, you can't really add percentages, but I have just grown 50%! Ha! By adding no people! Then if the one tha left, comes and leaves again, I have grown by 100% this year. --18.104.22.168
- Technically, if you start your own religion, you start out with 1 member (yourself)... unless you invent a religion you don't actually believe in, and then suddenly, um, drink the koolaid. ...;) -- IronyChef (talk) 15:37, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
- OK. I create the religion. Leave it, and come back. It has grown by ∞ %. --22.214.171.124
- You left it? How do we know you weren't excommunicated? ;-) Also, along the lines of if a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it..., if a religion has nobody following it, does't it cease to exist? BTW, ∞ is not a numerical quantity, so ∞ % isn't really possible, even if the growth is infinite. -- IronyChef (talk) 05:19, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
- The flaw is that a 100% growth means it is 100% + 100% = 200% times as many people, and a 50% loss is 100% - 50% = 50% times as many people. 200% * 50% = 100% if one person joins and leaves your religion. 126.96.36.199 6:58, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
The xkcd religion! Nice one, Black Hat.--188.8.131.52
The "claims to be fastest-growing religion" Wikipedia page is now a redirect to Growth of religion. I would change the link in the explanation, but, I'm not sure which section it should go to. 184.108.40.206 03:18, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
- I did update the link and moved it into the section Trivia. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:20, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
"It seems safe to assume he dislikes this type of missionary method."
Well, it does get pretty boring doing things the same way every night. Hppavilion1 (talk) 04:32, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
I love how the character is named "Combover". Fitting. --JayRulesXKCD what's up? 18:12, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
What kind of missionary do you think "Combover" is? Looks like a mormon to me... --JayRulesXKCD what's up? 18:15, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
There's a couple (between 2 and 5) reasons why I don't think Combover is a Mormon. I looked it up—Mormon Missionaries always travel in pairs, but Combover doesn't appear to have any cohort. Also, the percentage mentioned doesn't correlate with Mormonism. Lastly, Mormon Missionaries teach lessons to prospective members before they join; they don't just say "join my religion because." If anyone else agrees with me, I think the references to Mormonism should be removed for these reasons. 220.127.116.11 17:12, 2 July 2017 (UTC)