Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Way To God

I've been riding the Fellowship Tract League pretty hard, and almost exclusively, since this blog began. It seems their material is a lot easier to find. Anyway, today we're going to look at The Way To God, by World Missionary Press, Inc., and give the League a breather.

This tract starts out rather nicely, being a mix of both verse and art. From the first few pages, you get the impression this booklet is simply going to talk about the Christian faith in a pleasant, no fearmongering way.

Then you get to page six, with a picture of Adam and Eve being chased out of the Garden of Eden by an angel with a flaming sword. The next page says "It was a sad day for the human race when Adam and Eve sinned," because thanks to them "sin entered the world" and now "every person is born with the sin nature."
We're only on page 7, and already we're told we are bad people.

Page 8 begins the story of Jesus, told mostly through quotes. The tract makes it clear that Jesus' purpose was to sacrifice himself to save us all from the situation Adam and Eve created. The next few pages briefly discuss Jesus' life, death and resurrection, continually reminding us that he is God, and the only way to Heaven.

Page 16 has a picture of a kid at a crossroad, with one path marked Eternal Death. The kid chooses the one marked Eternal Life, that leads up to a castle in the sky. The tract congratulates him for his choice, then asks what choice YOU will make.

The next twenty pages remind readers why they have to choose Jesus, and offer some sample prayers. The Ten Commandments are listed, and the reader is told that God is Love.

Page 39 says, "Jesus wants you to Witness to others," and features a picture of a nervous-looking girl in a classroom in-between an angry-looking girl and a praying boy.

But that's not nearly as scary as the next few pages. Page 41 shows Jesus sitting on his throne, with two groups of people on either side of him.

One group, under the words Fruit of the Spirit, look very happy. They have their arms raised in the air, presumably in worship, and one little boy is down on his knees in front of Jesus, hopefully just praying. Given the numerous scandals in the Catholic church involving priests and little boys, this image seems to be a poor choice.

Anyway, they are the Fruit of the Spirit and are, as I said, very happy. The other group of people on the right side of Jesus do not look happy at all. They are in flames, and the words above them read, Works of the Flesh. One of them has a gun. Another is trying to pull her hair out. Two biblical quotes are offered to define works of the flesh, one of which condemns homosexuals. There you have it, our first encounter with homophobia in this blog. Sadly, it won't be the last.

Then we have page 42, where we see a picture of people falling off a cliff into the flames of Hell. Nearby is a small and very thin path leading up to a city in the clouds, presumably Heaven. There is a large cross in front of this path, with a doorway at the bottom of it. The name Jesus is written on that cross. I get the impression they're trying to say something here, but that image is way too complex for me. Although I did like the really big "Help!" coming from the people in the flames. Nice touch. Funny that those good people on the Jesus path aren't rushing over to help...

The rest of this tract assures us that Heaven is real, that God will not Forsake you, and that Jesus will come again. This last part features a picture of happy dead people flying out of their graves. Another wacky image in a tract that's full of them.

It's a shame. This could have been such a nice tract, but they had to go and ruin it with Hell and homophobia. This tract is clearly aimed at kids, which makes its scare tactics and prejudices that much worse. If you find this one, toss it away. I've already shown you all the best bits.

Likely to Convert - 3
Artwork - 4
Ability to Hold Interest - 5
Unintentional Hilarity - 4
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 7

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