Saturday, September 29, 2007
How To Get To Heaven
Another one from the Fellowship Tract League, number 153. This one is aimed at kids, with instructions on how to get to Heaven.
This is a semi-cartoon tract, with pictures to back up the words and quotes. It has four pages and twelve panels, not including the title panel with a boy and a girl who both have yellow hair looking at a bright yellow temple-pyramid thingie that is probably supposed to be Heaven.
Naturally, this tract starts with rules and punishment. Panel 1 introduces the Bible and tells us it is God's Law. Panel 2 tells us about sin, with a picture of the yellow-headed kids looking shocked to discover the Bible says, "Thou shalt not steal". I guess they've been doing a lot of stealing up to this point. And they looked like such nice kids. It's true that you really can't tell about anyone.
Anyway, not that the tract has laid down the law, it can get on with the serious business of Hell. What is Hell? The tract says, "Hell is a terrible place where fire is." What is wrong with that sentence? I mean, where fire is? Come on! The next sentence catches that grammatical fumble, however: "Sinners will burn in Hell FOREVER." Much better. And the bold and all caps on FOREVER is a nice touch. So is the picture, featuring three people burning in flames.
The next picture is even better - it features the two kids surrounded by hellfire. The children look unhappy. Not terrified or agonized, just a little sad. As if the idea of eternal immolation has the same punch as being denied a cookie.
The next four panels do the usual bit of preaching Jesus as the only way to escape the fires of Hell, because HE died for your sins. It's extremely familiar ground, so I'll skip past it. Although the two kids praying in Panel 8 is kind of cute.
Panel 9 features the two kids, now with Jesus in their hearts, refusing a cigarette from an evil-looking third kid. You can tell he's evil because he's frowning and smiling at the same time. EVIL!!!
So, this whole tract was just a stop-smoking ad? I know the artist had only one small panel to portray the kids as changed and Saved, but couldn't he/she have come up with something a little less lame? Maybe the kids could have been shown not stealing, to go with the theme in Panel 2.
This tract provides a few unintentional laughs, and the attempt to scare children makes it a little bit disturbing. My overall impression? Hell is this terrible tract where lame is.
Likely to Convert - 1
Artwork - 3
Ability to Hold Interest - 3
Unintentional Hilarity - 5
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 3