Monday, January 25, 2010

Man's Most-Asked Question!

Barefaced arrogance can be quite entertaining in the right context. This cartoon from the Fellowship Tract League assumes that every human being on the planet asks one question more than any other: "How can I get to Heaven??" How pig-headed do you have to be to suggest the question on every man's mind is one specific to your belief system? And, that this question eclipses all others, including but not limited to: Is there a God? What happens when we die? I'd ask those before pondering the existence of Heaven, let alone whether or not I can get there. Or how about: Why are we here? Is there life on other planets? And don't forget: What's for lunch? Are you going to finish that? And, of course, Are we there yet? That last one should be the winner in the most-asked category by virtue of its repetition.

You could argue, I suppose, that the question "How can I get to Heaven??" could be interpreted to imply all forms of the afterlife, and thus relates to all religions. The context of the rest of the tract, however, squashes that argument flat. "The Bible tells you how," the tract says in the very next panel, making clear that only the Judao-Christian Heaven is under discussion. And by the tract's end you see that the Judao part can be scratched, too. "I've always believed in Jesus," the cartoon man says. "I'm not a heathen, you know." So while he's being told that mere belief in Jesus isn't enough, that the requirement for Heaven "is a total commitment to Christ," the rest of the world gets the very clear hint that non-belief in Jesus = heathenism.

Like I said, arrogance.

Man's most asked question, then, is how can one get to the Christian Heaven.

I wonder what Woman's most-asked question is?

But once you get past the arrogance (and sexism), you can better appreciate what this tract has to offer. The cartoons are nice but nothing special, depicting a guy in a suit responding to an 'off-screen' narrator. Pretty much like Are You Good Enough For Heaven?, but the uncredited artist doesn't have Ron Wheeler's level of talent. Still, the artist does manage to convey the man's terror upon learning "Everyone in the world is a... sinner?!?!"

The rest is pretty much what you'd expect. The man is told he needs to get Saved, and by the end he's prayin' his guts out. The cartoons enliven what is in essence a fairly pedestrian tract. It's got the usual fear-mongering (the word HELL appears on page 2 in big, fiery letters) and Salvation-explaining, and the arrogance takes it up a tiny notch in terms of entertainment value and offensive content, but that's it.

Forget the most-asked question. Tract makers need to find a way to spread their message without resorting to the most-preached formula.

Likely to Convert - 1
Artwork - 2
Ability to Hold Interest - 3
Unintentional Hilarity - 3
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 4

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