The Inquisition was a very popular game show produced in the early fifteenth century by a group of Spanish Infinitian Sages. Because this was well before the invention of television, The Inquisition was staged live in front of audiences as large as the show’s venues would hold.
The Roman Catholic Church had been running totally unrelated inquisitions since the late 1100s. Those, quite unlike Infinitiaty’s The Inquisition game show, were designed to rout out heresy as defined by the Roman Catholic Church. By its definition, heresy could be merely having the audacity to claim that the earth revolved around the sun. Because the Roman Catholic Church had not yet branded their inquisitions as The Inquisition, nor had it taken out a trademark on the name, the Church of Infinitiaty felt no shame whatsoever in adopting The Inquisition as the name of its new game show.
The show was staged five days a week, Monday through Friday. It stayed in one venue for a week and then moved to another town in Spain the next week. By the end of The Inquisition’s run, the majority of Spaniards had been in the audience at least once or twice, without having travelled far to do so.
The Inquisition wasn’t like modern game shows, and not just because it wasn’t televised. In modern game shows, players may or may not win valuable cash and prizes, but they generally don’t risk losing anything beyond what they won at an early stage of the show—if that. In The Inquisition, on the other hand, players could win, but they could also lose some of their own cash and belongings
There were only two possible prizes: The equivalent of $100,000 and $200,000 in today’s U.S. dollars, after taking into account inflation and exchange rates. If a contestant lost, he or she didn’t just fail to win one of those prizes. A losing contestant forfeited half of his or her current year’s salary.
Almost no one other than the people at the highest levels of government, commerce or religion in Spain at the time earned an annual salary of more than the equivalent of $100,000 in today’s dollars. Thus, most people’s potential losses—only half of one year’s earnings—were far less than their potential winnings. Consequently, the producers had no problem finding people who wanted to be contestants.
Prospective contestants should have read the fine print. Most didn’t. The winnings were not paid in cash. They were provided as a credit that could be used to pay the initiation fee at any Infinitian franchised or Church-owned church. The credit could not be used to cover a church’s annual dues. The contract that contestants signed with The Inquisition’s producers swore contestants to secrecy about the nature of this arrangement. Thus, future prospective contestants who didn’t read the fine print wouldn’t learn of these conditions from previous contestants.
Format of The Inquisition
The format of The Inquisition was quite simple. Infinitian scholars devised questions about Infinitian beliefs, practices and history. An Infinitian Sage acted as host of the show. The host was not the same all of the time. The Sage who resided closest to where The Inquisition was being staged served as the host in that locale because he or she was best positioned to bring in new recruits to the local churches—a primary purpose of The Inquisition game show.
The show consisted of two segments. Each contained up to two prolonged periods of challenging the contestants with intensive questioning. There was a brief intermission between segments, during which audience members could buy overpriced food and drink at a lobby bar managed by the Church of Infinitiaty.
A single contestant played in each segment. In the first round of a segment, the contestant was asked a series of thirty questions. A contestant who answered at least sixteen correctly was awarded $100,000 worth of Infinitian church credits. If the contestant provided fourteen or more wrong answers, he or she was, by way of a binding contract, required to pay half his or her current annual salary to the Church of Infinitiaty.
Contestants who won in the first round could decide to keep the $100,000 Infinitian-credit prize and go home or risk it all by going on to the second round. The second round consisted of fifty questions. Contestants had to get at least twenty-six right to win the $200,000 Infinitan-credit prize. Again, if they did not provide the requisite number of right answers they were required to forfeit half of their annual salary to the Church of Infinitiaty.
Thanks to kickbacks paid to local legislators, police and judges, the state ensured that the contracts were strictly enforced and losers made good on their losses. The Infinitian Church, which was the producer of The Inquisition, did not care if contestants won or lost. Allowing a large portion of contestants to win encouraged other people to become contestants. And, even when contestants won, the Church of Infinitiaty still came out ahead. The prize was a credit, not cash, so the Church did not give anything to the winners. The winners simply didn’t have to pay the initiation fee to join an Infinitian church.
The contestant screening process was designed to ensure that the only people who were allowed to be contestants on The Inquisition were people would likely not join an Infinitian church (or join additional churches if they were already church members) without the incentive of a credit. (Because there are an infinite number of Gods, many Infinitian churches that focus their prayers on different Gods. Some Infinitian churches even turn their backs on our Creator, God One, in the hope that they will get better treatment from God One’s Creator, God Two, or God Two’s Creator, God Three, and so on. Because there were so many different Infinitian churches, the contestant screening committee often allowed current Infinitian church members on the show with the expectation that the credit would induce winners to join additional Infinitian churches and, of course, losers would enrich the Church as well.)
Winners hated letting their prizes go to waste, so few credits went unused. Because these people likely wouldn’t have joined a church otherwise, the Church of Infinitiaty and its local franchises were not giving anything up. But, because the credit covered only the initiation fee and not a church’s annual dues, “winners” were locked into making monthly or annual payments to one or more Infinitian churches if they wanted to receive the blessings and salvations that those churches offered.
Success and Death
The show was very popular, particularly within the Church of Infinitiaty, which realized enormous profits either directly or indirectly from The Inquisition, but also with audiences. Because of its success, Church-owned franchises of The Inquisition game show sprung up in neighboring countries and cities, including, notably, in Portugal and Rome.
The Inquisition game show ran for a few decades. It ended 1478,. In that year, the king and queen of Spain established The Christian Spanish Inquisition. Unlike earlier Catholic inquisitions, theirs was clearly branded as The Spanish Inquisition or just The Inquisition for short.
The producers of The Inquisition game show tried to sue the Catholic Church for debasement of The Inquisition name. However, because of what the Church of Infinitiaty believed to be a conspiracy between the government, the courts and the Roman Catholic Church, the case went nowhere. The The Inquisition brand was so utterly ruined by the ruthlessness of the Christian Spanish Inquisition that the producers gave up on it and searched for other ways to expand the Church’s revenue.
The Inquisition game show franchises in other countries continued for a few more decades as the lack of electronic communications meant that the dispersal of the tarnishing of The Inquisition brand was slower than it would be today. However, the formation of the Portuguese and Roman Inquisitions firmly associated the name “The Inquisition” with evil in most thinking people’s minds. Consequently, all The Inquisition game show franchises were cancelled by the middle of the sixteenth century.
Today, the evilness of the Christian Inquisitions is widely noted in history books. Yet, the Infinitian game show, The Inquisition, is generally ignored outside of Infinitian archives.