Sunday, December 16, 2007

Believe It Or Not!

Remember Ripley's Believe It Or Not? So does Robert E. Surgenor, evangelist and author of this tract. He thought that sprinkling a few of Ripley's facts through this tract would make it more readable and fun. He's right. No doubt he also thought this tract will convince people to convert to Christianity. On that point, I believe he's wrong.

This tract contains six of Ripley's facts, and Robert backs each story up with a Biblical 'truth'. Some of those truths work better than others. And some are just plain insulting.

For example, Robert tells of the Sipra River, "revered by the Hindus" because "merely thinking of it is believed to assure forgiveness of sins." Robert congratulates the Hindus on realizing "the need of the forgiveness of sins," but points out that "their method is entirely wrong!" Robert states that the only way to obtain forgiveness "is through Christ," a classic example of My-God-Is-Better-Than-Your-God.

And he doesn't just take shots at Hindus. Next in line are the ancient Egyptians, and the facts of King Tut's tomb. "Gold rods found in the tomb" were "constructed at an angle of 26 1/2 degrees," the "angle of the refraction of light." Robert tells us "the ancients expected their monarch's soul to rise to heaven on a ray of sunlight." Robert praises Tut for knowing "he had a soul" and believing "there was a heaven for departing souls, but I'm afraid he missed heaven altogether, for no ray of sunlight will ever convey the soul to heaven." Once again, he's saying I'm-right-and-you're-wrong.

Then he goes after the Muslims. A Persian philosopher made his first pilgrimage to Mecca - a journey of 1, 400 miles - on his knees. Yet, according to Robert, the guy "missed God's great salvation! How sad!"

Indeed. And the words 'how sad' are pretty much how I would describe this tract. The Ripley facts are fun and interesting, but Robert's message isn't. Plus, the pot-shots at other beliefs (even the ancient ones) leave a sour taste in the mouth.

Sorry, Robert, but you're not converting anyone with this. Believe it or not!

Likely to Convert - 0
Artwork - 2
Ability to Hold Interest - 5
Unintentional Hilarity - 1
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 7

No comments: